Gear Club Unlimited 2 Review: A Worthy Switch Racer?

The Nintendo Switch has no shortage of great games available, but what it does lack is a great sim racer.

Gear Club Unlimited tried to get a grip on that market when it came out back in 2017 for the hybrid console. Unfortunately, it couldn’t get over the hump of being a mobile port to really stand out to players. Gear Club Unlimited 2 looks to build off the foundation set by its predecessor and firmly establish itself as the sim racing pillar on the console.

But does it have enough gas to cross the finish line in first, or is it destined for a DNF?

Career Depth 

Gear Club Unlimited 2 presents players with two options: Career mode or multiplayer. There’s no Quick Race option at all so you either need to play the campaign or have some friends to play with locally.

There’s also an option in the menu for online multiplayer, but as of writing, that feature is still unavailable nearly two months after launch.

Because of the limited mode offerings, you’ll spend 99% of your time in the game’s career mode. Offering a nice amount of depth for players, you start by taking over the role of a regular racer on a team and are then tasked with completing various events located on a map that gives off a nice Burnout-like feeling.

The mode offers more than 250 races to complete with 50 different vehicles to buy and upgrade. From a Mini Cooper to a Porsche, the variety of cars is a nice sight after the original game had just over 30 cars to unlock.

Gear Club Unlimited 2 offers a nice, albeit standard, set of customization options. You can give your car a fresh paint job, new tires, and custom performance parts in order to continue to move through the mode.

This is where the mobile game elements really stand out, and not in a good way. The main hub of the mode is your garage where you add various workshops that offer the ability to utilize the upgrades. Unfortunately, what should’ve been handled via menus instead has you use a very slow-moving cursor with your joystick. You need to tediously drag your car to each individual workshop within your garage to add your tires or paint your car.

A Bumpy Road

After the tediousness of buying and upgrading your vehicle, it’s time to take it to the road. On your way, you’ll see things like beautiful vehicles, exciting environments, and some of the longest load times a game on the Switch has to deal with.

Once you hit 95% loaded, you’ll often find yourself spending more time waiting to get into the race than actually racing. And once you get into a race, the game only fares a slight bit better.

There is an input lag no matter which way you play the game (docked or handheld). It’s not the longest lag in the world, but it’s just enough to cause you to crash into an unbreakable wooden barricade or miss a turn and lose position. Eventually you get used to it, but that doesn’t forgive the fact that a racing game in 2019 has these delay issues.

Other than that, the racing can actually be pretty enjoyable. Provided you’re not playing on the lowest difficulties the game has to offer, races are competitive and require you to actually make decisions as to when to attempt to make a pas or hold off for a better opportunity.

Verdict

There are things to enjoy about Gear Club Unlimited 2. The customization options help make every car you own unique while the local multiple makes for a decent time killer with friends. That said there are too many issues keeping this game near the back of the pack.

From the terrible load times to the pretty run-of-the-mill career mode, you’ll quickly find yourself bored with the experience presented to you.

The Gear Club Unlimited series could be a top-level racer and dominate that scene on the Switch for years to come. But until they find a way to make it feel more than a large-scale mobile game, it’s impossible to recommend to anyone who isn’t desperate for a handheld racer not named Mario Kart.

  • Gameplay
  • Game Modes
  • Presentation
  • Longevity

Summary

The Gear Club Unlimited series could be a top-level racer and dominate that scene on the Switch for years to come. But until they find a way to make it feel more than a large-scale mobile game, it’s impossible to recommend to anyone who isn’t desperate for a handheld racer not named Mario Kart.

Overall
2