Contrary to what its title suggests Burnin’ Rubber is not about, well, burning rubber, which usually translates to racing. The game is more in tune with the Twisted Metal video game series where racing takes a back seat in favor of destroying other vehicles, although this one has obviously a much smaller scale.
It’s chaos in the road!
You begin the game by selecting a car, which is initially from a choice of two. Each car has their own speed and armor, which represents the number of times they can take damage. Next, you select a weapon to be mounted on your car (again, from an initial choice of two). The weapons vary in firing speed and power. When everything is all set up, you are then placed in a randomly-generated road where your main objective is to destroy as many cars and obstacles as possible, while avoiding crashing into them at the same time. There are also damaged roads here and there that will make your car swerve uncontrollably, so it’s best to stay clear of them.
Firing your weapon does not need any input – it fires on its own continuously. So, it makes focusing on your steering that much easier. The vehicles on the road vary from regular-looking cars to large trucks to police cars. And each of them requires a certain number of hits before they explode. The same goes for stationary obstacles along the road. If you think your firepower is lacking, it’s best to employ a strategy that primarily relies on evading.
Customization and power-ups
The game tallies two important records: high score and total score. Aside from being records of your performance, they also act as a sort of currency in the game. High scores correspond to the cars. As you reach specific high score milestones, certain cars will be unlocked. Similarly, reaching a specific total score milestone will unlock more weapons to choose from. The required high scores and total scores might seem daunting at first glance, but once you get the hang of things you’ll barely notice that you have unlocked more cars and weapons. Once you have access to the big guns, it’s much easier to plow through whatever stands in your way.
Burnin’ Rubber also has power-ups that can be collected on the road. Most of them need to be triggered first before they take effect, which simply requires you to tap on their icon located on the screen. These power-ups have varying effects. Their effects range from simply making your car invincible to turning your car into a blazing red dynamo that destroys everything in its path in super speed to simply adding another armor point. You don’t lose the power-ups that need to be triggered first when you crash into something. So, you can reserve them for later situations when things start to get difficult.
Although the aesthetics of Burnin’ Rubber is really simple, it deserves a thumbs-up for trying to add depth to the gameplay through the inclusion of power-ups and the unlockable cars and weapons. Having a bit of depth is still better than a complete lack of it.