Racing on the tarmac is a tame experience. Humans build a road. Cars drive on roads. The tire meets the road. Everything follows the path of the road. Art of Rally, however, is a game that does not follow roads. Out, beyond the decrepit concrete paths and the bland, grey roads of deterioration lies the untamed energy of the wilderness. Art of Rally is a game that puts players out of the concrete and onto the wilderness of a dirt road, and it’s heading to consoles this summer.
The news comes from a press release by Future Friends, which accompanied the announcement to PlayStation with a new trailer. The one-minute and twenty-six-second trailer showcase the abundant and diverse levels of Art of Rally, from the large, visually stunning levels to the polygonal, almost minimalistic aesthetic, all to the backing of an energetic but relaxing soundtrack. The gameplay footage shows a variety of vehicles, greatly inspired from the golden era of rally racing, most especially from the 60’s to the ’90s. The trailer shows gameplay footage as well, with players driving the vehicle from a behind-view. When everything comes together, Art of Rally evokes the racing sensations of arcade racing and rally classics. This includes the early installments of Gran Turismo, as well as Sega Rally World Championship.
Art of Rally comes from Canada-based Funkselektor Labs, the developer behind the minimalistic drifting game, Absolute Drift. Absolute Drift was released in 2015 for Steam, before being ported to consoles. Garnering critical and commercial acclaim in taking the racing genre in a new, more minimalistic direction that provides excitement and almost a meditative kind of gameplay. As of this posting, Absolute Drift still holds a “Very Positive” rating, with over 1,700 reviews. Art of Rally was released in 2020 on Steam and recently shows during the Nintendo Indie World Direct last month, with a release on Nintendo Switch coming this Summer. Art of Rally launched on Steam, to overwhelmingly ecstatic reviews, lauding it for continuing the legacy of Absolute Drift but greatly expanding upon the ideas presented into a new and ambitious racing game that dials things back down to the basics. As of this post, Art of Rally is even more positively received than Absolute Drift, receiving the “Overwhelmingly Positive” rating out of 1,700 ratings.
Racing games haven’t seen as much variety and abundance as of recently. A quick glance will show that the racing landscape is rather scarce. While Microsoft’s Forza, PlayStation’s Gran Turismo, and Codemasters Drift continue to see continues playtime with players, the racing genre is bleak. However, there have been signs of life, with Wreckfest bringing grand vehicular carnage to players almost all systems, and classics, such as Burnout: Paradise seeing a resurgence since being ported to Nintendo Switch. Art of Rally certainly looks to be a game that combines the intensity of a rally racing game, with a focus on meditative fun and enjoyment to enjoy. With the summer heating up, and no other big racing franchises to speak of, Art of Rally looks to leave a strong skid mark in gaming.
Art of Rally arrives in Summer 2021 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5. Release dates have not yet been announced.