Raucous rally action: hands-on with Super Woden GP 2’s demo

Ross McGregor
We sample Super Woden GP 2’s demo and its retro-themed arcade racing thrills ahead of a full release later this year.
Super Woden GP 2 demo, Steam

Following on from its retro-inspired isometric racing hit Super Woden GP in 2021, Spanish developer ViJuDa is already nearing the completion of a sequel.

Super Woden GP 2 aims to build on the successful formula of the first game, with faithfully rendered retro cars mated to an intuitive and slidey handling model.

In our review of the first game, we declared Super Woden GP to be “a passion-filled love letter to what many consider is a golden era of gaming,” noting its isometric nineties aesthetic and plethora of vehicles (more than 70!) as huge plus points.

We’ve had a chance to sample Super Woden GP 2’s demo – headlined: Super Woden Rally The Arcade Demo – ahead of the indie developer-focused Steam Next Fest (19th-26th June 2023). But, the question is; is there enough new ideas and content to set it apart from the original?

Super Woden GP 2 demo, Steam

The car’s the star

The standout feature of Super Woden GP 2 (SWGP 2) is its roster of recognisable cars. Although unlicensed, all the game’s vehicles will look familiar to motorsport fans, with the in-game editor allowing players to manually edit their names for extra authenticity. (Just like I used to do in Geoff Crammond’s Grand Prix 2 back in the day!)

From Mitsubishi Evo VIs to Zakspeed Ford Capris, SWGP 2 has a car for everyone to enjoy, with a revised game map allowing players to buy new cars – reminiscent of Gran Turismo 2’s, incidentally, judging from early previews.

This brings SWGP 2’s car count well past 100, with rally, road and oval racing all available to sample in the finished game, including snow, gravel and asphalt track surfaces as well as day and night conditions.

It’s clear ViJuDa has a passion for all types of motorsport and retro racing games thanks to its colourful look and in-game music which bleeps and chirrups like it was composed on an 8-bit NES. Pure nostalgia.

Super Woden GP 2 demo, Steam

Handle with care

Now, onto an area where arcade racing games sink or swim: driving physics.

Happily, SWGP 2’s demo demonstrates the game’s rally car handling with aplomb, with eight tracks available to play incorporating the full gamut of gravel, snow and asphalt stages.

The cars available include versions of the Subaru Impreza, Toyota Celica GT-Four and Lancia Stratos, among others but all feel very similar to drive despite differentiating values of power, top speed, grip and steering.

Super Woden GP 2 demo, Steam

Cars feel weighty, with well-timed drifts a joy to execute. Only the tightest turns require a touch of braking (or easing off the gas) and each stage is littered with shortcuts and obstacles to catch out the unwary.

However, learning each course takes time and owing to the game’s arcade inspiration you get three ‘lives’ to progress through the eight tracks. Fail three times and it’s game over, with no practise or time trial mode to help improve your familiarity with each stage. But hey, this is a demo, so nothing to fret about.

The action whirs by at an impressive pace too, so there’s no let-up in the action while you string several left-right combos together, aided by the game’s occasionally scatty pacenotes.

Super Woden GP 2 demo, Steam

Ooh, racing fwends

What the game does have, however, is functional online leaderboards, so I can see exactly how far off the pace I really am. Awesome.

And that’s another aspect of SWGP 2 to look forward to; its communal side. Upon release, ViJuDa has promised the game will feature split-screen multiplayer for up to four players, making it a fun social activity with enough short stages and tracks to maintain variety.

The developer has also announced the finished game will feature several game modes; including Championships, Rallies, Weekend Events, Arcade Mode and Endurance Races, with car tuning already teased (once again borrowing inspiration from Gran Turismo 2 with oil changes and car washing).

Super Woden GP 2 demo, Steam

Here, we have a game that follows a similar path to its predecessor yet builds on it with more content and variety. Naturally, it’s difficult to say how this will pan out in the full release of Super Woden GP 2 but from our early impressions of the demo, this will be an addictive racing game fuelled by motorsport passion and nostalgia.

Although Super Woden GP 2 is initially a PC-only release, its predecessor gained PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch versions at a later date, perhaps indicating ViJuDa’s plan of action in future.

Super Woden GP 2 demo, Steam

The Super Woden GP 2 demo is available to sample from now until the end of Steam’s latest edition of Next Fest – 26th June 2023. The game is available to Wishlist on Steam too, with a planned release date for sometime in 2023.

Do you like the look of Super Woden GP 2? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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