Our Rating: 5.5/10
Hotshot Racing is a retro racing game developed by Sumo Digital and Lucky Mountains, distributed by Curve Digital. Its proposal is to bring the feeling that we had 20 or so years ago with games like Top Gear and F-Zero, but with unprecedented gameplay and customization elements.
Hotshot Racing takes us back to the moments we spent in the arcades with the first 3D racing arcades like Virtua Racing, Ridge Racer, or Daytona USA.
Hotshot Racing is not very complex. There are basically five modes: Grand Prix, Race, Against Time, Drive or Explode, and Police and Thief. All can be played online with eight people, or split-screen with up to four people. In the first mode, there are four major prizes on tracks with varied themes, ranging from Casinos to Dinosaurs. Before starting the mode, we must choose a pilot from the list available. Each of them has a little story behind it. This correlates with the “personality” of the driver during each race.
As an example, one of the characters, Alexa, is the daughter of a mechanic who dreamed of seeing her working with him. However, she decides to go running and see the world in search of recognition.
We have at our disposal 16 fictional tracks (the coast, the desert, jungle, or mountains). The objective is not only to arrive first, but to avoid a constant countdown from eliminating us. This reminds us of the feeling of having to insert another coin.
Then we have a series of internal challenges for each character and vehicle. For the most part, this will allow you to unlock different aesthetic modifications for racing cars. However, it is not something that affects their performance. It is something that does not offer many attractions.
Driving has very simple mechanics. Step on the accelerator fully and avoid hitting any obstacle to get to the checkpoint before time runs out. But that is not enough to win the races. Like the classic Ridge Racer, driving is all about skid control. We must turn and use a counter-steering wheel to lengthen these skids as much as possible without stopping accelerating and with a touch on the brake our car skidding around the curves.
There are two arcade elements that add to this control system. The first of them is the fast exit. This is done by keeping the accelerator pressed from a moment of the start count. Just be careful, if you go over, you will have a penalty at the start.
The other aspect is the slipstream. Placing yourself behind another driver gives you an extra boost. This also serves to increase your turbo bar. For the most part, it is convenient to stay in second or third place in the race until the last lap. Then, take advantage of the turbo you accumulated and leave behind the other racers.
The GOOD, the BAD, and the OVERALL GAMING EXPERIENCE
It is not possible to analyze the stories and themes of the characters in Hotshot Racing. Mainly because they are simply insufficient. The context given to us during the game is so short. Hence, we end up not knowing anything about our characters.
When we win the Grand Prix, a small cutscene presents a kind of ending for your driver. The big issue is that it is also very short and does not vary from one Grand Prix to the next. In other words, the idea that the developers had to try to make racing more personal, creating a connection between the player and the drivers, completely goes down the drain. This is because there was simply no investment in developing the stories.
The entire race depends on performing drifts in the corners. The steering is so tricky. It simply becomes impossible to complete the tracks without giving completely unnecessary drifts in every corner.
In theory, a skid takes away your speed. Meanwhile, in Hotshot Racing, it helps us fill a turbo bar. In addition, you can combine drift and turbo (when leaving the curve) to achieve a perfect maneuver).
The highlight of the game without a doubt is its soundtrack and graphics. The models and runways, despite consisting of giant polygons, have a well-done art direction. All the stages have contrasts that draw attention in every corner. The scenarios are beautiful, even if they don’t make sense at times. Another visual point that is interesting is the option to use a camera inside the cockpit. This is somewhat unusual in games of the same graphic style, and it ended up being a welcome addition.
The soundtrack is typical of racing games inspired by the classics of the 90s. The game has fast-paced music, with beats made in order to increase your adrenaline when playing. The game uses Audiowise’s technology to bring all the sounds that happen to life. In fact, it is strongly recommended that the game be played with a headset. After all, it is a strong point of the game. It stands out in your ears and overshadows the negative points.
Hotshot Racing offers just what was expected: a good alternative for fans of more arcade speed. It’s far from the classics it pays tribute to, but it’s not too worrying either. The character stories, customization options, and alternative game modes are pretty weak. Nonetheless, if you just want to sit on the couch, enjoy good graphics and listen to a nostalgic soundtrack, maybe Hotshot Racing will please you.
Like the classic arcades, Hotshot Racing is a lot of fun, fast and spectacular. However, it lacks depth and its catalog of tracks and cars is soon sold out. It is a game whose experience depends on the memories that we treasure from the arcades of the 90s.
You can get this game on Steam and available for PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.