You’ve mastered the mechanics, abused the AI, and have logged over 100 laps at the toughest track in the game of your choice. You’re about to undertake yet another standard session of “the fastest person wins”, but what’s this glowing button on the right side? That wasn’t there before. Oh, it’s a party mode that is unrelated to a Mercedes engine? Sign me the heck up!
Standard races are always a joy within multiplayer, but sometimes you want some brain soothing competition that doesn’t require huge intensity from each player. Whether it’s a different style of racing or an entirely different way to abuse mechanics, these modes can be a great refresher to your beloved title. So go grab a controller, jump into the sofa and chill the heck out, as we explore those mould-breaking multiplayer modes that could end up being more fun than the game itself.
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Distance – Reverse Tag
Potentially one of the first horror-racing video games ever made, Distance is a massively underrated gem that massages your visual and auditory senses. In its basic form, you control a car through a premade track, and try to get the best time. In its advanced form, mechanics involve car rotation, flying, and also a boost meter, as you scream through an obstacle-filled track, littered with challenging jumps, gravity-defying turns and heaps of surprises along the way.
The boost meter in particular is a unique element to the game. Its usage is unlimited, but comes with the danger of blowing up the car through overheating, and can only be reset by completing tricks or passing through checkpoints.
Hours can easily be passed through its story and arcade single-player modes, but bringing these mechanics online is no easy feat. Alongside its regular race and stunt modes, there’s the unique Reverse Tag game mode.
Reminiscent to a King-of-the-Hill game, the mode involves a number of players competing against everyone else, as they capture and try to hold onto a bubble for as long as possible within three minutes. The bubble is able to be captured through others entering their bubble, and it’s just pure madness. As if the previous mechanics mentioned were crazy enough in single-player, now try doing this with multiple players trying to chase one another. Absolutely mental.
Forza Horizon 4 – The Eliminator
“We’ve had enough of Battle Royale!” the gaming world cried out. “Yeah but, one more won’t hurt,” said Playground Games in response.
Towards the late 2010s, seemingly every publisher under the sun demanded a Battle Royale version within their library, that attempted to capitalise on the success of the likes of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite. Most genres you could think of got in on the action, and franchises such as Fallout, Mario and even Tetris, of all things, had their own interpretations.
Come December 2019, just when you thought the craze was all over, Playground Games announced their own spin on the genre – The Eliminator within Forza Horizon 4.
The mode starts off with up to 72 players randomly placed within the map, starting at tier one with a 1965 Mini Cooper S. The player is able to level up through car drops or head-to-head battles, whilst also battling a shrinking arena as the game progresses. Each level provides a different and faster car than the previous, with 10 being the maximum level, and contains multiple fast cars such as the Bugatti Veyron or Lamborghini Aventador.
The risk-reward value through the head-to-head battles is crucial. Winning the battle earns you a level-up, whereas losing eliminates you from the match. Positioning is also key, as leaving the arena will also lead to elimination. When the arena cannot shrink any further, the Final Showdown commences with a random point anywhere on the map, and whoever reaches the point first, claims victory. It is intense and a welcome addition to the festival.
GTA Online – Adversary Modes
Oh Rockstar, how many more console generations does GTA V have to be involved in? As incredible as the game is, surely a sequel should be on the horizon by now?
Anyway, the success of GTA Online is down to the sheer amount of things you can do within the service, involving heists, business management, vehicle customisation – the list never ends. You can jump into an online race, featuring map-made tracks or custom-made tracks through the GTA Creator, or you could delve into the deep world that is the Adversary Mode. Now it will take a while to list every way to cause chaos with friends, but we’ll quickly mention a few of them here.
Deadline features Tron-styled bikes in a grand arena, where your aim is to reach 10 eliminations or have the most after five minutes. Using your bike trail as a weapon to destroy your opponents is key here, but make sure to pay attention to your positioning, as slowing down or falling off the arena also leads to death.
The four-player Hasta la Vista mode involves one team of two in bicycles as they try to reach a checkpoint a few miles away, while the other team of two chase them down in big rigs. The cyclists get a head start and only have one life, so having eyes on the back of your head is key here. Tactics such as weaving, going off-road, and dodging are crucial for victory, as hilarity is to be had by every member.
Another chase mode named ‘The Vespucci Job’, inspired by The Italian Job, and sees three players as the interceptors using police cruisers while one person is the runner using a Weeny Issi Classic. As the runner, it is their job to reach 15 checkpoints within five minutes, and it is the interceptors job to stop them from doing so. The Issi lacks any form of speed but makes up for it with its nimble nature and tiny footprint, so make sure to stick to narrow alleyways for a fast getaway.
