There’s no doubt a great deal of nostalgia in the arcade racing community for the late 80s and early 90s games like OutRun, Daytona USA, the Cruis’n series, and some others as well. To date the Switch has been blessed with some solid riffs on those formulas to varying success, but with a few stand-outs in the space that roughly show the high water mark the rest are trying to meet or exceed. Slipstream, definitely feeling more inspired by the look and general feel of OutRun makes a valiant attempt to both recapture some of that nostalgia as well as provide its own spin on things, but given a few struggles in critical areas it never really manages to set itself up at the front of the pack. The main issue I ended up having was with the control, specifically with the drifting, at least when trying to use manual mode. In principle it makes sense, you brake a little before starting your skid, but it just never felt consistent or natural to me. In particular the turns had a tendency to feel slippery to me somehow, especially if I would try slowing down to try to keep from going off the track, trying to pick speed back up in the turn just made for a mess and really didn’t even make much sense. Turning it over to automatic things improved immensely, resulting in something more akin to OutRun’s pretty loose style, but mechanically everything suddenly seemed to work as I’d expect, if nothing else underlining the weird feelings I’d had with manual mode. The slipstreaming mechanic I also found more annoying than helpful since you don’t accumulate boost you can hold and use strategically, instead it just kicks in when you get enough. The issue I had was when this would happen pretty often in big turns, making it more of a nuisance than a help. With all of that in mind the game’s greatest strength is probably the variety of modes you can participate in, including a Cannonball Run style mode that lets you control traffic you’ll encounter (though honestly this didn’t feel like it made a tremendous difference) and a few other variations. All things considered I’d say this lands somewhere in the middle of the pack for indie racers on the system, failing to inspire real love but also not falling so far short as to be brushed off. I’d still say there are a few titles out there worth picking up first, but if you’ve exhausted those and are craving another retro racer with some patience this one has some decent gameplay to enjoy.
Justin Nation, Score: