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Flatout: Head On Review

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Flat's entertainment...

★★★★★

When it comes to writing game reviews, most critics will leave certain titles at the bottom of the pile for weeks, until the inevitable moment comes when they can’t put off playing it any longer. And while Flatout: Head On has been languishing near the base of Empire’s tower of games for weeks, it’s a shame we didn’t take the opportunity to play it sooner.

A retooled version of the old console racer Flatout 2: Head On is a thinly-veiled Burnout clone where bashing through objects allows you to achieve insane speeds and leave the competition for dust, each of the outrageous, cleverly constructed tracks feeling unique and offering a huge range of wild challenges.

But while many PSP conversions suffer from awkwardly repurposed controls, Head On is surprisingly tight and responsive, allowing players to slide around impossible bends, steer through narrow tunnels, and generally feel like a gaming god. A range of minigames where you break hard and send your driver flying through the windscreen also add extra life to the action, and the sense of speed is impressive, especially for a portable racer.

On the downside the action occasionally chugs along and the graphics are drab throughout, and the fact that hitting random items will sometimes send you spinning off-course is frustrating when most environmental structures can be crushed to dust when you smash them. But these are only minor niggles in a racer that’s a decent blast of fun, and a strong showing for the shaky Flatout franchise.