DAYTO….oops wrong game!
Title: Hotshot Racing
Platform: Nintendo Switch (reviewed), PC, PS4, and Xbox One
Developer: Lucky Mountain Games
Publisher: Curve Digital
Release date: Out Now
tl;dr: Love letter to SEGA’s racers
Price: £16 / $20
Family Focus: Click here for more information.
Hotshot Racing is a straight forward racing game where players need to reach the pole position to win. The game features a handful of modes such as Grand Prix, Time Trial, Cops and Robbers and Drive or Explode. There’s also a Single Race mode where you can do, well, a single race. Every mode, except Time Trial (obviously), lets up to four-player play local split-screen and eight-player online. The game features 16 challenging circuits across a bevvy of environments such as alpine, desert and jungle.
As mentioned above, Hotshot Racing features a handful of game modes to keep players busy. The first being Grand Prix mode which is akin to the Mario Kart series where you select a GP and each includes four circuits to conquer. After each race, depending on your position, you earn points. The racer with the most points after the four races wins. The time trial is pretty self-explanatory; do your best time on a selected circuit.
Under Single Race, you can also play Cops and Robbers. After selecting your character and vehicle, you’ll be dropped into a race where half of the racers will be cops. As a robber, you need to pick up cash around on the circuit while trying to evade the cops. The other robbers will also attempt to ram you and destroy you. If you can’t survive as a robber, you’ll become a cop and will need to hunt down the remaining robbers.
Then we have Drive and Explode. This mode requires players to keep going fast; think of this as a Speed (the movie) inspired mode. If you go under the specified speed limit, you’ll explode after a few seconds. The more you progress through the race, the required speed will increase and other racers will ram into you and slow you down.
Hotshot Racing’s gameplay is dependant on drifting. As you drift, you’ll fill out your boost meter which can be used at crucial times in the race; especially when it comes down to the wire during the final lap.
While the game is great fun and easy to pick up and play, the main problem is the A.I.. The opposing racers are insanely aggressive and will ram into you every chance they get in order to get you to go down back to the last place. You’d think the developer was actually working on a Destruction Derby spiritual sequel and half-way through development, they switched it to a standard racing game. It’s especially obvious when playing Cops and Robbers are your vehicle’s health drops insanely fast.
Another gripe is that, after selecting your character, you can choose one of their rides. While they have their strengths and weaknesses, but unfortunately, they don’t really much bearing on the race, even if you pick the car with the highest speed stat, you’ll struggle to keep pole position even on the easiest difficulty setting which is Normal.
Another gripe, while not major, in each races’ laps, you have to reach each checkpoint within the allotted time. While it’s a nice touch and great homage to classic racers such as OutRun, it does feel a bit out of place given you’re racing other racers in order to reach the top position. And given the A.I.’s aggressive behavior, it can be harder than it should to reach the checkpoint in time.
Hotshot Racing looks great. It features a unique and classic visual style that can be reminiscent of the classic SEGA racing game Virtua Racing. Each circuit is uniquely designed and highly colorful. The soundtrack was upbeat and interesting, albeit quite forgettable. I wish I could say more about the soundtrack, but it’s drowned out by car engines and the driver’s one line quip.
Hotshot Racing is a breath of fresh air in a time where we’re flooded with racing simulators. It is a fast-paced, pedal to the metal racer which requires quick reflexes and skilful drifting. It’s the ideal arcade racer to play between the bevvy of the racing sim. It’s a bit light on content and the A.I. can be over the top aggressive, but the whole thing works. Easy to pick up and play, hard to master. Don’t miss it.
- Easy to pick up and play.
- Great classic visuals.
- The A.I. is overly aggressive.
- Can’t save mid-Grand Prix.
- Light on content and depth.
Hotshot Racing is rated E for Everyone and PEGI7 due to the presence of mischief violence; other racers will do their darnest to ram you off the circuit.
This review is based on a review copy of the game provided by the publisher