Formula Retro Racing (Nintendo Switch) – The Test

Remember November 17, 2009 when the game F1 2009 was released on the Nintendo Wii console. One of the first and rare times that players in Formula 1 could drive on a Nintendo console. Sadly this event has unfortunately not been repeated three times and even today, to take control of a Formula 1 on a Nintendo console you have to turn to an ersatz, such as Formula Retro Racing for example. Jokes aside, this game has nothing in common with an F1 simulation, it’s much closer to Virtua Racing: pure arcade and full throttle!

“Three, two, one, GO!”

How do you characterize an arcade game from the early 90’s: bright colors, deafening music and a timer that goes to zero. This is also how we can characterize the game Formula Retro Racing. No fuss, no gossip, the player chooses between four game modes and off you go. The arcade mode is the most classic. It’s about taking part in a race against nineteen competitors and completing the required number of laps while dodging the clock that is at zero and trying to place yourself in the best possible position. The three difficulty levels allow you to earn more points, knowing that three tracks can be unlocked after earning 50, 125 and then 200 points.

In Grand Prix mode, you can play alone or up to four locally and compete in different races, but always on the same eight tracks. The notable difference from the arcade mode is the absence of the chrono that tends to zero and the fact that the starts are stopped and not started.

The Eliminator mode is played solo and the player has to stay in the first ten cars with each passing round and will realize that the opponents go faster and faster over time. This mode is fun and changes from the usual arcade mode.

Finally, a free trial mode allows you to have fun on the tracks with no competition on the track. Helpful for familiarizing yourself with the layouts, but not essential.

The driving is easy, the player accelerates and brakes, it is very arcade and it works well. Those who want to can shift the transmission to manual to be able to shift gears and improve their cornering and their times.

“Time extended!”

Graphically, Formula Retro Racing has a low poly design very similar to Virtua Racing. The game offers three points of view: a cockpit view which gives the best sense of speed, a close exterior view and a far exterior view. The latter is the one that will help you understand the distance with other vehicles best.

Because that’s the big problem with the game: the opponents. Rarely has an AI been this bad. Bad in the sense of a bad player. Our opponents change course at the last minute and are ahead of us on every overtake attempt. What is confusing at first turns into rage after a while as it often misses a race due to an opponent who has voluntarily blocked us.

In addition to the speedometer, chrono and scale model circuit with the location of the participants in the form of small yellow dots, Formula Retro Racing adds an indication with a damage meter that fills up when you hit an opponent or a wall and that, once full, blows up our car and makes us lose precious seconds before reappearing. Having to fight against a time and dangerous opponents makes the task really difficult.

But the game still brings real pleasures: the music in the first place. Even though the soundtracks are few, barely four or five, they are rhythmic and hypnotic like they were in the 90s.

Another small pleasure, Formula Retro Racing offers the Monaco Formula 1 circuit among the eight circuits. What a joy to walk through the city streets in a small arcade game, to find the chicanes, pool and tunnel known to fans.

Finally, because yes, this game is developed by one person, the developer has implemented a suction system that appears in the form of white lines when you closely follow a car and that allows you to take it out thoroughly and overtake it.

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