As any regular readers/watchers will know, I’m a big fan of colourful, bright, and friendly games. My favourites are rooted in my childhood, and Hotshot Racing has managed to bound right into that happy place and come out with everything I adore. I friggin’ love this game.
Hotshot Racing is an ode to the golden era of arcade gaming. It takes away the pretension and just dumps 1998 right onto your screen with polygonal graphics, a high-tempo electronic soundtrack, and a very cheery fella doing the in-race voice overs. It’s like Ridge Racer and every SEGA arcade racing game have been melted down and rebuilt using the gooey goodness. It’s fantastic.
Racing isn’t easy, mind you, and while the game definitely looks like the video-game embodiment of an approachable friend, it’s deviously tricky and at times frustrating. And yet I still enjoyed every second of it.
The game’s split into several modes. You can play the classic GP events where you’ll race across four themed levels to try to win the trophy and get rewarded with a little character cutscene at the end, or you can play the mini-game modes. Cops and Robbers, where you’re either running from the law or working as one of them. This mode is great fun, and my little boy and I have spent far too much time playing this mode together.
Another mode has you racing until you explode. You have to keep your finger on the trigger and stay above a certain set speed, otherwise, your car will lose health over time. Go too slow for too long, and you’ll be blowing up out of the race. Again, this is great fun and adds a bit of tension to an otherwise jolly game.
And finally, there’s Time Trial mode, which is exactly what it sounds like. Time trials…
Progression is tracked through money that you earn from races. While you can’t spend this money on upgrading cars, you can use it to alter their appearance, if that’s your kind of thing. There’s a roster of playable characters, too, and each of them come with four car classes which can be changed up to your liking, using the money you’ve collected. It’s not necessarily deep, nor required, but it’s nice to have something to be playing for once you’ve finished the GP races, which isn’t an easy task on the harder settings.
On the normal difficulty, I had great fun chasing the other racers and rushing to the checkpoints. With this proper old-school mechanic, you’re running two races at the same time. You’re competing with the aggressive A.I that has no problem sending you into a spin to get ahead, and you’re racing the clock, too. But aren’t we all racing the clock? DEEP THOUGHTS.
There’s nothing particularly outstanding about the gameplay or the game modes. It’s not doing anything we haven’t seen before. In fact, it’s doing everything we have seen before, but to the highest possible standards, and that’s what makes Hotshot Racing a must-play game in my book. Everything is polished to a high sheen, from the responsive controls, the heavy drifts around corners, to the detailed tracks, all of which are busy with life and don’t fall victim to cardboard cutouts.
For your money, you’re getting a fair amount of content with over a dozen tracks, including their mirrored versions, and a handful of game modes. Single-player was enough for me, but there is an online mode if you want to play with friends or strangers, which should give the game some longevity, providing it gets that initial player base. Plus, this game is a steal at the low price it’s releasing for.
At this point, I’ve put in over a dozen hours into Hotshot Racing and I’m more than confident in saying that you must play this game if you have any interest in racing games. Heck, even if you don’t, give it a go and you might be surprised. It’s accessible but challenging, and a real reminder of my days as a kid, wandering the arcades. All I need now to make the nostalgia trip complete is a steering wheel with cigarette burn marks, and a vibrating bucket seat stinking of piss. To some, that may sound like hell, but those were fun times, just like Hotshot Racing.
Hotshot Racing PS4 Review
Overall - Must Play - 9/10
Hotshot Racing is pure fun, and that’s something I can always get behind. It’s good fun for all ages, but I suspect the older generation will look on Hotshot Racing with a little more love in their eyes than the clueless kids of today.
- Great gameplay that’s easy to get stuck into, but with depth and complexion
- The polygonal graphics are amazingly clean and look great
- The Cops and Robbers game mode is stupidly fun and great for couch multiplayer sessions
- Loads of tracks, cars, and characters
- Urine-soaked bucket racing seat not included.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.