Onrush makes me scream and shout at my TV like there's no tomorrow, but I've still played it pretty much every day since release. Why? Because it's moreish like chocolate-covered virtual crack, that's why.
This isn't a standard arcade racing game ("if Mario Kart is Orange Tango then Onrush is Red Bull") but if you ask me it's all the better for it. Getting slaughtered by the opposing team might be frustrating, but the thrill of rushing through pristine open environments, crushing your rivals and sending your car flying through the air off the edge of a cliff is unparalleled.
Unfortunately, it seems I'm in the minority. Released on 5th June and despite getting mostly positive critic reviews, Onrush didn't fare well in the UK sales charts. Its release week saw it reach the low position of 34, and the week after it was nowhere to be found.
Onrush may not have sold particularly well, but it deserves so much better. It's an online-focused racer, meaning that ongoing success and support is dependant on maintaining a sizeable player base. There is a substantial campaign that can be played in single player or co-op, but it's racing online, with up to fifteen other players tussling to control the roadways, where the game really shines.
And so, to lure in new players, developer Codemasters has announced a free weekend. From tomorrow until Monday 9th July, you'll be able to play Onrush absolutely free. It's only for PS4 players in the EU this time around, but it looks like something similar will be available for Xbox and US PS4 players "soon", according to a tweet from the official Onrush account.
So get those controllers ready! This weekend's going to be one hell of a RUSH! ? pic.twitter.com/f1bsU43oly
— ONRUSH // (@onrushgame) July 5, 2018
There's no excuse now! Undoubtedly Onrush's unique gameplay style will put off some veteran racing game fans – "you don't need to come in first place? What's all that about?" – but once you get your head around what the game is all about, it's one hell of a rush [You're fired — ed].
Playing in online mode, Onrush is essentially a never-ending festival of speed and carnage. There's several different game modes, which cycle at random. My favourite is Overdrive, which tasks you and your team to fill up a bar before the opposition by boosting as much as possible. Then there's Countdown, where you need to drive through as many gates as possible before the time runs out; Switch, which is about trying to survive while taking out your rivals, forcing them to switch vehicle types; and Lockdown, which is a 'capture the flag' type mode that has you trying to take control of a moving zone by beating the other team to it.
Every mode has its perks, and while some make me more irrationally shouty than others — Lockdown I'm looking at you — each one is a hell of a lot of fun. Win or lose, the adrenaline makes you desperate to jump straight back into the action, each time a little more determined to destroy your opponent in as many ways as possible. Simply put, I haven't had this much fun with an arcade racer since Burnout Revenge.
I can't force you but, look, if you've got a PS4 then this is a chaotic and hugely enjoyable game from one of the UK's greatest racing developers. It deserves some love and, for the low low price of free, you can download it and see why. Get your friends on it, obliterate some strangers online, and you'll never look back.