Formula Retro Racing (Reviewed on Xbox Series X)

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Buttermancan
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Formula Retro Racing (Reviewed on Xbox Series X)

Postby Buttermancan » May 16th, 2022, 9:22 am

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Inspired by Sega's Arcade hit 'Virtua Racing', developer Repixel8 have tried their hand at creating a spiritual successor with the release of 'Formula Retro Racing'. Whilst Sega's influence is clear to be seen, Repixel8 falls short of Sega's masterpiece in several ways but still manages to be somewhat enjoyable in its own right.

Simple, vibrant graphics and punchy menu music make a healthy first impression.
From the main screen players can select from Arcade mode, Grand Prix, eliminator and the all-important 'free practice' to help you master all eight tracks.
I didn't need to make use of 'free practice' mode until unlocking the final Mountain circuit: I breezed through the first seven courses with minimal retrys but had to score the thirty-sixth best time in the world to come first on the final track. Achieving this was satisfying but took too long due to the game's recklessly psychotic AI. To their own detriment, AI drivers go out of their way to shunt you into barriers which often results in them crashing as well. What's disheartening is that they appear to operate with a different physics engine; collisions often force the player off at right angles yet have little effect on CPU opponents. Further compounding the issue is the inconsistent and unpredictable damage model. Once your damage meter is filled your car will explode, yet the level of damage incurred from accidents doesn't always match what's seen on screen.

Quite simply, the game is unpolished. From time to time, restarting a track can start you off in too low a gear or render the screen in black and white. Having used manual transmission throughout my time in Arcade mode I was perplexed as to how it wasn't an option for the Grand Prix mode (why?).

There is fun to be had here via the arcade mode. It's very bare bones stuff, that sees you choose from eight tracks that can be tackled at Beginner, Advanced or Expert difficulty. That's five more circuits than 'Virtua Racing' but only Monte Carlo and the mountain track approach the craftsmanship of Sega's classic.
The vehicle handling is enjoyable once mastered and is responsive around tight corners but as previously mentioned, you often have to cautiously navigate clear of opponents. Elimination mode is an interesting idea that tasks the player to complete as many laps as possible without falling below tenth place. What makes it challenging is the bump up in speed your opponents receive after every lap. Sadly, I found this mode to be little more than a distraction and after a few goes it was forgotten about.

Multiplayer is available locally for up to four people via 'Grand Prix' but to my disappointment, there was no online offering.

In conclusion, if you enjoyed 'Virtua Racing' and are looking for more, 'Formula Retro Racing' will give you that but at a lower quality.

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Graphics :- 69%

Sound Design :- 40%

Soundtrack :- 61%

Playability :- 61%

Replay Value :- 67%

Final Verdict :- 60%

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VideoGameCritic
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Re: Formula Retro Racing (Reviewed on Xbox Series X)

Postby VideoGameCritic » May 16th, 2022, 4:50 pm

Love the concept, but much like similar games (HotShot Racing) these feel more like an effort to cash in on nostalgia that to build upon the foundation of the originals.

Buttermancan
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Re: Formula Retro Racing (Reviewed on Xbox Series X)

Postby Buttermancan » May 17th, 2022, 3:31 am

VideoGameCritic wrote:Love the concept, but much like similar games (HotShot Racing) these feel more like an effort to cash in on nostalgia that to build upon the foundation of the originals.


I found out after writing the review that the game was made by only one person. Very impressive achievement but it still doesn't change my opinion about the title.
It currently costs £4.99 on the xbox store and it's certainly worth that price for fans of 'Virtua Racer' or those that don't have a Switch so can't play 'Virtua Racer'.

Cafeman
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Re: Formula Retro Racing (Reviewed on Xbox Series X)

Postby Cafeman » May 20th, 2022, 9:07 am

Thanks for this review. I wasn't aware of this game until now, so I purchased it 2 days ago on PS4, for about $4. Cheap.

The review above is accurate to what I'm experiencing. The handling is nice, but the AI is impossible to figure out and often hit into your car no matter how you approach them. Ive played all the tracks. Monte Carlo and Mountain are the most complex and challenging. I popped in Hotshot Racing to compare. Well, the games have totally different feel. HSR cars have more weight, and it has the drifting with boost meter mechanic. But I'd say Hotshots has a higher quality across the boards.

The thing about Formula Retro Racing, it feels a little bit more like Super Monaco GP than it does Virtua Racing. Which is interesting.