Going through all of the individual Adversary Modes is highly recommended, as they’re a great break from the usual grind that Online brings. Bring some friends, and you’re guaranteed to have a lot of fun.
DiRT: Showdown – Party Modes
The arcade spin-off announces itself as the DiRT franchise‘s younger brother. It’s slick, fierce and has more attitude than its older sibling. The arcade handling, physics and damage model was a new venue for Codemasters to try, but didn’t have great approval from the fanbase. That being said, its multiplayer party mode does seem to be a lot of fun and brings in three new ways to compete against others.
Smash & Grab involves one flag for two teams to try and hold onto for the longest amount of time. Grab the flag by running into an opponent, and use your teammates to defend it from the opposing team at all costs. The team that held onto the flag for the longest amount of time wins the game, simple.
Transporter is also similar to the aforementioned mode, but this time, you’re on your own. Capture the flag that’s randomly placed on the map, and take it to a checkpoint to win points. Every time a flag is captured, it’s instantly reset to a random location, and the person with the most points at the end of the allocated four minutes wins the match.
Finally, Speed Skirmish is a free-for-all checkpoint capture, with everyone competing to reach every gate before each other. Finding the fastest line is key here, but you could also try to prevent others from reaching them before you do by smashing their car into pieces. After collecting all the gates, the game persuades you to prevent others from capturing the final gate, and it can end up with a tight finish for the final places.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Bob-omb Blast Battle Mode
As we patiently wait for a sequel and gained every star within Mario Kart 8’s Grand Prix cups, battle mode contains a whole load of different ways to play with your friends. Featuring events such as Balloon Battle, Renegade Roundup, Bob-omb Blast, Coin Runners and Shine Thief, every event brings in a whole new way to play the game, that doesn’t involve a severely punishing blue-shell.
Our pick for this entry was first introduced to Mario Kart Double Dash all the way back in 2003, Bob-omb Blast. The battle involves two teams with five balloons each, and it is their job to hit the opposing team with bob-ombs, gathered from item boxes littered throughout the map. Every member is able to hold up to 10 bob-ombs, and lose a balloon every time they’re hit. If they lose all five of their balloons, they lose half of their points gathered within the game.
At the end of the allocated two minutes, the team with the most points wins the game. It’s hectic and requires some sneaky tactics to pop those balloons. Use your brakes effectively and trick your opponents by weaving and being unpredictable. Load up this game mode next time you’re playing with friends, as it’s a lot of fun to be had by everyone.
Trackmania – Royal Mode
As a soft remake of Trackmania Nations, the current title brings a fresh lick of paint to the franchise. With its subscription service adding in extra features, such as dedicated servers, ranked play and track of the day, what’s on offer within its free starter access is plenty to satisfy the casual audience.
Introduced in just under a year since its release, the Royal Mode features a stage-based format, influenced by the explosive popularity of Fall Guys and is part of the starter access.
After each player is divided up into teams, they have two and a half minutes to complete a map with five different stages from white to black that become progressively harder. Once the time is up, the two slowest teams become eliminated, and it’s onto the next map. The final map contains around three teams, with the fastest team at the end being declared a Royal Champion.
The community-created maps feature some tricky and frustrating elements as you attempt to complete every stage. If you’re struggling with one stage and a teammate manages to complete it, you’re given the ability to join them in the next stage, which is quite nice to know you won’t have to be stuck there for the rest of the map. If you’re interested in the franchise, it’s worth giving a go with your friends, considering the small download size and free access.
Rocket League – Rumble
Rocket League has become a hugely influential game within the industry. Its unique mechanics and easy-to-watch nature cater to all audiences, no matter their skill level.
The deep level of play attracts such an incredibly high level of competition, and there are still new tricks being discovered to this day. With the likes of extra modes such as Hoops, Dropshot and Snow day, there’s one more that is just pure mayhem – Rumble.
With its introduction in mid-2016, the game mode is exactly the same as a normal game of Rocket League, but with a twist. After kick-off, the player receives a random power-up after 10 seconds that can be used at any time, and each has its own individual effects. For starters, the Haymaker lets out a huge comedic boxing glove, that can smash the ball from one end of the map to the other. Disruptor lets you target an opponent and then gives their car an uncontrollable maximum boost for three seconds. Spike gives the vehicle spikes, funnily enough, that attaches the ball to your car for five seconds when contact is made.
There are 11 power-ups to be discovered on the field, and each contains its own advantages and disadvantages. Bring a few friends along for the ride and have a lot of fun, as this game mode never gets old.
So those are just some of our picks for the most insane multiplayer modes in automotive and driving games. I bet you have an idea of a multiplayer mode we’ve missed out, so be sure to leave us a comment down below!