Those of us who grew up plunking quarters down at the arcade most likely know of the Cruis’n series of arcade racers. These were over-the-top racing games that you usually sat in and controlled with a steering wheel and pedal. Racing in these games was usually far more exciting than any other racing simulator thanks in part to the outrageous cars, ridiculous speeds, and insane areal jumps that the series is known for. I will admit though that even though I liked the series, I haven’t played one in years, not since the N64 days. Anyways, we’re finally back to one of the most exciting racing series ever with the latest installment by Raw Thrills, Cruis’n Blast for the Nintendo Switch.
Like the classic Cruis’n games, Cruis’n Blast features 29 crazy tracks, 23 upgradeable vehicles, and support for 4-player multiplayer – either on the same console or on separate consoles via local network play. While previous games featured vehicles inspired by real-life counterparts, Cruis’n Blast actually has licensed vehicles included. For the most part, these licensed vehicles look pretty realistic and don’t have exaggerated features. I know there’s a lot of us who get turned off by racing games with fake cars so it’s cool that Cruis’n Blast has real ones.
However, Cruis’n Blast does make these cars a bit more exciting with the ability to upgrade their performance as well as their looks. The upgrades include neons, decals, body kits, and a new engine. You can also paint the car as well as add an additional nitrous burst. You’ll have to earn money to install these upgrades though, so just do well in the races and you’ll be fine.
Money in the game is earned when you complete a race with a good time, place in the top three, do stunts, drifts, and takedowns. You can also find money pickups while you race for bonus cash. Like I stated above, money is used for upgrades so you’ll want to do your best if you want to customize.
Speaking of racing, the racing here is still very much an arcade racer and not a sim. Like the previous games, there’s an exaggerated sense of speed here where it looks like you’re going a million miles per hour. Not only that, but when you hit your nitrous boost, you’ll go even faster. Racing in Cruis’n Blast is also a full-contact even so racing isn’t entirely fair. You can bump enemies into walls and wipe them out or even boost into them to do the same. However, like Mario Kart, the CPU seems to cheat and can catch up to you in an instant so you need to stay on your toes. The best way to keep up speed is to drift into turns and build up a quick boost because you only have three or four nitrous bursts during the game, so you’ll want to conserve them as best you can. Also, look out for speed-boosting ramps you can use to also gain a quick burst.
I will say that racing isn’t quite as easy as it would seem, mainly due to the CPU being a little suspicious like I mentioned above. Also with the harder difficulty settings, it gets harder to place in the top three so be aware of that. I’d start off on normal or easy just to get used to all the mechanics first and to at least make money to unlock more cars and upgrades.
Aside from the gameplay, Cruis’n Blast looks pretty darn good on Nintendo Switch. The cars look very true to their real-life counterparts, although they stay a bit too clean and shiny throughout the races. The environments and tracks are pretty good looking too and won’t disappoint fans of the series. The lighting too is very well done where you’ll see tons of lighting effects with your boosts, takedowns, and explosions. The music is also pretty exciting and does help with the whole ambiance of the game.
In terms of modes, there are actually four modes of play for a single player. There’s the Cruis’n Tour, Classic Arcade, Time Trials, and Single Race. Cruis’n Tour is basically campaign mode with all new levels. Classic Arcade lets you play all the levels from the original arcade game. Time Trials let you replay all the levels by yourself to try and get the best time. Single Race just lets you play a single-level race. What’s good about all these modes is that each lets you earn money as well as collect keys on each level to unlock new cars. On the multiplayer side of things, you can compete with 2, 3, or 4-players on the same console or you can set up local play with another console nearby.
So is Cruis’n Blast worth your money? If you’re a fan of the series, that’s a yes. Even those new to the series should pick it up as it is a solid arcade racer that doesn’t take itself too seriously. This is a racing game that even casual players can really get into without having to worry about all the intricate details that more simulation-style racers require. I also like the way the game handles unlocks. Basically, you can earn money in any game mode, and keys you collect on each level stay collected, this way you only have to worry about the keys you’re missing. That’s a big plus in my book because with a fast-paced racer like this, you don’t have the luxury of trying to win and collect some of these hard-to-get keys at the same time all in one run.
With that said, Cruis’n Blast is a blast to play and if you want a fun, arcade-style racer, this is the game for you.
Received game from developer and/or publisher for coverage purposes.
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