Upshift StrikeRacer

Game review by
Harold Goldberg, Common Sense Media
Upshift StrikeRacer Game Poster Image
Free online racing game, but hidden costs abound.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

You might find some cheating online, although the makers try to limit it. Since helpful in-game items can be purchased instead of earned, the game creates an uneven playing field for those without economic resources.


The racing cars are also outfitted with weapons to attack other cars. The weapons include fast-loading machine guns and roof-mounted mortars. There are also so called fire-and-forget missiles which, when launched from a car, lock on and destroy another racer. Finally, weapons for the rear of the car include mines which go off when a tire passes them and spike strips that stop your competitor from steering for a while.


This game uses the "velvet rope" business model of enticing kids to play the game by offering the game for free online, but roping them into paying by making essential items (like equipment for your car) cost money. Plus it is hard to figure out how much things will cost before deciding to play the game.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a massively multiplayer online racing game which is offered for free, but that equipping your race car can cost money. While racing against others, you can do damage to other opponents because your car comes equipped with weapons, including fast-loading machine guns and roof-mounted mortars. The game features short races, but the quest to level up is addictive.

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What's it about?

UPSHIFT STRIKERACER presents a strange story for a massively multiplayer online racing game. It's the 21st century and there is no more death, just immortality. People want to engage in \"self-actualization and higher pursuits,\" like \"the primal male desire for ballistic carnage.\" So in this world, higher pursuits means racing cars while inflicting violence. Plus, in the world of Upshift StrikeRacer, currency is potatoes. Why potatoes? They're \"prized for their beauty.\"

While the story Upshift StrikeRacer is bizarre and badly crafted, the free gameplay is pretty tight and fairly compelling from the get-go. After downloading a 312mg file and opening it up, you're almost ready to play. You'll have to choose a car with names like Groovy or ThudMaster and probably want to make it cool with a fancy body kit and weapons by using potato money currency.

Is it any good?

You'll see a lag through your broadband connection before the race. As the camera pans on seven cars with drivers like you from around the world, the scene is somewhat choppy. But once you get rolling, you'll see beautiful vistas amid the crazy carnage that occurs on the track. Sometimes the frame rate will drop. But overall, the driving experience so realistic, you may want to level up all the way to 60, which will take a lot of time and money, too. It will also take you some time to get the hang of racing and using weapons simultaneously.

The game has one big issue: it's not upfront about its costs. When you click on the FAQs to try to find out how much upgrades actually cost in dollars not tubers, the cost is hidden, as if they're trying to pull something on the player. The game is good and occasionally exciting when things blow up; so there's no reason not to be upfront about the costs. With over 20 racing course maps, 13 kinds of vehicles, and even a single player mode, there's a lot here. Another issue with the game is that there are cheaters in the game. You can even see them proudly post their cheating videos on YouTube.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it would be like in real life to be a race driver. Did you like racing against people from around the world? Was this online experience better or worse than playing a console-based racing game?

Game details

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