Review by Bizenya79

"Lackluster F-Zero Clone...."

In the futuristic racer, Tube Slider, you control a high-velocity "hover vehicle" through a series of...well, TUBES, using the occasional power-up, and dodging the occasional mine....
There are a few weapons you can use against opponents, and a dozen or so cars from which to choose. Ho-hum. There's really not much here to distinguish this game, other than the slightly novel fact that all of the tracks are...well...TUBES. This, however, really doesn't affect the gameplay in a significant enough way to make Tube Slider stand out as a title, and although the game is put together well enough, there's frankly no real reason to play it. It's also practically impossible to play Tube Slider without comparing it to F-Zero GX. In fact, it's more or less the same thing, only not nearly as good.

Let's break it down....

GRAPHICS: 8 out of 10.

Tube Slider does have some pretty slick graphics. I'll give it that. The sleek vehicle designs and vibrant tracks can be rather impressive at first. The problem, however, is that the environments eventually start to blend together, and you'll find yourself wondering if you are, in fact, racing on the same course over and over. The developers could have given us a little more variety here (how about a tube with, say, graffiti painted on it or something? Must they all just be blue-ish and transparent???). Additionally, at some points, you'll struggle to determine where the track begins and ends (they're all purported to be TUBES, but in many cases, they have no ceilings...not only making them NOT TUBES, but also possible to drive off of). This can be somewhat unnerving, as due to control issues we'll discuss in a few moments, it's very easy to completely lose control of your vehicle, spinning you off in the wrong direction, or off the track. In short, the visuals in Tube Slider WOULD be top-notch, if only they had a little more variety.

SOUND: 6 out of 10

High-energy techno music. Fitting to the game, but nothing impressive or especially catchy. There's no voice acting to speak of, and sound effects are all standard.

STORY: 3 out of 10

There is virtually no backstory provided here. It's not clear just who is racing in all of these tubes, or why. Now, you may think this shouldn't matter much, given the fact that Tube Slider is just a racing game, but I found that not knowing who was inside my hover vehicle, or what his motivation was, made the experience less emotionally involving. It's not like in F-Zero, where being provided with a variety of characters from which to choose and unlock can extend the game's replayability quite a bit. It seems silly, but not knowing who the driver is also makes selecting a vehicle less interesting. Given the futuristic, sci-fi nature of the game, there was potential here to make for an interesting story; but as things stand, there's really nothing. And who the heck built the TUBES???

GAMEPLAY: 5 out of 10

Well, you race these hover vehicles through the...well...TUBES at high speeds -- that's basically it. The few power ups we're given aren't really all that exciting (just the standard speed boosters, really) , and you'll find that weapons are both difficult to use and (for the most part) unnecessary, as your opponents are usually spread out, and rarely close to you. The controls are also much too sensitive -- move just a LITTLE too much in any direction, and you'll spin out of control, winding up headed in the wrong direction. And then there's the TUBES, which are both the game's most distinguishing feature, and its biggest handicap. Since the tracks are round, you can drive anywhere on them that you might wish. Go on the ceiling, the side, the bottom -- it don't matter; it's a TUBE! This can be invigorating, but it can also be confusing, as you find yourself spinning all over every side of the track (although I do believe that a TUBE technically only has one side), with little ability to stabilize yourself. And the tracks are far too long -- the game would be much more fun if it didn't take 10 minutes to complete a single race. There's not enough meat here to make any single race stay interesting for longer than maybe 5 minutes, tops. They should have given us a greater number of short tracks, instead of just a handful of really long ones. There IS multiplayer, but with the screen divided four ways, things become too chaotic and confusing for it to be much fun. This isn't all to say that Tube Slider is BAD -- it can be fun to spin all over them pretty tracks, feeling more like you're bobsledding than car racing; it's just that...frankly, as you play this game, you're guaranteed to just find yourself just longing for F-Zero, which offers practically the same experience without all the flaws.

OVERALL: 6 out of 10

If you can force yourself to forget about the existence of (ahem) that OTHER futuristic racing title on the Gamecube, then you MAY find some fun to be had in Tube Slider. However, even judging it by its own merits alone, this otherwise promising game falls short once you've spent more than 20 minutes playing it. It looks and sounds good at first, but after a few races, you'll feel as though the developers should have given us a little more.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 11/19/07

Game Release: Tube Slider (US, 04/17/03)

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