A welcome antidote to Burnout Paradise's semi-successful move into open-world territory, FlatOut Head On delivers the kind of traditional, straightforward smash-tastic crash-feasts that used to be its rival's trademark. It looks great and has instant pick-up-and-play appeal - just like the world-conquering Burnout series.
Add to this the still-amusing ability to launch your hapless driver through the windscreen, and you have one of those throwaway PSP games that's perfect for those with short attention spans.
Carnage mode is a series of short, entertaining events that are gradually unlocked as you pick up trophies and bag points for performing wreckless stunts such as destroying competitors, demolishing scenery and catching huge air.
Full steam ahead
There are no-nonsense races against the clock where your race position going through checkpoints determines the score multiplier; Beat the Bomb, where passing each checkpoint adds a much-needed fuse to a rapidly ticking bomb; and the infamous ragdoll 'sport' events where your driver becomes a ten-pin bowling ball or is launched skywards in the high jump.
No event takes more than a few minutes, meaning that you won't ever get bored. And if you're on a losing streak, the race will soon be over and you can return to the business of winning.
If there's a criticism, it's with the handling, which seems to want to offer a pure arcade driving experience as well as test your braking and cornering as if it's a proper racing sim. This only really becomes a problem in races where you must top up nitro by smashing into stuff as well as trying to come first, but it can prove annoying nonetheless.
Still, this is way better than Need for Speed ProStreet and it's much more fun than MX vs ATV Untamed. If you find most PSP racers dull and are dying for a quick dose of thrill-packed action like you'd find in Wipeout and Burnout with a dollop of crazy stuntage thrown in for good measure, then this will be right up your street. Looking for a new PSP speed racer to add to your collection? We think you might have found it.
FlatOut finds its natural home on PSP where the speedy events and abusing your driver gag don't outstay their welcome as much as on PlayStation 2. An instant pick-up-and-play winner.