XBD Review: Yaris

Yaris Title

Stop. Take a deep breath. Hold it. And release. Let go of all that negative review energy. It’s bad for your soul (if you have one).

Now that you’re more relaxed, take a moment to bask in the glory of a FREE game. We don’t know anything about this game just yet, but that’s why I’m here. Just remember, it’s FREE.

OK, now that we’re focused, I can begin.

Wednesday (October 10th) marked the release of the next generation of Adver-game in the form of Yaris as a free downloadable Live Arcade game. Much to the dismay of Yaris fans across the country (are there any of you out there?), the game was received with less than open arms. Many people saw this type of game as an infiltration into the sanctity of our console… a Trojan Horse bent on deluging our senses with unwanted propaganda. Preempted by the release of Burger King’s three games, which ended up being fairly entertaining considering the fact they were only $3.00 each, Yaris came with the promise of a similar experience but at a better price. Sadly, it falls short of its lofty goal, but I promise to say something positive.

Graphics: The graphics in Yaris lack a certain sex appeal. This is my nice way of saying, “The graphics really suck.” I really don’t mean to be so harsh, especially considering the freeness of the its price, but I’m fairly convinced that a 4 year old Chinese prodigy was hired at sub-minimum wage to render a racing game based on an already unattractive vehicle. I don’t blame the 4 year old, he didn’t have much to work with, but this is barely a step above Virtua Racer on 32X. Despite its flaws, I must say something nice: it’s fast. The game never experiences any slow down. This is good because there isn’t anything that could tax the Xbox360’s GPU in this game. Then again, the Xbox360 doesn’t have an Emotion Engine… otherwise it might breakdown and cry.

Sound: I’ll keep this part short because there’s not much to say. Creating the sound on this game took roughly 5 minutes on a preprogrammed synthesizer at your favorite musical instrument depot. It’s the same 4 or 5 techno beats on repeat… ad nauseum. It’s not pretty, but I have to say something nice. The random beeps and squeaks from the enemies is reminiscent of 8-bit land from days of old. Ah nostalgia, how I love when you unintentionally crop up in new games.

Gameplay: This category may actually be where Yaris excels. You don’t actually control your chosen Yaris. It moves on its own accord and you kind of “slide” back and forth the track attempting to shoot the most acid-trip-inspired enemies of all time (c’mon, flaming rollerskating toasters?). The advantage of not having to actually control the speed of your Yaris is you will be spending WAY too much time focusing on shooting your enemies and dodging random debris (while picking up Toyota coins) to care about your speed. Unfortunately, any skill required to shoot the enemies is taken away by the ridiculously accurate auto-aim. Seriously, you can ride the side of the many “tubular tracks” with the reticule pointed somewhere off screen and beat the game. No joke. I did it. Unfortunately, I didn’t do it all in one sitting so I didn’t get the achievement. The mix of weapons and upgrades is interesting, but by no means comprehensive. I never used any weapons except the default laser and the energy shotgun. As for upgrades, all my coins went to “pimping out” the top shelf Yaris S (which is a paradox considering it stands for Sport and a Yaris is anything but sporty). In retrospect, the gameplay is nearly non-existent with the exception of dodging stationary junk and shooting moving junk. Sadly, this is its best quality.

Replay Value: None. Zip. Nada. I actually found myself hating the game more because it was absorbing time I could have spent playing Halo 3 or Puzzle Quest. Unless you enjoy the torture of repeatedly “racing” on 8 very similar tracks to collect coins to buy worthless upgrades, this game offers nothing for you beyond time wasted. I would rather listen to Enya’s entire discography while watching The Gilmore Girls than play this game again. Even the Burger King games were time spent in semijoy, and yes, I just made that word up.

Achievements: Since I’m an achievement whore (just peep my GamerTag for proof), I can’t overlook the Achievements part of this game. All I can say is, any game that forces you to play the entire game in one session to earn an Achievement is asking for trouble. I’ve earned 5 of the 12 so far without much effort. The remaining 7 may go without anymore effort because I just don’t care enough to subject myself to Yaris anymore. Achievement verdict: Only for the brave.

Conclusion: Download the game. See for yourself what a FREE adver-game is like. Loath its existence and be glad it didn’t cost $3. I actually think this game achieved the opposite effect as was intended. Not only do I now hate Yaris cars, I’m skeptical of the rest of the decisions that Toyota upper management OK’s. Do they put this much anti-effort into vehicle production? Do they hire 4 year olds to design their cars? Do they play this wretched music in the showrooms? I really don’t want to be so mean, but Yaris has eaten my soul and I can’t find the words to put this gently. I pray that no more companies (I’m looking at you Doritos) come up with garbage like this.

Ok, breathe, release, breathe, release. Negative review energy out…

– David “Whet Wurm” Wetty –

8 Responses

  1. It’s not really a good game, I think that’s safe to say. It’s free and therefore I can’t really be upset about it. I tried it out and then gave up on it, letting it sit like I would any other demo on XBLA that I didn’t pay for.

    What kind of sucks is that this could have been a really fun game. XBLA desperately needs some sort of Mario Kart/Wipeout/whatever style racing game, in my opinion. If this title fulfilled that, maybe acting like Beetle Adventure Racing on the N64, it could have been cool. I have no idea why they made it a shooter.

  2. It’s free Achievements. Ergo, it’s teh awesomeness.

  3. Free Achievements indeed Mikael..isnt hoenst not tha tbad, but its just an obvious blatant advertisement that doesnt car about gamers.

  4. Aegis Wing was teh awesomeness… Yaris is not. Haha.

  5. Great review. I don’t think I could have summed it up any better. Free, advertisement or not, it’s just plain bad. Aegis wing teabags the hell out if this game. Does the fact that it’s free (advertising) make it ok? No, because it’s terrible!

  6. I played this game for about 2 minutes and that was good enough for me.

  7. I played it for about 2 minutes to. I couldn’t take it anymore. It seemed like an eternity, then it said lap 2, and that was it for me.

  8. Thanks will, I tried to keep some humor about it while I was venting my vitriol. Hopefully D3 will let me review Puzzle Quest soon… and then E4 and Speedball!

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