Quick-Look Review: Hotshot Racing – Glorious Old-School Arcade Racing! (Game Pass)
[SCORES NOT FINAL – REVIEW IN PROGRESS]
Hotshot Racing captures almost everything I ever loved about playing racing games back in the day. It’s fun, smooth and offers up some good content to keep you busy for ages. We absolutely recommend that you check it out!
Review – Available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
This past week saw the release of Hotshot Racing on Game Pass, and boy, oh boy… it’s so damn awesome. As one of the best love letters to old-school racers like Outrun, Virtua Racer, Ridge Racer and even Need for Speed 2 + 3, it’s unbelievable how well they’ve captured the essence of everything that made those games great. The low-polygon graphics manage to somehow look old and retro, and yet the visuals are stunningly vibrant and crisp. It also really helps that it runs smooth as butter even on a launch Xbox One.
It’s so on-the-money that you’re playing something brand new and yet you feel like you’ve maybe seen the tracks before somewhere, or selected that driver-character in another game. It carries so much spirit of the games it draws from that there’s no doubt that this team (who brought you the newer Outrun games last generation) really have passion and deep knowledge of the genre.
The gameplay is fast, easy to pick up and relies mostly on drifting to build up boost… and then well, boosting. In normal racing modes, slipstreaming/drafting is everything, and also offers a great way to keep the pack together as you constantly hunt down the cool little wind effects around cars to get sucked into their draft.
There are 3 modes in total: Racing, Cops & Robbers and a Survival mode that requires you to keep up your health while also keeping up with a constantly rising minimum speed.
Split-screen is a load of fun and the game offers online modes as well, and with Game Pass putting this game in the hands of so many people, it shouldn’t be too tough to convince your pals to hook up for some online fun.
Vast and Various
The game comes with 16 gorgeous tracks that definitely feel like throwbacks to Virtua Racing’s coastal tracks, Need for Speed’s tracks and more. In true old-school fashion you can race them in mirror mode too. You have the choice of 8 different drivers, many of which are inspired by characters from the past such as Hulk Hogan and James Bond, and I’m pretty sure one of them is Bolo from Bloodsport.
Now what I really love is that each driver comes with 4 unique cars, and these two are very obvious but awesome versions of existing cars.
When Life Gives You Le Mans…
As a long-time motorsports and car fan, the cars are perfect non-official versions of some of the best cars from racing, film and gaming history. I love that the Supra is called a “Furious”, and that if you pick a car that looks a lot like a Porsche, there are colour options that harken back to some really famous liveries associated with the car. The variety of cars rocks, and range from road cars, to race cars, supercars and even an F1 car (can’t have that Virtua Racing experience without it).
Even better is that while this could change down the line, car designs and cosmetics such as bumpers, hoods, wings etc are all unlocked by actually playing with the cars, and in-game money is used to buy some alternate outfits or upgrades as well. Upon finishing races you also see progress bars that you can work towards. It’s gaming fun the way we used to love it.
Hotshot Racing seems to nail it where it counts, and we’re just so thrilled that it’s on Game Pass. Get some friends to download it and go have some fun!