Slipstream Review (Switch eShop) Life of Nintendo

If you’re looking for a retro race, you don’t need to look far on the Switch. Such versions of Hotshot Racing, Formula Retro Racing, Horizon Chase Turbo and Virtua Racing and Out Run versions for Sega Ages ensure that anyone who enjoys racing in vintage cars will be virtually spoiled for choice.

Slipstream is the latest game to be added to this ever-growing list, and given that other games have tried to perform an 80s-style look in the past (we’re looking at you, 80s Overdrive), its artistic style doesn’t feel particularly unique today. So luckily under what has become quite a used aesthetic, there’s still a pretty fun racing game.

The game clearly draws inspiration from 80s arcade racers such as Out Run (as well as another Sega game we’re getting to), with high-speed road racing and wild, comically long turns. However, in an attempt to diversify the case, there are several regimes, each of which takes action in a different direction.

The Grand Prix is ​​a typical situation with Mario Kart, when you have three cups consisting of many races, with points awarded depending on where you finished. The Grand Tour, meanwhile, is more like Out Run, where you need to go through five related stages in a given amount of time, and at the end of each stage the fork determines where you end up next. Next is the Cannonball, which is similar to the Grand Tour, but with more customization, allowing you to create one long race with up to 30 stages that you can choose by hand from the 15 tracks available.

As mentioned earlier, once you’re on the road, the key impact is Out Run, but it’s an interesting hybrid because, although its appearance is clearly based on the 1986 Sega original, the steering has a powerslide mechanic that is much more like its polygon continued Out Run 2.

Although you can make most of the turns by simply turning and braking where necessary to effectively go around each track, you will need to master full-fledged gliding. This is done by briefly pressing the brake button and then pressing the gas again, swinging the rear of the car. It takes a few races to get used to a full slip in Slipstream, because time is of the essence: start too early or too late and you crash into the landscape on the track (naturally flipping in the Out Run style). However, after you do it, it can be very nice to turn into a particularly steep turn, because the rear of your car barely avoids hitting many obstacles on the side of the track.

However, track design at first can be frustrating. Many trails are designed in such a way that some turns lead straight into opposite turns without warning, which means if you don’t know what they’re going on, you almost certainly won’t be able to hold the second full-fledged slide in time and crash.

This is fixed to some extent by adding a rewind button, which allows you to reverse the action for a few seconds, which then allows you to predict a turn, but in reality it is like closing the gap: you do not need to rely on the rewind system, even new to you tracks. Of course, if you study each stage, you will eventually remember that it quickly turns the lead into opposite turns, which means that over time it becomes less of a problem, but it can still be annoying for the first few hours of play.

Naturally, special mention should be made of the game’s graphics, which are handled in a cleverly efficient way, essentially trying to replicate the pseudo-3D style of Sega’s “Super Scaler” racing games such as Out Run and Super Hang-On. While the game is technically 3D and its tracks are polygonal, the machines and scenery look like flat sprites. If you watch tracks at high speed (especially when mainstream streams are activated) at a sharp rate of 60 frames per second, the effect can be really impressive. Personally, we can survive all the 80s, but if it handles well, it copes well.

One thing that struck us as particularly surprising was how Slipstream makes numerous references to the Sonic the Hedgehog series for no apparent reason. Of the 15 tracks in the game, seven have the same title as Sonic or Sonic R. stages (Chemical Factory, Ice Cap, Emerald Hills, Resort Island, etc.), while the winning cup gives you a special holiday screen where your trophy is surrounded by what can only be described as the Emeralds of Chaos. The Grand Prix race is called “Actions” (and is presented with a screensaver identical to that in 16-bit Sonic games), and the 3-2-1 countdown uses a design clearly taken from Sonic Mania.

We would understand this if Sonic was connected to the game in some way, insignificant or otherwise, but the connection is beyond speed – it’s so coincidental that this whole thing seems strangely out of place. There are weird nods here, but the links are so frequent that anyone well versed in Sonic doesn’t necessarily appreciate them: they’ll probably be distracted by them and wonder why they’re there. There’s a tribute to something, and there’s just dropping links to it in bulk for no rhyme or reason.

Music is also something like a mixed bag. This is your typical 80s-style synthesizer retro soundtrack support, but none of them pleased us in such a way that we turned up the volume on the headphones. This “safe” collection of tracks that matches the aesthetics doesn’t necessarily go beyond to create truly memorable tracks. This is one of those situations where if there was no music, her absence would be noticeable, but her presence is not noticeable.

Despite the negatives in this review, one of the main things to take from it is that, in essence, you will need to take some solid racing action once you get used to the controls and turns that arise out of nowhere. Given its reasonable price, this is a perfectly acceptable racer if you are looking for something else that will hold you back for hours.

There is also a local multiplayer with a split screen for 2-4 players, which includes almost all modes for one player (the only exception – the Grand Tour due to multiple routes). Everything still works well and smoothly on a split screen, so this is another great option for those looking for local multiplayer racing.

It may seem to us that the 80s style has been overused and that Slipstream doesn’t promote it in any great way, but the aesthetics and music obviously depend on personal taste, so your mileage may be different (so to speak). Ultimately, there’s enough work here to justify the relatively low price at which the game is sold, so you certainly won’t feel lured when you buy it.

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