Let it be known that I am a HUGE fan of arcade racers and a long-time player of Cruis’n Blast. I’ve been quite disappointed that the once-dominant genre is barely holding on. Obviously, the arcade scene in North America has been on the decline for years, and those arcades that do exist have switched up to redemption machines, which sickens me. So whenever I see an arcade racer being released for the home gaming consoles, I’m always excited. But when that release is of a game that I’ve spent more than a fair share of quarters in before this rotten pandemic stopped me from going to the one arcade that still has some decent games, I jumped at the chance to play it.
Cruis’n Blast is now on the Nintendo Switch, and despite what some people had feared, the port is very faithful to the arcade.
Game Name: Cruis’n Blast
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Publisher(s): GameMill Entertainment
Developer(s): Raw Thrills
Release Date: September 14th, 2021
If you’ve ever played the game in the arcade, then you know what to expect. But for the uninitiated, this game is all about speed, performing tricks, souping up your ride, and having fun. And fun is exactly what I had the moment I fired up this game on the Switch. Let it also be known that this is easily the most fun I’ve had with a Switch game in quite some time. I know a few people here at The Outerhaven will look at me side-ways for that, but I don’t care.
Ok, I know the first thing you’ll want to know is how does the gameplay, and how faithful the port is. In that regard, I’m happy to say that the port is faithful to the arcade; the music is there, though it sounds downsampled and the frame rates are high. According to Raw Thrills, they were shooting for a 60 frame rate experience when docked, and while I can’t be 100% sure, it does feel like it is. That said, there are times where the frame rate does take a dip, but it’s hardly noticeable when the Switch is docked. The same can be said when playing the game undocked and on the go, thankfully. The game runs just fine when you want to get some racing done on the go; the game frame rate is steady, and the game doesn’t miss a beat. The load times are also respectable, clocking in at 10-12 seconds per race.
Regrettably, I couldn’t try out the multiplayer portion, as the Switch port supports up to 4 players on a single console. Why? No one wanted to play it with me, and the lack of online mode (more on that later) didn’t help things.
The game is super simple; you race from point A to point B, and that’s it. There are no laps, and due to this, the tracks you race on are short and can be finished in under a minute. This is great for people who like bite-sized content, but it may not be enough for others. In an age where arcade racers, those that do exist, do take slightly longer to finish a track, this is troublesome – yet this is what happens when you take an arcade game and port it. Arcade games are developed to take your coins and kick you off as quickly as possible; that’s their nature. That doesn’t translate well when arcade games are ported to home consoles and the such.
On that note, Cruis’n Blast has plenty for you to do. That’s not to say you won’t get bored; you just won’t get bored as fast. You’ll want to collect multiple keys that are scattered across each stage, and they’re not easy to snag. Grabbing these will allow you to add more cars to pick from. Outside of the arcade mode, you can also compete in a tour, and finishing in a high position will open up more tours for you to race in. Then there are the multiplayer modes that work well if you can get 2-4 people in the same room with you. There’s no online mode and the biggest omission of the game, in my honest opinion. An online mode would have been fantastic, especially during this pandemic we’re all suffering through. A time trial mode also made it into the game, which is cool for people who want to speed through these tracks faster than you can already do.
I’m not the biggest fan of the Nintendo Switch, but I’m not one to shy away from a game just because it’s available on the Switch and it’s an underpowered system. That said, many of the elements that made the arcade game so damned good are intact here. The stages have many things going on in the backgrounds and on the tracks that liven up the races. The traffic that makes races such pain also returns, as do the annoying police cars.
No challenge at all.
OK, now this is where the fans of Cruis’n Blast may end up hating me, and that’s perfectly fine, as it needs to be said. There is literally no challenge in this game whatsoever. Because of how the game treats you with kid’s gloves, you can hold down the accelerator and still win most races. I’m not kidding. The only real challenge is getting enough boost to come in first, and that’s it. If you fall off the track or something to that effect, the game will reset you and put you right back into the midst of racing.
There’s no way you can lose in this game other than if you aren’t trying. You don’t even have to steer as the game will constantly reset you. This is a holdover from the arcade and, again, one of the things that don’t translate well to home ports. Going further, there’s even an auto-accelerate toggle option.
If you enjoy a challenge in your games, you won’t find it here; arcade games aren’t meant to be challenging.
Nearly arcade perfect
I figured that making the jump to the Switch would require some trimming here and there, so let’s talk about that. However, before I do, none of these detract from the game, yet it is worth pointing out. Ahem, ok, why the heck is the announcer missing the game? I don’t get it, and while it’s such a small omission, I miss him, damn it.
The vehicle models look great in action, however, when you see them standing still. Such as during the car selection screen, you can see that the models were trimmed down to make the port work on the Switch. Again, not a big deal as you’ll be racing your butts off. There are several effects, such as breaking through the glass finishing a race that’s also missing, but again not a big deal. There’s also no online mode what so ever and this is the biggest omission of the game. An online mode would have been fantastic, especially during this pandemic we’re all suffering through.
Raw Thrills did a bang-up job with porting Cruis’n Blast to the Switch, and despite a few things being omitted and the obvious arcade footprints, it’s a fun game. The lack of online play and tracks being so danged short, I can’t see people coming back to Cruis’n Blast once the initial thrill of having the arcade finally available is over and done with. That said, if you’re someone who constantly visited the local (or far away) arcade to play this game, then you’ll enjoy this port. Others who want more substance in their arcade racers, this may only be a tease for you.
Review Disclosure Statement: Cruis’n Blast was provided to us by Raw Thrills for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.
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Cruis’n Blast is a faithful port of the arcade classic, that suffers from the straight port of the same game. It’s fun, it’s fast, and will keep you entertained for hours. However, unless you’re a huge fan of arcade racers, you may end up putting this down and never picking it back up. There’s no substance and that hurts the game in the long run.
- Faithful to the arcade
- Lots of fun
- Frame rate is great docked or on the the go
- Stages are too short
- Graphics down-graded