If there’s one thing arcade aficionados can agree on, it’s that SEGA was behind some of the best arcade racers of the 90s. Cribbing notes from some of the greatest quarter munchers this side of Chuck E. Cheese, Repixel8’s Formula Retro Racing is a love letter to the genre. Does it manage to keep up, or do other offerings leave it in the dust?

Formula Retro Racing Review

Those who have ever gotten behind the wheel of a Virtua Racing or Daytona cabinet will instantly feel right at home with this title. Realism is for the birds – rather, the name of the game is pure arcade racing where the scenery is vivid, the competition is fierce, and the handling is loose. From the checkpoints that grant time extensions to the enthusiastic announcer to even the multiple viewing angles, Formula Retro Racing wears its inspiration on its sleeve.

Everything is certainly in place for an arcade racer – players can choose from eight varied tracks, pick between manual and automatic transmission, and even choose the difficulty of their rivals. Thankfully, the action of Formula Retro Racing manages to keep the pace. Racing in packs of 20, all while passing up cutthroat rivals and nailing sharp turns is a thrilling feeling. There is an ebb and flow to all courses, and track memorization paired with quick reflexes hits all the right notes.

It’s just a shame that the collision detection can be somewhat lacking. Hitting another car, though a rarity, can either cause complete and utter destruction or a swerve out of control – it’s a 50/50 shot. In addition, recouping momentum after these moments can feel somewhat odd – things feel perfectly fine when in motion, but continuing from a standstill is like treading water. Though this is not a dealbreaker, it happens just enough times to become an annoyance.

Along the way, players will earn points based on their performance in each race. Those that take on higher difficulty settings can net themselves more points, so it pays to take on some extra challenge along the way. These points can then be used to unlock additional tracks – though we were able to access everything in around an hour, we still appreciate the gesture nonetheless.

Outside of the main Arcade mode, players can also jump into Eliminator, which has players striving to stay near the front of the pack. Each lap speeds up the competition, and it can be an absolute thrill when trying to hold your position. A Free Practice mode is also available that allows players to practice alone on any track.

Though there are no achievements in this title, there are a number of leaderboards that keep track of overall points and the best times on each track. There are some serious racers out there, and though there are not too many names (we placed around 100 points-wise), it is still a welcome feature that will no doubt appeal to arcade enthusiasts.

Formula Retro Racing is a true love letter to SEGA’s arcade racers of old, nearly nailing the landing. Though the collision detection leaves something to be desired, those who have fond memories of blue, blue skies will enjoy racing in its low-poly world.

This review of Formula Retro Racing was done on the PC. The game was purchased digitally.
Formula Retro Racing Review

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