Gear.Club Unlimited (Switch) Review
Originally a mobile game, Gear.Club Unlimited promises fast-paced racing at the intersect of arcade and simulation gameplay. However, in trying to appease fans of both styles of racers, it excels at neither. Instead, Gear.Club Unlimited idles along in second gear, despite its raft of content and gameplay options.
Featuring a daunting amount of content, Gear.Club Unlimited offers up a single-player career mode focusing on building your own garage and car collection, local multiplayer, and an online mode replete with various ranking tiers. Single-player is likely where you will spend most of your time, taking part in the many time trials, sprints and circuits Gear.Club Unlimited throws at you. Heavily inspired by its mobile roots, players are rewarded with experience points and cash for doing almost anything, which can then be spent on kitting out your garage with upgrade options, buying new cars, or fine-tuning the performance of your four-wheeled purchases.
It always feels like you’re progressing forward and unlocking more things, but progression feels relatively linear. In order to participate in more racing events, you need to earn stars to unlock them; up to three stars are awarded every race based on performance. Unfortunately, there were times where I was not enjoying a particular grouping of events, but I was unable to skip ahead to some more of the enjoyable tracks because I had to grind through to earn enough stars to move on.
Grinding through these races may have been less painful if the most important aspect of any racing game felt more satisfying – driving. Regardless of the chosen vehicle, driving felt light and floaty, with handling corners feeling unpleasantly loose. Like other racers such as Forza, Gear.Club Unlimited possesses various driving assist options which help with steering, braking and cornering. Turning all assists off does improve the overall feel of driving, but it’s far from perfect.
Collision feedback is severely lacking; there’s no rumble to speak of (let alone HD Rumble), in addition to contact with obstacles or other vehicles being utterly inconsequential. Other than slowing down upon impact, there is no damage or penalty for crashes, which adds to the artificial nature of driving. Ironically, I enjoyed the rally events most because they felt the most satisfying to race on; wrestling with the dirt corners felt better than driving on straight stretches of asphalt – go figure. Gear.Club Unlimited definitely skews far more towards the arcade side of the racing spectrum, but I spent the bulk of my time wishing I was playing either Mario Kart or Forza instead, as the driving in both feels far more responsive and fun.
All things considered, Gear.Club Unlimited is a totally serviceable game. Jumping in and racing is quick and easy – well suited to playing a few races here and there. It runs equally well on either docked or handheld, and looks pleasant enough to the eye. There’s no shortage of content either if you can tolerate some of the less enjoyable events. Pleasingly, there are no microtransactions, which may have been a concern to those worried about a mobile game coming to Switch.
Ultimately, Gear.Club Unlimited may have been better served doubling down on either the arcade or the simulation aspects of driving, not both. In attempting to do both, Gear.Club Unlimited stretches too thinly in trying to cater to both crowds, creating a merely serviceable package filled with content brought down by unsatisfying driving.
Rating: 3 / 5
- Plenty of content
- Runs and looks good on the Switch
- Easy to pick up and play
- Loose driving mechanics
- Some events are better than others
- Tries to be arcade and sim, succeeds at neither