Players, start your engines
The likes of Forza Horizon might give you photo-realistic sports cars and eye-poppingly vast courses to speed around. But for retro enthusiasts, all that is for naught: a throwback 16-bit racing game where every nostalgic detail has been lovingly recreated is where it’s at — and Super Arcade Racing is just that. Here are five reasons you should play this fun, old-skool racer from UK-based studio OutOfTheBit.
For arcade authenticity
Super Arcade Racing definitely captures that retro arcade-style of gameplay. With cars effortlessly hopping over sheer drops and gaining speed boosts from strategically placed chevrons, realism takes a back seat here — and it’s all the better for it. You have just two buttons, one for acceleration, one for the brakes (making it ideal for mobile). Just because the controls are simple enough to pick up and play, doesn’t mean it’s all an easy ride; you’ve still got hairpin turns to take, booby traps to dodge and rival drivers to watch out for. Play in story mode for the entertaining backstory and difficult curve, or plump for various challenge modes if you just want to dip in and out. There are bosses to beat, and hidden off-the-map tracks to discover — loads of throwback fun for nostalgia connoisseurs.
For the graphics
Super Arcade Racing is full of colourful pixel art, from the menu screen to the race tracks. Super Cars, Hot Rod, Micro Machines: the iconic look of those beloved ‘80s and ‘90s racing games has been carefully emulated by the OutOfTheBit team using a custom-built graphics engine. You’ll race in a range of locations, be it bendy inner-city streets, muddy tree-lined tracks or skiddy iced-over roads. But all the courses have the same 16-bit charm, and the 2D, top-down view gives you that authentic arcade feel. The story-mode cut scenes also feature plenty of stylish pixel artwork to admire, so resist the temptation to skip.
To customise your ride
You’ve got one car to work with in Super Arcade Racing, but the endless customisation options let you transform it into something entirely your own. The in-game garage is where you can buy new parts, whether you want to enhance performance or fuss over cosmetics. This is where you can spend your hard-earned race winnings on standing out from the pack. Supe up your engine, upgrade your wheels, enhance your brakes or totally change chassis. It’s all up to you.
For the synth soundtrack
16-bit graphics call for a 16-bit soundtrack. Super Arcade Racing boasts over 50 minutes of original synth-heavy music, composed by OutOfTheBit’s in-house sound designer, Simon Haines. There are plenty of up-tempo jams with frenetic, bit-crushed drums, just to ramp up the tension when you’re vying for first place, but also more low-key moody numbers coinciding with key moments in the story. It’s all wonderfully Sega Mega Drive. Oh, and of course, individual bosses get their own theme tunes.
To compete online
When you’re not beating the 60 levels of story mode, why not take the street racing online? Multiplayer mode on the mobile version of Super Arcade Racing lets you challenge a second player to a head-to-head race, proving who’s Stig and who’s a dud. Meanwhile on the Steam version, you can compete against up to four players.