Hot Moms with crushes on their tennis coaches. Professors with NPR tote bags. This is what I think of when I hear the word Volvo. But like Madonna and her new adolescent boyfriend, Volvo is retooling its image and possibly skewing to a younger set. Volvo, in conjunction with SimBin (maker of the game Race Pro which scored 72% on Metacritic) has released a Volvo racing game called, wait for it…Volvo: The Game.
The game allows you to race Volvos that span each generation (including the 850 station-wagon, which to me, its inclusion is a tongue in cheek send up of the Mom car, but which Volvo calls a legend) or the futuristic looking V60 concept car. I like old school, but a concept car, for any racing game enthusiast, is always cool.
As we all know, the success of a racing game comes down to five things: graphics, handling, varied skill level, track and cool cars. The graphics look good. Side by side photos of the game’s station wagon and the actual wagon were hard to distinguish. Handling. We’ll know May 26 when the game is made available.
It looks like the game offers a choice of skill levels: “novice with all the driver assistance technology activated such as ABS brakes, “semi-pro”, and finally “pro” where there is no assistance whatsoever. We’ll see what the gamers say though. They are veeeeery picky about their skill levels. If hard is too hard, they go crying into their copies of Game Informer.
The track is the coolest thing about Volvo: The Game. Selecting a previously unseen track in the Ukraine was smart. Drivers get to experience a totally new location, and perhaps meet a girl named Svetlana in the process-at least in their minds. This brings me to the last of the four requirements.
Heavy in the cool car department, this game is not. While the promising graphics do seem to lift it out of its status as a straight up advert, having only six cars to choose from may limit Volvo: The Game’s audience. So maybe this won’t be a game that guys in a Judd Apatow movie will sit around playing while asking, “Do you know how I know you’re gay?” But then again, don’t underestimate the power of Svetlana.
Starting May 26, you can download Volvo: The Game, free of charge to your PC from the website www.volvocars.com/intl. The game is available in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish.