Whether empowering or simply poking fun, Coffin Dodgers’ portrayal of the elderly stands at the very core of this cartoonish kart racer. Set in the vibrant suburbs of Sunny Pines, it boasts a darkly amusing premise, as the Grim Reaper pays a visit to this otherwise idyllic retirement village. Naturally, with pensioners in abundance, he has come to claim their souls one by one. This hardy old bunch won’t go without a fight, mind you, taking to their mobility scooters in a bid to outrun the reaper.
Needless to say, Coffin Dodgers is teeming with comic tropes and tongue-in-cheek humour. Its cast of crusty codgers are jokingly archetypal and out of touch, with plenty of sock in sandal combos to laugh at. Taking a step back, the game can be viewed as something of a metaphor, a colourful parody of old-age mortality. True, it’s a bizarre choice of tone and setting but one that isn’t likely to offend at the same time.
Although not very long at all, Coffin Dodgers’ story mode is the centrepiece here. Staged across 4 cups and 13 races, it takes no longer than an hour to race through. Considering how this is where the bulk of the game lies, that can sound worrying, especially when paying close to a tenner. Developer Milky Tea has pumped in time trials, exhibition races, and splitscreen multiplayer alongside, though none of them add much in the way of replay value.
Still, despite its brevity, the story mode will serve as a fun distraction for some. Each cup is its own battle royale that ties into the game’s narrative, with the Grim Reaper killing off anyone who finds themselves at the bottom of the table. Instead of shrinking down the total number of racers, any retirees snared by the reaper will return as zombies. It’s a funny little twist and one that’s played upon with the inclusion of little cutscenes that show contestants rising from their graves.
Whether or not you get along with Coffin Dodgers hinges entirely on the racing itself. With no drifting or any sort of advanced mechanics at play, this is the very definition of a bare bones racing experience. Worse, it’s not all that intuitive to play, with steering that steering is somehow stiff yet floaty and collisions having a strange bounce to them.
Turning our attention away from the basic handling, no kart racer is complete without its own set of zany weapons. Employing its wacky sense of humour once again, Coffin Dodgers packs its arsenal with pick-ups such as an uzi, homing missiles, and an area-of-effect defibrillator attack. Although nothing special, they collectively tick off all the essentials and give each race that added degree of competitiveness.
For a game that’s currently doing the rounds on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Coffin Dodgers is hardly a looker. Behind its vibrant shower of colours is a patchwork of basic textures and character models. It’s vaguely reminiscent of Relentless Software’s Blue Toad Murder Files in its style, but lacks a quality finish. Without taking a second look, you might think it was a game ported from more than a decade ago.
“Rough around the edges” is a lazy yet apt way to describe each of the game’s components as well as the full package. That said, there’s something charming and unquestionably enjoyable when all of these misshapen pieces come together. Maybe it comes down to how easy and accessible Coffin Dodgers is as a racer, but there’s definitely something that’s clicked with me. Even so, it’s a disappointing effort overall, but Coffin Dodgers may prove to be a guilty pleasure of sorts for a small minority.
Version Tested: PlayStation 4