There’s just something about a low-poly racer. Running the total opposite route to the behemoths of the racing scene – you know, the likes of Forza and Gran Turismo – the simplicity that the low-poly visual nature allows ensures the chance for smaller devs to be able to provide racing fans with options.
That was the case when Formula Retro Racing arrived on the grid back in May of 2020, as the micro indie devs at Repixel8 managed to stump up a decent racer, one that excelled in the handling model and track variety, let down by a lack of features and some terrible music.
But now Repixel8 are back and come December we’ll be seeing a release of Formula Retro Racing: World Tour on Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo Switch, with a PC release popping up on Steam in the new year. It’s a game that has been inspired by SEGA Rally, by Riiiiiiidge Raaaaaacer and by Virtua Racer; thanks to Repixel8 we’ve been hands-on with a PC preview build for a few weeks now. It’s given us a chance to take a look at how World Tour builds out and finds a place in the Formula Retro Racing garage.
Made in Unity, Formula Retro Racing: World Tour immediately screams old-school. From the opening menu splash screens to the delicate-looking but detailed visuals, this is something that will certainly appeal to gamers of a certain vintage. For us, it’s a type of game that we grew up with, racing from the mid-80’s right up the current day. It brings back a ton of memories – memories which are dragged to the fore as soon as we hit the track.
Formula Retro Racing: World Tour comes with a few different game modes, covering Arcade, Grand Prix and Eliminator bases, whilst a Free Practice will allow you the chance to try and hone your skills across whatever course you deem fit. A few different camera modes help with this and whilst we much prefer the in-cockpit view that really does hammer home the basic visuals of World Tour to a huge degree, a couple of external views are also present. Honestly though, you need to be playing your racers sat right behind the wheel and it’s there in which Formula Retro Racing works best.
Manual and auto boxes are in place, ensuring that both bases are covered there too, but aside from that Formula Retro Racing: World Tour plays pretty well. It’s certainly not a game in which you can throw your car into the corners, and you’ll need to be delicate on the brakes as much as the throttle, steering clear of barriers and rumble strips as you go, but on the whole, slamming the throttle and tearing around a host of tracks is good fun.
Powered by a pumping soundtrack and the screech of an engine, the audio that is currently present is going to be a bit marmite, but we don’t mind it, trying to utilise the screams to aid with immersion.
Once you’ve got to grips with how this 60fps racer runs, the proper game modes will be of interest. There’s nothing overly special about these, but veteran racers will be appreciative of them nonetheless. Each do as you would expect, the Arcade letting you pick track types, difficulty levels, a specific car from a couple that are in place and a host of colours. From there, nail it, setting best times and wotnot. Before doing it all over again. And again.
The Eliminator does much the same (in fact, most of Formula Retro Racing: World Tour does similar), tasking you with keeping out of last spot as a timer counts down, whilst Grand Prix should allow for full multiplayer action come full release.
Formula Retro Racing: World Tour gets its name from the eight different cities that Repixel8 have included here and that means there’s a decent amount of tracks present. We’ve been limited to just a few – London, Rome and Montreal – but further tracks should open up as the game launches on Xbox, PlayStation, Switch and PC. When it does, we’ve got some decently high hopes for how this racer will integrate itself into our lives, with the promise of slipstreaming, apex-kissing and throttle-management all being key parts to the success of your racing needs.
We’re not sure that Formula Retro Racing: World Tour is going to go fully global, but there should be enough about the World Tour add-on to build out the initial structure put in place via the original Formula Retro Racing. Keep an eye out for a full review around the time of release on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PS5 and Nintendo Switch. It’s looking like this one will roll up to its grid spot around December 14th 2022, with a PC launch happening on Steam in 2023 – possibly around March.
Edit: 21/11/22 – Repixel8 have now pushed the console release back to Easter 2023.
Huge thanks go out to Repixel8 for giving us access to Formula Retro Racing: World Tour on PC in order to take in this preview.