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Make Way offers fishtailing horror across a race track that you build as you go


A section of track in Make Way showing a loop-di-loop supported by gantries.
Image credit: Ice BEAM/Secret Mode/Valve

Make Way reminds me of the time a friend fell down a flight of stairs while trying to show me a card trick. He was fine, I should say: fine at the start of it and mostly fine at the end of it. Merely flustered, mildly askew, as if he had encountered a bug he could not replicate.

He had just fanned the cards - I don't know why we were standing at the top of a flight of stairs - and then his ankle wobbled. Down he went - still, somehow, mostly standing upright. My sense was of a polite, reserved person, a magician, steadily receding from view, and the air was suddenly alive with these tiny flickering shards of light. They were his cards, I guess, rapidly unfanned, glinting in the sun as they twisted to earth.

Not that Make Way is a game about cards or magicians. But it is a game about gravity and chaos and - in a manner of speaking - falling downstairs. It's a top-down racer, a genre which is pretty much chaos already. Like Mashed, a bunch of you each choose a separate car, and try to race to the end of a treacherous track. Fall off the track or fall out of view of the camera and you're out until the next checkpoint. The difference? The difference is in Make Way you also make the track that you drive on.

Make Way trailer.Watch on YouTube

Even this is chaos. At the start of each match a bunch of track pieces are presented. Some are straights and corners. Some are corkscrews or hairpin turns. Some are just evil - a straight with a hole punched in it, a chicane with sharp edges. Some aren't pieces of track so much as they're pieces of outright villainy: walls you can place at slots in someone else's section of track, or an ice ball to freeze everything and make it slippy. In one of the handful of games I've had this week, someone placed a pit of ever-rolling wheels on a corner, so you hit it at speed and promptly race into the ether. Another time everyone started talking about The Sack, which I assumed was something like SAC or SAK and a programming term I was too dim to understand. No. It was a sack, a heavy sack, placed on a swinging arm. Back and forth it went, stuck, inevitably, at a corner, and it sent a bunch of us to our doom.

At the end of each point-to-point race you get to choose more pieces - it's a scramble, as it's first-person-served - and then bolt them onto the monstrous track you've already constructed. So the game grows in horrors as you progress, getting longer and twistier, but also getting denser with walls and spikes and sacks. None of this would matter much if Make Way wasn't fun to drive, but it is! Oh it is. It's lovely fish-taily stuff, so you feel like you're in Bullitt, or maybe driving a Warthog, surrounded by three other Warthogs, in some strange Mobius Halo installation. Sometimes the tracks have barriers to keep you safe-ish. Other times I like to simply collide with my fellow Warthogs in the hope that we all basically stay put. Sometimes this works, but not often.

I've made this sound complicated, I know, but that's me and not the game. In truth it's simplicity itself: make a track, race on it, make some more of the track, race on the whole thing, make some more, race again. Throw in weapons that are collected from boxes a la Mario Kart and you have absolute chaos, teased upwards like some ludic beehive, to the point where it reaches its apex. Make Way is already extremely special. It will eat evenings. It will ruin friendships. I cannot wait to play more.

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