Get in the Car, Loser! PC Review

Get in the Car, Loser! A fun, if sometimes an emotionally distressing game that can have somewhat repetitious combat, but if you dig the combat, you’ll probably be just fine.

By LCLupus, Posted 17 Apr 2022

Let’s just start this off by saying that if you’re at all a fan of the work of Christine Love, the indie dev behind this game (and Analogue: A Hate Story, Hate Plus, and Ladykiller in a Bind), then you’ll probably like this one too. Expect the themes you’ve likely come to expect from her games, but this time, you get to have a little more gameplay than usual. However, if you’re less familiar with Love’s work, read on.

Get in the Car, Loser! is a blend of sorts. It is, on one hand, a visual novel, although it does not offer branching narrative lines in the way that many visual novels do, and, on the other hand, it’s a turn-based RPG with a rather strange leveling system that we’ll get to in time.

Get in the Car, Loser!, PC, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, NoobFeed

The game is about a group of femme-presenting people who have teamed up and are heading off on a lengthy road trip to save the world from an ancient evil that threatens to destroy everything. Or, as it says on the Steam page: “A lesbian road trip RPG.” The game revolves around two main types of interaction: road trip visual novel chats and action-oriented, turn-based battles as you make your way across the world and towards the ultimate baddie.

The visual novel segments are all about characterization and world-building. You chat to each other, mostly having mindless fun and taking friendly jabs, but Get in the Car, Loser! isn’t afraid of going to some rather dark places. And this is where those dark places should be acknowledged. The game features topics such as gender, sexuality, misogyny, transphobia (including deadnaming), domestic abuse, queerphobia, and anxiety attacks. It’s a game that isn’t afraid to deal with some weighty topics that definitely won’t be for everyone. So, if you can handle some of those heavier areas, you should be just fine.

These visual novel segments then give way to the road system. Essentially, when you’re on the road and start your several thousand-kilometer journey to reach the final confrontation, you can change the lane you’re driving in to decide who you want to fight and in what order. You’ll be given specs about the enemies you’re going to face, and while you can theoretically dodge every regular fight because of this system, you need to get into fights to earn cash to pay for the gas needed to keep that car of yours driving. Plus, you may want to upgrade your equipment as you go.

Get in the Car, Loser!, PC, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, Leveling Up

So, there is some light resource management there. The fights can typically be avoided, provided you want to avoid some, but you’ll eventually have to fight. Which, for those who want a purer visual novel experience, maybe a problem; you can’t get the story without getting into some fights. And this may also be an issue for the inverse: if you want the fighting alone, you have to sit through a lot of conversation.

Furthermore, be prepared for some possible levels of frustration. The battle system takes some getting used to. Now, the Steam page states that Get in the Car, Loser! is quite inspired by JRPGs. So, this may seem normal for those who are more familiar with JRPG, mechanics. However, I am now talking to those with minimal JRPG experience (like myself).

The game uses a hybrid turn-based/real-time system, in which all attacks are based on timers, but there is no direct pause between each turn. So, it’s always both sides’ turn. The enemy can attack you at any time, and you want to string attacks together so that they occur in rapid succession to defeat your enemies more effectively. The damage an enemy takes is based on whether or not they are staggered. Staggered enemies take more damage, and when an enemy is not staggered, it can often seem like they have way too much health. Now, for someone who isn’t used to a system like this, in which certain attacks cause stagger and others cause ordinary damage, and they have to be used at specific times, it can get somewhat confusing.

Get in the Car, Loser!, PC, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, Comics, Cinematic

It took me several hours to get used to the combat, and it started to feel rather tedious for a long while because I simply couldn’t get the hang of it. You have to cycle through sets of attacks; every attack and every set are on timers. So, your attacks are on timers, and your ability to use other attacks is also on timers. For this reason, the Get in the Car, Loser! feels somewhat like a rhythm game. As you play, you go into more of a flow state. And once you click with the combat, once you genuinely figure it out and understand it, it all comes together, and it’s an absolute blast.

You become accustomed to repetitious timed beats. You launch off your attacks, flick to the next set of attacks, shoot those off, and then to the next, and the last cycle of attacks triggers a special ability that deals a massive amount of stagger to an enemy of your choice then you repeat the cycle. It’s strangely satisfying to pull this off as you become accustomed to mashing buttons as they become available. What makes it even more satisfying is when elemental damage appears.

Some enemies have a specific elemental strength, and so if you hit them with an attack that also has that elemental addition, it probably won’t be effective. You don’t want to hit a fire type enemy with fire. This means that you learn to watch your enemy’s strengths as you rapidly and selectively move through attacks. It becomes somewhat of a puzzle.

Get in the Car, Loser!, PC, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, Fighting

Now, that’s the combat itself. But while the combat takes a while to get used to, it can also be very easy to get confused by the upgrade system. Most RPGs use experience points to level up, but Get in the Car, Loser! uses items. You get items of a certain rank, and then you must sacrifice a certain number of other items to level that item up. Once it has become leveled up, you can buy the next level item and repeat the process. I had a moment in the early game where I couldn’t figure out how to upgrade until the internet helped me, which isn’t great. Get in the Car, Loser! should be more forthcoming in explaining some of its systems. As they can be rather strange the first time, you try them out.

And to further reinforce this idea that you need to get somewhat accustomed to the combat before it works for you (provided it does eventually snap into place), you also need a certain physical object to play this game properly: a controller. I used a controller the first time I played, and I’m so glad I accidentally picked the right option. You want a controller because the combat is tailor-made for it. It maps the attacks to the face buttons, so if you don’t use a controller, you’ll be mashing a keyboard in a way the keyboard probably won’t like either. This is also never stated on the Steam page and should be highlighted. It’s a far better experience with a controller.

Get in the Car, Loser!, PC, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, I work later in the face of evil

Before we go, it would be remiss not to mention the superb music and visual design. It has a phenomenal stylish, poppy soundtrack that will see you beating enemies along to the… beat. In addition, the visuals are pixel-art perfect, and you also keep getting more pixel-art portraits as you finish fights, and they are fabulous.

And that’s Get in the Car, Loser! A fun, if sometimes an emotionally distressing game that can have somewhat repetitious combat, but if you dig the combat, you’ll probably be just fine. So, pick it up and go on a great road trip. Because you literally have nothing to lose. Did I forget to mention that the game, which is probably somewhere in the realm of 10 or so hours long, is completely free? You can pick up some DLC and pay for that, and I would highly recommend doing so if you enjoy the base game, but you can give it a try without spending any cash. So, what are you waiting for?

L.C. Lupus
Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): Christine Love
Developer(s): Love Conquers All Games
Genres: Role-Playing
Themes: Strategy, Adventure, Indie
Release Date: 2021-09-21

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