๐ŸŒด Slipstream | XSX | Review | 8.5/10 | "let it drift into your gaming library" ๐ŸŒด @ansdor #IndieGame #IndieGameDev

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As I’m sure I’ve mentioned on these virtual pages before, my taste in racing games leans much more towards the arcade-style over deep simulation, and so Slipstream’s retro aesthetic and pick-up-and-play approach is very much burnin’ rubber down my Strasse.

With Tournament and Grand Prix modes available for the single-player experience, there are also races and knockout modes etc. for up to four players locally. I was very impressed with the number of modes and customisation on offer – as well as the tightness of design, especially at this price point, very nice stuff!

I spent the vast majority of my time with the game in the single-player modes. The Grand Tour mode is the Outrun-esque ‘beat your rivals and choose a branching path at the end of each stage’ affair, whilst the Grand Prix is five separate races with scores and optional car customisation in the form of spending points on acceleration, top speed, grip etc.; then there’s single race, time trial, Battle Royale – in which the last player on a lap is eliminated and finally, a Cannonball mode, which allows the layer to choose all options in a single, linear, rally-like experience.

The gameplay through all modes remains intrinsically the same, utilise other racers to slipstream your way through the courses whilst drifting through extreme corners, looking cool and hopefully swishing past a load of traffic as you do so. There’s a well-implemented rewind feature, which allows you to spin back up to five seconds – with accompanying VHS-style tape effects – but needs time to recharge. The visuals can initially seem a little strange, especially in static moments, such as at the start of the races where the roads and environs are rendered in a higher resolution than the chunkier vehicles and backgrounds. However, the moment everything is in motion, it works perfectly.

The controls are snappy, and I was impressed by the level of customisation in terms of accessibility levels. Not only can you change the density of traffic, general difficulty and select from a pool of five varied cars, you can even pop into the in-game menu and slow down the game speed a notch, in percentile terms – really cool if a player is struggling and just needs to drop the pace of the game a bit. There’s also the ability to turn on automatic drifting, again – a great inclusion for those not familiar with the genre or who perhaps want the thrill of whipping around without doing the ole’ tap-n-hold for corners.

The audio is a real highlight. In tandem with the retro visual approach and VHS nods in the menus and rewind feature, the synth-wave soundtrack pumps along – and also allows you to select individual tracks from the in-game menu* - and has a good level of variety, from woozy stoned disco to pulsing turkey-necking action, all with an ’80s, neon brain behind it all.

I really enjoyed Slipstream, whilst the 16-bit approach means that the differences on each course are mostly superficial, and the game is more designed for quick blasts as opposed to lengthy sessions – that’s the essence of arcade racers to me.


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