Remember Daytona USA? Used to love a bit of Outrun? Curve Digital, Sumo Digital and Lucky Mountain Games are looking to revive those glory days of the arcade racing scene with Hotshot Racing on Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch and PC. And judging by the early preview version we’ve been hands-on with, they could well be on to a bit of a winner.
Coming complete with some rather lovely minimalist, angular visuals that work really well, Hotshot Racing is due to launch on Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch and PC later in Spring 2020. When it does arrive we’ll be treated to some damn fine arcade racing that has quite obviously taken huge inspiration from the classics of yesteryear.
If you constantly hark back to a time when gaming was simple, then you may well have fond memories of that arcade racing scene, and Hotshot Racing looks set to deliver a modern day take on the elements that made it so good, taking the age-old wall-riding joy before providing a more up to date take on matters.
Foregoing the need to dedicate time to understanding the most intricate of physics, instead allowing the layman to get a hot racing fix, Hotshot Racing has huge potential. Not only does it come with a well-crafted Grand Prix mode that sees you racing against multiple opponents over a number of courses, but those industry standard staples of Single Race and Time Trial modes – with ghosts to compete against from the online world – are also present.
Whilst audio calls of ‘Time Extension’ and ‘Checkpoint’ bring back the chills of old-school racing, Hotshot Racing does also throw a few new ideas in. See, the standard race types which see the racer crossing the finish line in first place rewarded, are complemented by additional Drive or Explode and Cops N Robbers options. The latter of these requests you evade a bunch of cops and make off with all the money, or take down robbers for a big cash bonus. The former meanwhile harnesses the power of Speed – the movie – as you attempt to make checkpoints without exploding. Slow down and you’re going to be toast.
For purposes of this preview both of those latter modes were unobtainable, much like the promise of online multiplayer, for between 2-8 players. But what is in place works very well – both for the solo racer and those who have a sofa-based mate and are able to take in the 4-player local multiplayer option. As you would expect to hear, the racing is the meat and drink of Hotshot Racing, and with a variety of characters from around the world to choose from, and a number of cars with different stats and skillsets in place, there are plenty of reasons to get behind the wheel.
The racing itself plays out pretty fast too, as you take to the track and try to earn your stripes against a variety of AI opponents, bashing them out of the way and throwing your car into corners as you see fit. Even though the tracks and laps within provide fairly short, sharp, manic racing opportunities, there are a number of them to enjoy, with circuits currently split across Coast, Desert, Jungle and Mountain scenes. Inside that you’ll discover multiple layouts within each of those, as both normal and mirrored races further increase the race types.
With drifting and slipstreaming playing just as big a part in your success as how hard you can keep your foot on the throttle, building up boost levels in the process, this really is proper old arcade racing at its best. I cannot wait to see how Curve Digital, Sumo Digital and Lucky Mountain Games continue to flesh out the good bits. Just give us more tracks and all will be good in the world.
To top it all off, a Raceshop lets you unlock and buy new race suits for the 8 characters currently in place – with them coming from the world over. Similarly, there are options to amend the different cars each character uses; all can be slightly modified by using in-game cash or by completing specific race challenges – you know, drifting for a certain amount of time or winning a specific race in a certain car. If this does one thing alone, it’s sure to raise the replayability levels of Hotshot Racing.
Currently set for launch later this spring, my considerable hands-on time with the game has certainly whetted the appetite for more. I can’t wait to see where further development ideas take this arcade hotshot, and there is every chance this could be the go-to arcade racer for fans to embrace as we move forward.
Massive thanks go out to Curve Digital for providing access to Hotshot Racing on Xbox One. We’ll be sure to keep you fully updated as to how development for Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch and PC goes in the weeks and months ahead. If you prefer the PC route, then you can currently wishlist the game on Steam.