Pressure is a (shoot-em-up) vertical battle racer with over-the-top shooting mechanics in a colorful Steampunk setting. The game offers a unique blend of Destruction Derby’s raucous racing, Mario Kart’s funky artistic design, and Twisted Metal’s explosive action.

This type of mixture in gameplay mechanics is what makes Pressure such an addicting game. The addition of both online and offline cooperative functions just doubles the festivity of interactive experience. The story is simple. The hero awakes to find the river where he takes his morning bath completely dry.

The evil Count Soap II has sucked up all the water to start his insidious Wellness Spa Empire. Your mission is to thwart the Count’s sinister plans and return the valuable water to the citizens around the world. It won’t be easy; you’ll fight through machinegun-firing, caltrop-laying robots and gigantic tank bosses.

The game runs on three key mechanics: ramming, shooting, and maintaining “pressure”. Ramming is a cool feature that allows you to slam onto enemies and send them into oblivion! Shooting allows you to use some of the wild weapons in the game like Homing Missiles, Sticky Bombs, Magnetizers, Orbiting Drones, Grenades, and Nukes to keep your combative side happy.

Maintaining “pressure” refers to the white gauge in the top-left of the screen as your main health bar of sort. When it is depleted, your race ends and you are forced to start the level over. Luckily, defeating enemies and crossing checkpoints fill it back up.

What keeps Pressure interesting is its lineup of over 60 vehicle boosters! They are broken into four parts: Primary Weapons, Secondary Weapons, Rams, and Buggy Upgrades. Each item can achieve three stages of reinforcement. The higher the rating, the more destructive it is. You can buy the enhancements in the “Garage” with the coins you collect in the race.

The game runs relatively smooth using the Xbox 360 controller. The developer adapted a good control system to maintain the adrenaline rush for the casual crowd. The controls are rather simple. The A button is your primary weapon, B is the secondary weapon, X triggers your dash-boost, LT is brake or reverse, and RT button is used to accelerate your Steam-like machines.

The primary weapon could’ve used an auto-fire so that the right thumb can relax and utilize the secondary weapon without the awkward “tripping”. During a co-op mode, Y button is used to give your partner extra gauge of pressure when it is dipping low. You must work together to sustain good pressure, unless you want to end the race and start at the beginning. The game keeps it lively by making each course short, lasting just 3 minutes.

The graphics in Pressure is vividly striking and well animated. The developer did an amazing job with the particle effects in rending explosion that are coming off in every direction. The setback is that camera angle is fixed! There are no other adjustments for a more comfortable field of view. Still, the boss fights are a spectacular feat! They’re huge and fun to destroy.

Unfortunately, these are very rare instances! Given the lightheartedness of the game, it is no surprise that both characters and vehicle models are a little bit wacky. They may look comical but rest assured the designs are full of high definition excitements.

The sound effects are good. They provide reasonable weight in delivering the action. The same can be said about the music; it is very snazzy jazzy and keeps you upbeat. Overall, the game is a notable crowd pleaser. Mind you, it centers on the multiplayer experience. Pressure is like a hybrid of our favorite classic arcades packaged for today’s generation and for the casual masses.