Oh, look, a procedurally-generated racing game set in some sort of vaguely sci-fi world made up of, what else, gems.

It's the kind of description that makes my eyebrow involuntarily lift and inevitably leads to further inquiry.

Unfortunately, Gem Racers just doesn't do a whole lot with the concept.

Random is racing

The race tracks in Gem Racers are generated in segments. You're given a brief glimpse at the kind of segments that will be used in a given course, but you won't know the order or amount of any of them going in and there's no map to help you out once the race starts.

Instead, you'll have to jockey for position with other racers while the track kind of pops into existence ahead of you.

On the plus side this means you won't be forced to learn a track's layout to succeed. On the negative side, you won't be able to learn a track's layout to gain any sort of advantage.

It also leads to some interesting graphical issues on winding tracks, where you might see the other vehicles floating in the air after a turn because the next segment hasn't loaded yet.

A rough stone

I like the idea of the procedurally-generated track. I'm even okay with the camera being positioned in a way that makes anticipating what's coming up rather difficult when you're in the middle of a turn.

Having a bit more to do in the Garage aside from unlocking more vehicles would've been nice too, but all things considered there are enough available to keep you busy for a while. What I don't like so much is the rest of it.

Gem Racers's minimal (to a fault) menus aren't great, and I'm not really a fan of the visual style. But it's the tilt controls that get me.

They take a lot of getting used to and even then don't feel precise enough - it's either understeer or oversteer about 80% of the time.

Everything is also pretty slow-moving, even after hitting a boost, and it drops to an excruciating crawl whenever you hit or scrape against anything.

I truly do like the idea of Gem Racers, but it feels pretty underdeveloped overall.