An outrageous and anarchic throwback racer built for people allergic to brake buttons, Cruis’n Blast is a goofy and cheesily garish ode to a near-extinct style of arcade racing that once ruled the road. Extremely easy to pick up and play and primed to appeal to anyone whose favourite colour starts with the word “neon”, Cruis’n Blast wears all of its old-school sensibilities proudly on its sleeve.

While this is refreshing to a degree, the unfortunate side effects of its simple arcade approach are that it does run dry of thrills after only a couple of afternoons and there are definitely times where it seems as prehistoric as its hilariously peculiar garage.

Above everything else Cruis’n Blast is properly fast, and this speed is arguably its greatest asset. Cruis’n Blast is a racing game in fast-forward, and every event feels a little like trying to hug a heat seeking missile fired through a waterslide. The sheer speed makes the racing a lot of fun, even if the chaos can sometimes overlap so much it becomes a little numbing after a while.

Above everything else Cruis’n Blast is properly fast, and this speed is arguably its greatest asset.

Tumble Cruise

If you’re wondering if Cruis’n Blast’s constantly somersaulting and corkscrewing cars means you’ll need high-grade controller skills to pull off these tricks, you can stop wondering. There really isn’t any turbocharged Tony Hawk-level of complexity here, and most of the time the fancy flips I performed while playing were completely by accident. To be honest, the majority of the stunts actually seem fairly inconsequential to winning or losing, although ripping a wheelie into the rear of an opponent to flip over and overtake is generally quite effective.

Despite appearances, Cruis’n Blast is actually very easy to play. In fact, it took me several hours to even realise there was a dedicated brake button – and even once I knew it was there, I’ve still never used it. Scraping against the forgiving track boundaries will also simply fling you back on course with little to no loss of momentum. Drifting is extremely undemanding, and it’s quite simple to increase or reduce drift angle to carve through any corner. Like plenty of arcade racers, drifting is the key to building boost. In Cruis’n Blast it’s possible to preserve a drift at an extremely low angle – low enough to maintain through lengthy stretches of straight road – so building boost is no hassle.

Winning is a little less straightforward – at least on the higher difficulty settings – but this is down to the highly-orchestrated AI, which seems engineered to string us along and not allow the leaders of a race to be caught until close to the end. It’s admittedly on-brand for the style of coin-op racing Cruis’n Blast is aiming to emulate, but it is a little graceless when the AI outright cheats and blinks into existence right beside you moments after you’ve literally taken them out, Burnout-style.

It’s admittedly on-brand for the style of coin-op racing Cruis’n Blast is aiming to emulate, but it is a little graceless when the AI outright cheats…

Cruis’n Blast’s tracks are impressively imaginative and filled with dynamic spectacle, from huge, moving creatures and devastating earthquakes to crumbling structures and crashing vehicles. That said, while developer Raw Thrills claims there are 29 of them, the reality is nothing of the sort. Playing through the cups reveals the number of unique tracks is realistically far lower, as they’re recycled throughout the themed-tournaments with some tweaks to the background visuals and effects. This means brachiosaurs become skyscraper-sized yetis and choppers become UFOs, but the track layouts and action beats remain identical.

Shark, Tank

Equally wild is Cruis’n Blast’s garage, which features everything from a grab-bag of random cars from General Motors and a pair of Nissans to unicorns, sharks, fire trucks, and tanks. I’ve played a lot of racing games, but I’ve never driven a levitating shark who can drift, or a unicorn that makes engine noises.

Wackier still are the customisation options; yes, you can install neons on your hammerhead and yes, it seems someone at GM signed off on letting Raw Thrills install three different bodykits on this Corvette at the same time. It’s all a little dorky but it’s cute and my kids love it.

They’re also big fans of the four-player splitscreen, which is the most fun way to play Cruis’n Blast – though with the frame rate slashed in half it’s certainly not the prettiest. Multiplayer is enjoyable but the rubber banding tends to makes winning a bit of a crapshoot between whoever has saved their boosts until the end of the race. You’ll need to put up with it if you’re keen for multiplayer thrills, though; Cruis’n Blast has local multiplayer support, but it has no online mode.

Source: IGN Video Games All

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