Publisher: Raw Thrills
Developer: Raw Thrills
Release Date: 09/14/2021
Available Exclusively On
Arcade racing games of the 90s are long gone, but many got ported to home consoles and became living room favorites. Cruis’n USA comes to mind for the Nintendo 64. It was a thrilling fast-paced arcade game with great visuals and tracks. Cruis’n Blast emulates this perfectly but lacks content and polish.
You start out with a selection of about five real-world licensed cars. This alone kind of surprised me as licenses like these are expensive. More cars can be unlocked by getting gold in the Tour mode and finding keys hidden throughout tracks. These keys can be kind of a pain to get and aren’t placed in the best spots, but the game remembers what ones you have picked up and they unlock vehicles accumulatively. There are only five tracks in the entire game and it gets repetitive very quickly. The first three tours can be pretty exciting as there is so much going on on-screen that you can miss some things. The game emphasizes dinosaurs and natural disasters by throwing tornados, prehistoric animals, helicopter chases, police chases, and even UFO chases through each level.
The levels are a lot of fun to look at with so much color and neon popping out on screen. The levels are full of speed boosts, massive jumps and drops, and the ability to do wheelies, spins, and backflips plus you can drift to boost or use a boost canister. You get three at the start of each race, but you can buy extra with earned cash. All of this starts to fall apart a bit once you get used to each track. The drifting mechanic feels tacked on and an afterthought as most tracks don’t have crazy turns. In fact, a majority of the tracks are mostly just straight-aways. I also had issues with the upgrades as they felt trivial thanks to the awful AI. No matter how fast you go or how perfectly you drive the AI won’t let you catch up until the last part of the race. This happened over and over again and it became frustrating. I would start out with a starter boost and still be in last place until halfway through the race.
There are other issues such as janky physics. The cars bounce around like balls and the physics overall are really floaty but in a cheap way. Cars clip through the ground when they do flips and you can take down cars kind of like in Burnout, but not it’s unclear what exactly triggers a takedown. When you finish a race you get awarded cash and you can use that to buy upgrades for your car. These range from the engine to body to buying neon. However, as I stated earlier, I don’t see the point in racing these same five tracks over and over just to unlock more upgrades. Each car has five levels and it takes about three tours to fully upgrade a car so about 12 races and getting first in each one. That’s incredibly tedious. To top this tedium off there are the same five tours on other difficulties, but it doesn’t seem to change as the AI is so bad.
Overall, there is multiplayer which I recommend playing, but with so little content I don’t see a reason to play outside of the first normal tour mode. If there were double or triple the number of tracks this game would be well worth the full asking price, but the jankiness of the physics and overall afterthought in drifting and upgrades, plus the terrible AI just makes this a literal evening thrill and nothing more. It looks damn good and the stuff going on in the tracks is fun, but it lasts about as long as a piece of Juicy Fruit.