Hotshot Racing review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Publisher: Curve Digital
Developer: Lucky Mountain Games/Sumo Digital
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-8
Online: Yes

As I was playing Hotshot Racing, I kept forgetting what the game was called. Somehow I got Horizon Chase Turbo in my head — even though I know that?s a totally different game — and I kept having to check the main menu to remind myself of the game?s name.

In my defense, it?s not like the two games are drastically different. Both are colourful arcade racers that owe a huge debt of gratitude to Out Run. That?s not nothing.

But when you actually play the two games, you?ll notice they?re actually somewhat different. From what I recall of Horizon Chase Turbo, the cars felt kind of clunky. As I wrote in that review I linked a few paragraphs up, as fun as the game was, you never felt like they were going that fast.

In Hotshot Racing, by contrast, if anything, the cars feel a little too light most of the time. Even though every racer has a variety of cars at their disposal, whichever one you pick invariably drifts all over the track, and tends to spin out at the slightest nudge from the other racers. Eventually you should be able to figure out how light a touch is required when you?re intentionally trying to drift — but even so, that does nothing for the collisions.

That annoyance, however, is nothing compared to Hotshot Racing?s biggest issue: there?s some crazy rubberbanding going on here. No matter how fast you?re going, no matter what difficulty you?re playing at, your competitors are always going to be just as fast as you. You can save up four turbos and use them one after another, and you?ll still find a couple of other cars battling with you neck and neck for the lead. I get that the game didn?t want to be too easy, but it?s kind of ridiculous.

If the developers could just fix that issue, they?d have a decent racer on their hands. The tracks are varied, and each of them have their own distinctive personalities. Further, on top of the usual Grand Prix and Time Trial modes, Hotshot Racing also features Cops & Robbers, where you either have to take down all the other racers as a cop, or outrace all the other drivers as a criminal, as well as a mode where you have to continually drive faster and faster to avoid exploding. They add in a nice bit of variety, and mean there?s more to do here than in most arcade racers.

But that rubberbanding issue makes it really hard to fully enjoy any of it. If Hotshot Racing were just a little more balanced, it would?ve been something special, but as it stands, it feels more like a missed opportunity.

Curve Digital provided us with a Hotshot Racing Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B