What is Flatout 4 (Fl4tout)?
Flatout 4 is a destructive racing game that combines fender bending races, manic destruction derbies, and wacky pass-the-controller mini-games. Getting behind the wheel of an already beat up car of your choice, this is a game of crashes, smashes, and strategic bumper bashes, as you try and barge your way to victory.
How do you play Flatout 4 (Fl4tout)?
Flatout 4 offers three major types of events - races (and time trials), demolition derbies, and mini-games.
The game's single player "career" mode sees you take part in a number of multi-race mini-tournaments, as you jostle it out with 11 other computer controlled cars in an effort to finish in first place. With tracks that have multiple routes, numerous shortcuts, and are scattered with destructible items, there's plenty of scope for chaos here. Career mode also features the odd demolition derby event, as you take on 11 other cars in what's essentially a fight to destruction, in either survival, deathmatch, or "keep the flag" mode.
Equally substantial is Flatout 4's mini-game offering. Silly, slapstick, and plenty of fun, these mini-games see you firing your driver out of your windscreen to compete in a wide range of sports, from football (dribble your way past the defenders before making your shot!), and golf (have a run up, then try and fly your driver into the hole), to stone skimming (only by "stone", they mean "driver") and even a human take on angry birds, as you pelt a giant wooden castle with your driver! Playable in single player, online multiplayer, and with up to eight players on the same console in the pass-the-controller party mode, Flatout 4's mini-games are as crazy as they are fun.
How easy is Flatout 4 (Fl4tout) to pick up and play?
How easy Flatout 4 is to pick up and play depends on the mode you're playing in. If you're passing the controller between a group of friends and family, then even younger players will have few issues here, as each mini-game is easy to get to grips with and follows a similar pattern. Most of the difficulty comes from making sure you let go of the button at the right time, to make sure your driver fires out at the right angle.
In terms of races and demolition derbies, though, Flatout 4 is much more challenging. There's no adjustable difficulty level here, with the game instead ramping up the challenge as you progress through its tournaments, which does mean you have a little less room to manoeuvrer. If you can't beat the next tournament, you'll have to use your in-game winnings to either upgrade your car, or perhaps buy a new one, and level the playing field that way.
The game's boost system is a little bit unusual too. You can only earn boost power by either smashing up the game's destructible scenery, or ramming your opponents. That means you'll need to be strategic with what you smash when, as you can easily end up with slim pickings if you're in first place (because there are no cars around), or in last (because all the scenery's already been smashed up). With cars that tend to be easy to spin, especially when you're crashing into your opponents on every corner, that means staying in first place is harder than you might imagine.
With little in the way of text to read, bar the odd tutorial, a reading ability isn't essential for Flatout 4.
Flatout 4 is fairly light on mature content, with mild sexual references and bad language in song lyrics, and only mild slapstick violence in game.
Most of the violence here comes from your car's driver. If you crash too hard in a race, your driver will often smash straight through the windscreen, before bouncing off whatever it was you crashed into and sliding to the ground. The mini-games here actually see you deliberately firing your driver out of your windscreen, and then trying to score a goal, get him in a hole, or fire him through a series of flaming rings, amongst others. However, your driver always seems more like a ragdoll than a real person, with no gore or realistic impacts on show, and an air of humour around the whole thing.
In terms of sexual content, several of the game's background songs feature suggestive lyrics, with the strongest being "Our sex is like a punk rock song. It's fast, and dirty, 'bout two minutes long."
Bad language is similarly constrained to background music, with one song containing the word "bullsh*t".