Review: Formula Retro Racing
Earlier this year I had a chance to play Formula Retro Racing at EGX. As you can read from the preview, my eyes were instantly drawn to the graphical style which closely resembled Sega’s Virtua Racing. As the game has just been released on PlayStation, I now have a chance to take a longer look at it in the comfort of my own home.
As I fired up the game, the first thing I noticed (other than the graphics) was the big smile I had on my face as the music was playing over the attract screen. It felt as if I’d been transported back into a 90’s arcade, full of noisy brightly lit cabinets all screaming for your attention and hard-earned pocket money!
There are four types of races available from the start which include:
- Arcade – Race against the clock to reach checkpoints as you compete against CPU racers
- Grand Prix – This is a single or up to four player couch multiplayer mode
- Eliminator – You must maintain a certain position to stay in the race
- Free practice – take your time to learn each track
As you’ve probably noticed, there is no online play, but I didn’t particularly mind this, as couch multiplayer suits this type of game.
There are eight different tracks to choose, with some of them needing unlocking. You gain licence points the more you play, which make more tracks available.
You race in Formula 1 style cars which all look the same. You can choose different colours but there is no other customisation.
As you race there are also no other views, and you are stuck with the traditional chase viewpoint. Again, this didn’t really bother me, as I tend to stick to this view when I play racing games. You also can’t look around your car as you are racing.
The races themselves are a lot of fun! There is no drift mechanic, but I quickly learnt when to take my foot off the gas and when to put the pedal to the metal. Your car can take damage by hitting other racers or smashing into the walls. Take too much damage and your car explodes costing you valuable seconds before you get back into the race.
The graphics were a big selling point to me when I played the game at EGX, and they feel even more wonderful playing on my own TV! I’ve put YouTube videos of Virtua Racing and Formula Retro Racing next to each other and it’s uncanny. The biggest compliment I can pay is that Formula Retro Racing is a love letter to Sega’s arcade classic!
As you read this, you may be thinking Formula Retro Racing is light on options, and too be honest you’d be right. However, if you’re looking for a detailed racing simulation then you’re in the wrong place. Besides, games like Daytona USA, Virtua Racing and Sega Rally weren’t exactly blessed with loads of options, and as Formula Retro Racing pays homage to these games, you can’t really expect it to do anything different to what made these games so successful in the 90’s.
For me Formula Retro Racing is all about nostalgia, and for the price of a pint and packet of crisps (£4.99 to be exact on PSN) you get to reminisce about the good old days of arcade racers. If that sounds like your kind of game, then you can’t really go wrong with Formula Retro Racing.
Formula Retro Racing is available now on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC.
Review by Chris.