Now let’s get this straight, Gear Club Unlimited is not an on-the-nose, pure realism driving simulator. This is not Forza on Xbox One, and this is not Gran Turismo on PlayStation 4. This is Gear Club on the Nintendo Switch, and there is nothing wrong with that. It takes more of a path along the lines of an organized and deep arcade racer, and it truly plays like one. Gameplay wise the cars handle well, feeling a bit looser than other modern racers, which makes it feel more arcade-like in a sense. I truly did not mind this (as I have already mentioned my love of older racers), so this feels right at home. And this style also feels right at home on the Switch, which since its release earlier this year, has brought me more in tune with feelings of gaming memories past. I feel like the Switch saved me in a way, reminding me what it used to feel like to play games as a kid and have an easy sense of enjoyment without an absurd insecure focus on power, graphics, and obsessive realism. I am not downplaying these aspects in any sense, but I want to recognize that there is nothing wrong with games being a bit underpowered in comparison when they are still fun, and Gear Club is really fun without being those aforementioned titles.
On this map, you will also find your workshop, which is a unique feature that really stood out to me. In this customizable workshop, you can store and upgrade your cars. As you level up in the career, you unlock new pieces of the workshop that you can add to your space. From an engine upgrade area, a tire workshop, and even a wind tunnel, you will build the perfect space to fine tune your cars. It is a much more engaging way to work on your car as opposed just viewing a list. You get to drag and drop your car from section to section, setting it up to be better than before. There is also a rally upgrade section that lets you upgrade with parts specifically for the rally races, and you do not even have to worry about changing them out before a race or having a car specifically for rally races. Any upgrades bought in this shop are automatically adjusted in when switching to rally races, making them easily accessible without the fuss of tuning prior. You can even add new themes and decorative displays to your workshop, such as; vending machines; rotating parking spots; couches and more. It’s like having a Sims-like feature, which is awesome in my opinion. It added a sense of character that I have not seen in other racers.
Gear Club is a super rewarding experience too. It has one of the best achievement systems built in that I have seen on the Switch yet, making it worthwhile to gather as each achievement unlocked nets you some in-game money. Same goes for the missions in the game, which rotate in sets of three and allow you to aim for more than just winning races. Leveling up keeps you motivated too, with new items unlocking in your shop with each level up. All in all Gear Club is a great addition to both the genre and the line up on the Switch and is a well put together concept. Though not the most realistic or powerful racing simulators on the market, it is lots of fun, and racing enthusiasts will find plenty to like here. Don’t get separated from the pack. Get behind the wheel and become a part of the club today, because Gear Club is helping the genre launch on Switch.
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purpose of the review.
+Fun arcade racer-like feel
-Short list of car/ car customization offerings
-Sometimes too easy