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Hotshot Racing review – the 90s arcade racing game reimagined

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September 09, 2020 at 01:10PM

IK Multimedia's T-RackS 5

PC, PS4 (version tested), Xbox One, Nintendo Switch; Lucky Mountain/Sumo Games/Curve Digital
Feel the polygonal burn as super-speed graphics bring old-fashioned car chases a fresh thrill

Scorching blue skies, snaking roads, crudely animated spectators: Hotshot Racing really knows its arcade racing staples. This exercise in pure, unapologetic nostalgia is a loving tribute to early 1990s driving games such as Ridge Racer, Virtua Racing and Daytona USA, with a flat-shaded polygonal art style, primary colour cityscapes and overexcited voiceovers that perfectly recall that heady era of coin-up design.

A single-player Grand Prix mode puts you though progressively tougher circuits and competitions that comprise joyous remixes of much-loved Namco and Sega raceways, the background scenery filled with fairground rides, skyscrapers and ocean views. One minute you’re hurtling through a city with trains zooming past, the next you’re on a mountain pass swerving between ski lodges. For gamers of a certain age, much of the fun is in spotting specific retro references – a ferris wheel here, a whale diving over the racetrack there – while attempting to keep up with the savagely competitive pack.

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