Wreckfest's Switch port impresses – even against PS5 and Xbox Series X

Wreckfest is an all-out brawl of a racing game. Races are full-contact, with track designs that encourage massive shunts as cars criss-cross and shove other vehicles into barriers. Made by Flatout dev Bugbear Entertainment, Wreckfest represents a long-awaited return to form for demolition derby games. After debuting on PC in 2018, it’s since crossed over to current and last-gen consoles – and this week, the Nintendo Switch. Today, we’ll be taking a look at Wreckfest across all console formats, with a particular emphasis on Switch. Just how well can this game scale from Nintendo’s hybrid console all the way to PS5?

Wreckfest’s claim to fame is its destruction. Vehicle damage is fully simulated here, with cars that realistically crumple and disintegrate as they collide. Crashes leave bits of fender and sheet metal strewn over the track, and often send pieces of concrete barriers or tire walls into the air as well. The damage system is backed by a solid handling model, with weighty-feeling vehicles that demand care when navigating corners – but some arcade characteristics that prevent mistakes from being too punishing.

Technically speaking Wreckfest is a good-looking but not especially ambitious title, outside of its superb car damage model. Cars are highly detailed, there’s plenty of trackside geometry, and pop-in is minimal – but indirectly lit shots often look quite flat, car reflections are quite basic and anti-aliasing is absent. It’s a slightly unusual feature set, which is perhaps explained by its initial development in 2012 by a smaller team on a custom engine, but it turns into a winning formula for Switch: conservative rendering tech plus a custom, tweakable engine.

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