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I don’t really have any money to pick up every game that ends up released to cover on this site, but Fireburst is a title I’ve been keeping an eye on for the past two weeks. The game dropped last week on the Xbox Live Arcade Marketplace, and I decided to go ahead and grab the demo to see if it’s anything worth playing. All the trailers and pictures made it look scenic and beautiful with a slightly gritty Punk vibe, so I was excited to see if the title lived up to these expectations.

The demo is rather small, only giving you two cars to play with, one total in single player racing, as well as Special Race and Destruction Mode. The cornerstone of a game like this would be multiplayer, and since that’s not an option, I was left to the AI as a challenge, which it proved to be. The first race wound up being one hell of a challenge, being knocked off by other players and driving off ledges to my own death. I skipped the tutorial, and I wish I hadn’t right then and there. Immediately, I began to dislike the way the car moved, and the terrain itself being a bit hard to see what’s coming up. But, I figured it was worth another couple races on the same track.

The second time around, I found myself moving from eighth place up to third, and having a lot of fun, especially when I learned how to use the firebust to knock off my competition. Next time around, I came in first with a great deal of distance between me and Hightower, and yes I made plenty of Police Academy references that entire time. But still, the handling of the car is still really stiff. Plenty of times I had to figure out exactly when to hit the break to make around even the widest of turns. But, the more I got that down, the better I wound up doing, and found myself having a major blast with it.

Next I tackled Special Race, but there wasn’t anything all that special about it. Pick your car, which there were only two of available, and race the same track as the one I have been. There might be more to it than that, but that’s about all the demo showed off. The same went for Destruction Mode, but at least it was a change of terrain. Instead of a large race track, it turned into a battle terrain similar to something from early Twisted Metal. It was kind of fun, but without any actual weaponry other than the fireburst, it did start to get a bit old.

Finally I need to address the soundtrack, which was possibly the worst choice. I have no idea if there are any more songs than the few on the demo version, but it definitely can use an overhaul if this is what’s available. Even Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater had a little more variety to it, and that’s the kind of game I expect to hear MTV worth auto-tuned to hell mainstream Punk Rock. Look at the above artwork. Just screams Punk Rock, doesn’t it? Thankfully, I just received the new All Pigs Must Die album, Nothing Violates This Nature, and threw that on instead. This suited the environment a lot better. Hardcore, Crossover Thrash, Crust Punk, rebellious Rock music with a kick, even some Alternative Metal or outlaw Country would make a much better soundtrack than the radio friendly material that is stuck on repeat here.

There are other cars in the game, and many have different stats. I raced both of them included on the demo, and found the handling different for each. After I got familiar with how to play the game, and how to work with the handling on the two included, I really started to have a lot of fun and wanted to play the next stage and explore more. A few alternate routes added some slight choice to the experience as well, and has me wondering how far they take those concepts. Aside the horrible musical genre choice, this was an entertaining experience with excellent graphics that can confuse you, but also distract yo with how nice they look. I have to suggest picking up the demo, even if you’re not the biggest fan of racing games. If I ever needed stronger evidence I suck at racing games, this experience was it, but I wouldn’t mind picking this one up at some point myself.

Digital review material for this article based on Xbox Live Arcade demo.