Developer: Sumo Digital Ltd, Lucky Mountain G
Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One (Reviewed)
Gene(s): Action, Indie, Racing
Publisher: Curve Digital
Hotshot Racing is a throwback to a genre of racing games in the 90s (Virtua Racing, Ridge Racer, and Daytona USA) when the low-polygon visual style dominated games. The underlying retro style sets the entire tone for the game. I love the retro style, the bright colours, and the arcade-style racing game that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
The game is an arcade-style drift racer, it’s high paced, bright, and full of action. It’s the opposite of the super-realistic games that have been at the fore lately. It has 16 tracks across 4 different environments which are fairly short and concise. There is an arcade mode, time trial, Grand Prix, cops & robbers, and drive or explode mode.
Hotshot Racing reminds me of a mix of Virtua Racing and Daytona USA but upgraded for the current generation of PC and consoles. The game still relies on simple card models, character models, and level models. They all have a current generation of polish to them which brings them to life. The gameplay is super simple, there is an emphasis on steering, drifting, and accelerating. On your first play, it will take you a minute or so to get used to controls if not less. There is no need to have a definitive racing line that you must take, you are left to own your devices and devise your strategy. The addition of the car boost adds to the arcade / coin-op feel.
The arcade, Grand Prix, and single race modes pit you against 7 other competitors and the winner takes all. In the case of Grand Prix mode, the driver with the most points over 4 games is the winner. These are the standard racing modes but Hotshot has two other fantastic modes – Drive or Explode and Cops & Robbers. These modes turn this arcade racer into a party game. In Cops & Robbers, you have to catch and destroy the other cars, the drive or explode mode requires you to stay above a certain speed or lose (think of the film Speed). These game modes with their chaotic nature are amazing breaks from arcade racing and will breed longevity into the game. I would have liked to see more game modes and more tracks but I think the game proposition is more than worth it without the additional game modes and tracks.
The Hotshot Racing contains a Boombastic and loud ass soundtrack that is loud and vibrant. It adds to the whole driving and racing experience. It plays homage to Ridge Racer and other arcade racers back in the 90s too. The speed of soundtrack and track changes as you progress through each race, the closer you get to complete the level, the more intense it gets building to a crescendo. The soundtrack is really well thought out and fits the game perfectly.
Hotshot Racing also has the ability of 8 players online and co-op play too. One fantastic feature that many games miss is the ability to play multiplayer locally, Hotshot Racing allows for up to 4 players to play locally or in co-op mode. The Switch allows for LAN play too. These features add another level of fun to a super enjoyable game. The ability to both play online and locally adds to the party mode and game experience too.
Hotshot Racing does a fantastic job of re-creating and improving the arcade racer. Its visuals are superb and the colours hit all the right notes. The characters, voice-overs, and general sound complement the game and make it more immersive. The addition of party games is a brilliant idea and executed superbly. The addition of more tracks and more party games is the only issue I have. The gameplay is fantastic and so easy to pick up and play. Ultimately the sense of speed and the combination of the soundtrack make this an impactful driving game.