“CRUUUUUUUUUISSS’N, COME ON WE’RE CRUISSS’N. CRUUUUUUUUUISSS’N, COME ON WE’RE CRUIS’N. LET’S GO! CRUIS’N! LET’S GO! CRUIS’N!”[End of the review]
Okay… so you’re probably going to want a little bit more than just the lyrics to the dangerously catchy main theme music of Cruis’n Blast in order to get an idea of just whether this game is for you. On a totally unrelated note, though, the song is awesome.
As a big fan of the arcades, Cruis’n Blast is a refreshing breath of fresh air, it being based on the 2017 arcade release injected with a whole host of new tracks, cars and other extras. Cruis’n Blast is a racer focused on driving fast through increasingly over the top tracks complete with explosions, tornados and plenty more. It’s a game that places thrills above everything else with the actual handling of your vehicles (I use that term lightly and you’ll see why further down the review) kept nice and simple and the tracks themselves designed with spectacle and speed in mind over hairpin turns and complex layouts. That’s not a bad thing though, as with everything going on around you, not to mention the other racers, ramps and simple but enjoyable drifting mechanics you’ll rarely find a moment to find yourself bored. It’s a wild beast that brought to mind memories of the criminally underrated Excite Truck and its even better and wilder sequel Excitebots: Trick Racing. You can’t get better praise than that.
The tracks themselves will take you across the globe to locations like London and Singapore with signature landmarks littered throughout each. London for example will see the London Eye rolling throughout the city streets while a race through Death Valley steers you through a plane graveyard as an earthquake occurs. While the game does technically offer 29 tracks total, many will overlap when it comes to location and even the track itself with the differences often being the disaster that happens to be going on as you race be it hurricane, storm or alien invasion. Despite that, the game does still manage to squeeze a good amount of variety into its environments taking you through beaches, icy caves, neon-lit cities and more.
While the original five tracks from the arcade version are included, a large bulk of the game takes place within its Cruis’n Tour mode, essentially your Mario Kart-style Grand Prix. With six cups and three varying difficulties, there’s a good amount to sink your teeth into with the hardest difficulties proving surprisingly tough. Time trial and single race round off the package with local multiplayer for up to four players being a welcome bonus. While yes it would have been nice to see an online option (or even leaderboards), the game is arguably at its best with three friends in tow all jostling for pole position.
When it comes to unlockables, one might argue these are even crazier than the tracks themselves. As well as actual cars, you’ll also unlock helicopters, tanks, dinosaurs and even flying unicorns. You heard right; you’ll be able to race as a flying unicorn. These are gradually unlocked and purchasable with cash earned in-game as you find keys on each track (you’ll find three on each) offering further incentive to return to past races. Racing in cars/animals will also earn experience which then unlocks extras like neon lights, decals and body kit parts. Small upgrades but at the very least they offer a sense of working toward something with every race.
Cruis’n Blast may not be the cleanest looking game, but that’s certainly helped by the sheer quantity of… things happening on screen at once. Rarely is there ever a moment where the track isn’t falling apart or something landing in your path or an explosion occurring somewhere. The bright and colourful palette, too, gives everything a vibrant and exciting feel. Then of course there’s the theme music. Trust me, that song will be stuck in your head for weeks.
The arcade racing subgenre isn’t as buoyant as it once was with new examples few and far between so it’s always exciting when one does drift into view and delivers thrills in high doses. Cruis’n Blast is a truly wild ride of a game packed with plenty of fun and equally wild extras. It’s simple but electrifying and during a time where games are vying to offer season passes, realistic physics and always online experiences it’s truly welcome and refreshing to come across a game that just wants to be an old-school great time.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Raw Thrills