I think FRR has only 3 music tracks which are randomly chosen? Im not sure yet, but the first 2 songs I experienced were so annoying that I lowered the music volume. Simple, Casio keyboard style notes in one tune, and it annoyed me as I raced. But then I heard a better tune on the 3rd race that has an interesting and cool repeating motif.

I'm interested in looking up the history if this were truly made by just 1 guy.

Buttermancan
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Re: Formula Retro Racing (Reviewed on Xbox Series X)

Postby Buttermancan » June 1st, 2022, 4:47 am

Cafeman wrote:Thanks for this review. I wasn't aware of this game until now, so I purchased it 2 days ago on PS4, for about $4. Cheap.

The review above is accurate to what I'm experiencing. The handling is nice, but the AI is impossible to figure out and often hit into your car no matter how you approach them. Ive played all the tracks. Monte Carlo and Mountain are the most complex and challenging. I popped in Hotshot Racing to compare. Well, the games have totally different feel. HSR cars have more weight, and it has the drifting with boost meter mechanic. But I'd say Hotshots has a higher quality across the boards.

The thing about Formula Retro Racing, it feels a little bit more like Super Monaco GP than it does Virtua Racing. Which is interesting.

I think FRR has only 3 music tracks which are randomly chosen? Im not sure yet, but the first 2 songs I experienced were so annoying that I lowered the music volume. Simple, Casio keyboard style notes in one tune, and it annoyed me as I raced. But then I heard a better tune on the 3rd race that has an interesting and cool repeating motif.

I'm interested in looking up the history if this were truly made by just 1 guy.


Thanks for your feedback. Have you put any further time into the game? I would like to play Hot Shots Racing. What puts me off about that one is the rubber band AI. But I'll get to it at some point.
Formula Retro Racing's music is simple and repetitive. The main menu music is cool but whilst racing there are only three different tracks that play. What can be annoying is that if you are trying to place first on a course and are constantly restarting that course due to mistakes etc, the same one song will repeat from the beginning each time. I turned the music volume down and it can be turned off completely if you wish.

Cafeman
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Joined: July 27th, 2016, 8:28 am

Re: Formula Retro Racing (Reviewed on Xbox Series X)

Postby Cafeman » June 2nd, 2022, 4:59 pm

Buttermancan wrote:
Thanks for your feedback. Have you put any further time into the game? I would like to play Hot Shots Racing. What puts me off about that one is the rubber band AI. But I'll get to it at some point.


No, I have not had time to return to the game yet. But I will, after my hand heals from recent surgery. I researched more, and found out that the author is indeed 1 guy, and he is an AA member and did Atari and other homebrews in the past. So he is quite a talented developer in my opinion, despite my critical observances of this game.

Hot Shot Racing is also not quite what I wanted, especially when compared to the best racers. It does have rubber band AI, opponents who hit into you, and a requirement to constantly fill your boost meter and use the boost frequently without wrecki g.
But it is definitely fun and worth getting, especially at its low price. I had fun experimenting with the different characters and car setups. The music is much better than in FRR. The thing is about HSR, easy is too easy and hard is too hard!

Cafeman
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Re: Formula Retro Racing (Reviewed on Xbox Series X)

Postby Cafeman » June 7th, 2022, 12:08 am

I played some tonight, compared the two games back to back.

My opinion is Hotshots Racing is clearly the better of the two. Better tracks, better graphics, more polished, more fun racing, more gameplay.

Not to snub Formula Retro Racing too much. It had a much smaller budget and hardly even what you'd call a team, as it was fronted primarily by one guy based on what I read. But other than the cool retro visual style and smooth animation, the game isn't that special. The music quickly gets on my nerves. I never got a consistent feeling that I could control the car, pass opponents safely, or draft without hitting that car. The cars swerve to much, it is aggravating. I didnt try multiplayer, but the grand prix in 1player mode isn't much different from arcade. Still kind of fun for a few hours.

Buttermancan
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Re: Formula Retro Racing (Reviewed on Xbox Series X)

Postby Buttermancan » June 13th, 2022, 12:39 pm

The cars definitely swerve and are aggravating. I stand by my opinion that there is fun to be had from this game but it's so watered-down compared to 'Virtua Racing'.
My guess is that the 'Grand Prix' mode was implemented for local multiplayer; Racing against each other over a season type of thing.

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BlasteroidAli
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Re: Formula Retro Racing (Reviewed on Xbox Series X)

Postby BlasteroidAli » July 21st, 2022, 4:25 am

I looked at it and was like, yeah maybe. Though I think the days of the arcade racer are dead unfortunately.


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