It’s important to have a good sense of humour in life. It’s especially important when playing Coffin Dodgers, because it’s sense of humour is the main thing it has going for it.
Set in the normally peaceful retirement community of Sunny Pines, Coffin Dodgers sees the elderly community banding together to take on the Grim Reaper after the bony bugger shows up and tells each of them he’ll be back for their souls in three days. Not content with dying just yet, the stubborn residents challenge Death to a mobility scooter race around the community. If they win, they’ll be allowed to keep living a while longer and the Grim Reaper will be sent packing to reap someone else. Amused by their suggestion and presumably more than a little bored, the Grim Reaper accepts their challenge. The oldies have a few tricks up their sleeves, though, and it’s not long before they’re kitting out their mobility scooters with missiles, speed boosts and all manner of other insane power ups.
It’s every bit as ridiculous as it sounds, but is it fun?
Thankfully, yes. If you’re looking for a visually stunning experience then this may not be the game for you – it doesn’t look awful but the graphics wouldn’t look out of place in a late PS2 era game either – but as far as racers with tongue-in-cheek humour go, this one’s pretty much in a league of its own.
Race The Reaper
The game features both a single-player story mode where you’re battling against the Grim Reaper himself and a local multiplayer mode that allows you to race against up to other four other players, provided they’re sat in the same room as you. There’s a disappointing lack of an online modes, which would have extended the game’s life considerably because as it stands it’s a rather short experience and one that you’ll likely find yourself going to for the occasional race when you have a sudden hankering for it rather than something you won’t be able to stop playing.
While the experience lasts, however, it’s fantastically good fun. The scooters can be customised with a pleasing range of wacky modifications and a collection of crazy weapons with which to slay your opponents. There are plenty of pickups to grab on your way around each track such as oil slicks, missiles and electric shock machines, and there are even shades of Road Rash present thanks to the ability to get up close to your fellow racers and bludgeon them with melee weapons such as golf clubs, walking sticks and a string of sausages. You’ll want to make full use of all these advantages because as the story mode progresses, the oldies that come in last place are claimed by the Grim Reaper and return to the race as zombies.
The ragdoll physics engine in Coffin Dodgers means shunting your enemies into a lamppost or even tumbling out of your own vehicle is frequently a joy to behold and there’s enough variety in the levels that it takes several goes on each map before they begin to tire. There are plenty of obstacles to avoid on the later levels, too, such as buses, trains and the undead, which adds to the variety and keeps the levels feeling a bit different despite them being set in the same community.
Coffin Dodgers was reviewed on PlayStation 4.
As a tongue-in-cheek kart racer with an evil sense of humour, Coffin Dodgers is unique compared to the other racers currently available on PS4 and Xbox One, but it’s let down by its brief length and woeful lack of an online multiplayer mode. Unless you’ve got friends or a partner who’s prepared to sit down with you and play it on the same couch, there’s really not much here to keep you interested long term and even then the novelty will surely wear off before long.