80s arcade throwback racing is absolutely a genre I can get behind, as someone who was playing them before I could get behind a wheel for real I spend a lot of time with them. While the likes of Outrun and some of its contemporaries have a very specific look and feel to them there was also a pretty simple but effective design to their tracks and format as well. In the case of 80s Overdrive there’s no doubt the developers were inspired by these titles, and they absolutely nail some aspects of it, though they struggle in some others. When it comes to visuals there’s no doubt they took great care in getting it right, and through a variety of environments and conditions their effort shows. It has that classic look but enhances it quite a bit in a few areas and their diligence is admirable. Where things struggle a bit has more to do with the stages themselves, the flow of racing, and your rivals. The track layouts can just be odd, perhaps a bit over-long, and tend to have stretches that are just a bit dull. As you progress the move to tighter roads ups the ante a bit but there’s not that classic sort of flow with normal turns and then that one or two big turns you had to be ready for kicking into low gear for. Then there’s the cars on the road. The other cars often aren’t in lanes, inexplicably change multiple lanes at random, and just don’t make a ton of sense. Perhaps nothing makes this more clear than trying to get started where it isn’t unusual for your competitors to bump into each other and get stopped right in front of you when the race starts. Whether by accident or design things like this really detract from the fun and hold back the nostalgic experience from being complete.
Justin Nation, Score: