Race Arcade (PlayStation 4) Review

By Josh Di Falco 10.10.2018

Review for Race Arcade on PlayStation 4

Since 2007, Iceflake Studios has been creating independent titles, such as Premium Pool and Pirates Don't Run, and now its latest title, Race Arcade, is available for Sony's PlayStation 4. Race Arcade meets the expectations that its name implies to a tee. This is a top-down arcade racer that doesn't take itself too seriously, as it tries to recreate the racing style of the older arcade videogames. While it has a limited graphics palette due to the simplicity of the presentation, the real purpose was to capture the feeling that was brought on by the older racing games. Does Iceflake Studios successfully recreate the magic and feeling?

Race Arcade is a simple offering that features a handful of different vehicles and tracks to race around on, either alone in Career mode, or with friends locally. Career mode itself is a fun little mode that involves racing a vehicle through a total of 30 tracks or races over the course of three events, with varying lengths of time. While the events themselves seem to be split into three tiers of difficulty, it is anything but, as the entire mode can be breezed through quite easily once the mechanical aspects of turning and controlling a vehicle has been nailed down.

Starting with the rally car, the aim is to win the races to earn in-game currency, which is then used to purchase more vehicles to race around in. There are only six vehicles, though, and they each represent a different type of transport. Including the rally car, other vehicles include the realistic motorbike formula and sports car, as well as the over-the-top UFO and tractor. All these vehicles provide different strategies to get the best use out of each theme, due to how differently they all control from each other.

The first vehicle, the rally car, is the easiest of the batch to control and get used to - it turns corners well, can climb to top speed quickly, and the brakes don't spin out the car too much. Really, with an arcade racer of this type, those three variables are the only things worth worrying about. The motorbike is easily the best vehicle to use, however, as it is super-fast, plus it can turn corners like a charm, although it is very susceptible to running into walls and crashing, so braking at the right time is crucial with this vehicle.

Screenshot for Race Arcade on PlayStation 4

The formula car is a little more difficult to use as it has a wider turning circle, so it can be a struggle on those corner-filled tracks, but it is quite fast and easy to overtake opponents. The sports car is a frustrating vehicle that relies on dragging around corners to get the most out of it; however, that is a double-edged sword that results in plenty of crashes and requires a steep learning curve to figure out the best way to drive it. The tractor and the UFO are both slow and clunky to use, and as cool as the alien spaceships sound, they barely add any worth in trying them out, as they control quite poorly compared to the other vehicles on offer.

The track varies from dirt roads and tarmac to the ice tracks that increase the sliding of tyres. While there are a few different iterations of the tracks within the various categories, they are too like each other to really stand out from the pack. Besides, most races end up going for under a couple of minutes due to the high speeds of the vehicles and the shortened tracks themselves mean that the track differences don't end up mattering too much.

Having short races is a positive for an arcade racer of this type - one crash is enough to ruin the entire race, regardless of how much of a head start was generated. Constantly having to restart the match will become commonplace, but less aggravating than it could have been due to how short the races themselves are. The laps themselves take roughly 20 to 30 seconds to complete and generally comprises of three laps.

This short form racing also lends itself well in theory to local multiplayer action, as it allows for time-efficient sessions in quick bursts. However, trying to get everybody's heads around controlling vehicles with a top-down view on the same screen can be difficult. While the camera tries it's best to ensure everyone can see where they are on the track, it does result in a wider view that turns the vehicles into specks on a track, making it harder to see anything, especially during the tenser moments.

Screenshot for Race Arcade on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

While Race Arcade does a good job of recreating the arcade racing style of old, with the top-down fixed camera and basic vehicle and track set-ups, as well as featuring time trials and local multiplayer, it is otherwise an uninspiring experience. Three of the six vehicles are worth racing due to their ease of use, especially against the AI, while the other three, being the sportscar, tractor, and UFO, are not worth bothering with at all because of how clunky and poor-functioning they are on the track. Race Arcade will also fail to set a party alight due to how one-dimensional the mechanic of racing seems to be. While the simple gameplay lends itself well to allowing for newcomers to jump in and adapt quickly, it also robs it of an immersive experience.

Developer

Iceflake Studios

Publisher

Iceflake Studios

Genre

Driving

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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