Let’s Go Cruis’n

HIGH A great blend of of real and absurd racecars.

LOW Not much variety on the racetrack.

WTF Why can’t the vehicle turn around and drive the other way!?

I have a soft spot for arcade racers. Whether sinking quarters into an old Daytona USA cabinet at the arcade or playing the home version of San Francisco Rush, there’s not many games that are more comforting to me than arcade racers. So, I was excited to hear that 2017’s Cruis’n Blast was receiving a home version, and I am happy to say I was not disappointed.

Cruis’n Blast is a port or the arcade game of the same name, which is a sequel to the classic Cruis’n series comprised of USA and World. Players zoom across 30 tracks, popping wheelies, hitting ramps, and performing drifts to gain an extra burst of speed to beat the competition. Vehicles are also equipped each race with three “Blasts” – turbo boosts that can be use at any time with the press of a button. I was hoping for pure arcade racing and found it here in spades.

The arcade tracks are all present, but the main game is played through Tour Mode. Each tour is a collection of four races. Players will experience tropical, mountain, and city locales filled with tornadoes, police cars, and even humongous yetis! Cruis’n Blast likes to be over-the-top, and the scenery is no exception.

Players begin with a small selection of vehicles and unlock the rest by winning tours, grabbing stacks of cash scattered on the racetrack, and finding keys dotted along the road. These keys add a slight exploration element to the game, and fortunately can be found in any of the race modes – tour, single race, or time trials.

The vehicles in Cruis’n Blast range from the real, like the Hummer EV or Corvette Stingray, to the absurd, like a unicorn or helicopter. Fans of the series have no need to fret, the iconic school bus is unlockable as well! Vehicles earn XP for each time they’re used in a race, unlocking neon lights, custom paint jobs, and even new engines. While I didn’t find one vehicle to have an advantage over the others (especially when its XP is maxed out) there’s a simple joy in racing as a pink triceratops.

I loved my time playing Cruis’n Blast and earned a gold medal on all tours in normal difficulty. I even went out of my way to find most of the keys that unlock the hidden vehicles, leaving only two stuck in the garage — as much as I enjoyed Cruis’n Blast, it’s not without some shortcomings.

While it boasts of 30 tracks, most are actually just remixes with a new coat of paint – one tour has dinosaurs, while another has military helicopters, while another has UFOs. There is some variety on each course, but after a few races players will start to recognize familiar bends in the road. There are also very few shortcuts or hidden paths. Most courses stretch from point A to point B, rarely allowing players to deviate from the main track.

While the keys scattered around each level are occasionally hidden, there’s not too much need for exploration – keys that aren’t out in the open will glow while hidden inside of destructible items on the racetrack. Adding just a few more shortcuts or secret areas, and more robust exploration for the keys, would go a long way in extending the gameplay.

Cruis’n Blast is great at what it does. However, there’s not much here beyond straightforward, arcade racing. While this was generally great for me, how much mileage someone will get out of it depends on how much they enjoy this relatively simple genre.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Disclosures: This game is developed and published by Raw Thrills. It is currently available on Switch.This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the Switch. Approximately 8 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode and, earning gold on all normal difficulty tours, the game was completed. Less than one hour of play was spent in multiplayer modes.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated E 10+ and contains Mild Violence. The official description from the ESRB reads as follows: This is a racing game in which players select cars, racing modes, and tracks to drive in contests of speed. Players can bump or crash into other racers, sending cars tumbling; police cars can also be driven into or taken down, resulting in slow-motion effects and fiery blasts— overtaking cars results in a better placement in the race and added points. A handful of levels depict violence in the background: helicopters shooting missiles at the track; dinosaurs biting/battling each other.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: This game does not offer subtitles. Text on menu and loading screens cannot be adjusted. There is no game dialogue, but one of the in-game songs does contain simple repeating lyrics that are not subtitled. However, music has no direct impact on gameplay. This game is fully accessible.

Remappable Controls:  No, this game’s controls are not remappable.

Brian Theisen
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