What would happen if you took traditional rally racing a boiled it down to its base concepts? Funselektor Labs provides the answer with the wonderful Art of Rally.
Choosing a top down perspective (there are actually 8 different angles you can use, all providing some slight advantage over each other) is an interesting choice and coupled with the paired back graphics it might seem, at first, to be another of those indie endless runner style driving games but Art of Rally has real racing in its bones and the developers have a great feel for what makes rallysport so thrilling for drivers and spectators alike.
Cars all feel different to drive even if their graphics models are basic. Those who love this sort of thing will appreciate the weight differences and handling. The game caters for everyone, though, not just us rally fanatics, and the varying difficulty levels and damage settings reflect this with some easier settings making this far more of the arcade style racer that you might mistake it for from the screenshots. As you gradually increase the difficulty it subtly becomes more nuanced and nudges you towards becoming perfect with cornering and more careful on bends while still trying to take those risks that will put you ahead on the standings.
The graphics alone allow for some fantastic scenery and play with light and shade to create moving portraits that really need to be experienced. Thankfully there’s a free roam mode built in that takes you on a joyride through the countryside that you may have been hurtling through moments ago, trying not to fling yourself into a nearby tree.
While it may look twee and far removed from games like Dirt Rally, Art of Rally really does have the feel of the sport in its DNA and the developers have created as much a love letter to rally driving as to gaming.