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Pilot your grandparents in a battle against death in Coffin Dodgers

TechCrunch TechCrunch 3/05/2016 Haje Jan Kamps

Coffin Dodgers is named for the slang expression for the geriatric. It’s a racing game where instead of motorbikes, cars or skateboards, you are on a race against death on mobility scooters. Yes, it’s every bit as ridiculous as it sounds. Tasteless? Perhaps, but also a tremendous amount of fun. The game, created by the oh-so-very-Englishly-named Milky Tea studios, has been on Steam for a while, but is launching on Xbox One later this week and PS4 today.

Take a pint of Super Mario Kart, sprinkle in some tongue-in-cheek humor, and add a dash of funky fresh animation and an eye-catching concept, and you’ve got Coffin Dodgers. The game features both single-player story modes where you’re battling against the Grim Reaper himself, or multiplayer modes where you are playing against your friends and mortal enemies in the 4-player local multiplayer mode.

The scooters can, of course, be decked out with myriad modifications and a collection of whacky weapons — I mean, why wouldn’t you weaponize transportation options for those less able to work.

Once you get over the game’s brash style and constant, forceful reminders of memento mori, it becomes clear that underneath all the bravado, it’s actually a really well made game, with some fun innovations thrown in. Instead of pre-animating the characters, for example, the game uses ragdoll physics, the upshot of which is that even when you lose and come careening off the scooter, you are treated to some spectacular feast of floppy, head-over-toes carnage.

Set in the until recently peaceful retirement community of Sunny Pines, the game depicts not, perhaps, the way your grandparents would want to end their time on this earth, but then they probably weren’t battling against EMP-powered defibrillators while bombing down the road at 90mph either.

The game has been on Steam since July last year, where the game racked up 50,000 downloads and mostly positive reviews.

My only critique of the game is that it’s over way too fast — once you’ve played through the wildly entertaining single-player story mode, the multi-player mode is a bit of a letdown. Yes, it does have a certain nostalgic throwback charm to the days of split-screen Mario Kart playing of my youth, but there just isn’t that much left there to keep the replay value of some other titles.

Coffin Dodgers launches on Playstation 4 today and XBox One on Friday.

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