Clutch is a surprisingly enjoyable combat racing game, and is the closest anyone in recent memory has come to replicating the magic of the classic Carmageddon.
The budget-priced Clutch won't win any awards for its technical prowess and it's a fairly short game, but it manages to deliver plenty of zombie-smashing, car-bashing, blood-splattering fun.
The action in Clutch takes place in an American city where a Hadron Collider mishap has turned the citizens into ravenous zombies. Some uninfected humans still remain in the quarantined Atom City, and they spend their days racing cars and running over zombies.
There's a plot in Clutch - revealed via the main character's journal - and it's actually not bad; if nothing else it adds context to the whole "running over zombies" thing.
In Clutch, you'll race other cars, drive around gathering strange artifacts and protecting other vehicles that are doing the same, partake in demolition derbies, and kill zombies. There's a fair amount to do in Clutch, and completing missions and events rewards you with money that you can spend on vehicle upgrades or on new vehicles entirely. Some of this stuff is quite expensive, so if you want to get everything you'll have to play for a while.
The action in Clutch is well-done: the cars handle well, and the controls are simple and very responsive. The game even properly recognizes the Xbox 360 controller if one is plugged in, which is nice. Cars explode and burn, and zombies fly apart in showers of blood and body parts when you strike them down or grind them up with the trash compactor on the front of your car; by the end of some events your vehicle will be coated in the red stuff. Your tires will even leave red tracks on the road after you've splattered a group of the undead. Good times.
While Clutch looks okay, the graphics are a few years behind the curve. Still, everything looks decent and the frame-rate is consistent. Audio is restricted mostly to engine noises, crashes and the groans and growls of zombies, all of which is set to a handful of rockabilly and techno songs you won't remember the titles of. There's no voice-acting, but anyone who has played any of Russian developer Targem's English-language games in the past will realize that this is a good thing.
Clutch doesn't have any multiplayer modes, but there are a large number of unlockables (like vehicles and concept art) and in-game achievements that add some replay value for completionists. There's an achievement for playing the game for 10 hours, but most people will be done with Clutch in a little over half that time. Those handful of hours will be mostly fun hours though, and that is what counts the most.