Racing games can one of two things, incredibly simple or incredibly complex. Brakes Are For Losers (BAFL) steers itself towards being very simple compared to most other racing games. The twist however is also simple, you can’t stop moving forward. No brakes, no stopping whatsoever. And while I first thought this was a wild idea that would be interesting, unfortunately BAFL doesn’t fair too well using it to deliver a fun racing game. Before I knew it, I wanted to hit the emergency brake.
From the very start, I was racing around in a car that couldn’t stop accelerating. This is how the menus work in BAFL, which is very awkward and silly. The charm of navigating the game modes with your never-braking car quickly loses its charm when it takes you a few moments get the option you wanted. You have a number of different cars you can drive from the start, with no unlockable ones to strive for, which can be selected in the main menu garage section. It felt very unnecessary to have this be the way you select your game mode, as well as troublesome when I couldn’t reach the option I wanted quickly.
But what about the races, are they any good? The racing can be done with a grand prix Championship mode, Custom or Quick Race, and local Multiplayer. No matter what mode you choose, the races all end up feeling the same. Basic, boring, and difficult to control at times. Since the car I controlled could never stop moving, the twists and turns in most tracks were difficult to make. The handling of the cars can vary, which can also be affected by stats and boosts within the Championship mode. The stats I could upgrade did affect the quality of my car’s movement, but that didn’t take much away from the difficulty of turning whenever I was in a race.
While racing, you can pick up power-ups on the track to boost yourself or hinder your opponents. While this is good and similar to other arcade style racers, the effects of them are poorly designed. I would find myself constantly recovering from a series of bombs or debuffs that were picked up by the CPU drivers in succession, which would greatly impact where I finished the race. And while this wasn’t always the case, when it happened I always had to restart because of how difficult it became to move a short distance. Lowering the difficulty of the CPU did remedy this, but it then made the race way too easy to finish in first. I was running multiple laps around the competition, which was just as lame.
BAFL Multiplayer can be fun for those that want something simple and silly to waste time. There’s not much different from the other game modes, only that you can play with another person by detaching the Joycon controllers on the Nintendo Switch. Up to 8 players can join up in single or custom races. But if you’re not able to find others to join you, there are some challenges like Time Trials that are playable.
After spending a little bit of time with the challenges, I didn’t find them any more fun than the other modes. There are a number of them to complete and open more challenges, but the grading on them can be a bit harsh when you finish them. They aren’t a great reason to keep playing if you already aren’t enjoying the rest of the game.
I didn’t enjoy my time playing BAFL. It was very basic and felt boring, even if the cars were in a constant state of acceleration. With a concept that should feel outlandish and over-the-top, BAFL doesn’t do much with it. There’s very little to see in the game and not much else to come back to after playing a few races. You’re better off not starting your engines with this one and looking for a more interesting racing game elsewhere.
This review was based on a digital review code for Brakes Are For Losers (BAFL) for the Nintendo Switch, provided by Playdius