Cruis'n Blast (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Neil Flynn 02.10.2021

Review for Cruis

The Nintendo owned Cruis'n series is back, and readers will be forgiven if they have not heard of it before. Fans would have to go back to 2007's Nintendo Wii title, Cruis'n to have heard of the series, and this in itself was a reskin of an arcade game of The Fast and the Furious, without the movie tie in. However, those fond of the Nintendo 64 will remember the three entries that found their way from the arcades over to console, Cruis'n USA, Cruis'n World and Cruis'n Exotica. The Cruis'n series is known for its use of an unrealistic, arcade driving style and wacky vehicles, so how does Cruis'n Blast compare?

Cruis'n Blast itself was born in the arcades - the 2017 machine was spotted in the wild by Cubed3, and even reviewed by yours truly. Over four years later and it has been ported to Nintendo Switch, albeit with a few changes from the arcade version, including two extra cars on track, a host of new modes and, most importantly, a hugely increased number of courses to race on. The original review critiqued the shortness of the arcade version only having five courses, all of which are present in this port of Cruis'n Blast, but knowing full well a console release couldn't come with just five tracks the team at Raw Thrills has amped up the ante, developing another 24 courses, bringing the total up to 29.

On the surface this looks like an admirable number of courses, but dig deeper and vast majority of these are derivatives of the five original ones, with weather effects or a few turns changed here or there. This isn't out of the ordinary for a racing game, which often feature mirrored, reverse, or reused assets, but Cruis'n Blast does this so often that it is hard to find originality within all of the 29 courses. That is not to say that core of these races isn't fun - in fact these ooze this essence of a Spielberg or Emmerich disaster movie, with scenarios such as London falling apart, or aliens invading the Hollywood Hills.

Screenshot for Cruis'n Blast on Nintendo Switch

The main mode, Cruis'n Tour, features six distinctly themed cups, such as Escape Tour, which has the police chasing down the drivers throughout the race, or Storm Tour which showcases fantastic thunder and lightning weather effects. It is hard to deny that there isn't a lot happening on screen, with bombastic set pieces littered throughout the races - it is just unfortunate that it is all over so fast, with all tracks just being one lap long, and only lasting approximately just under, or over one minute. It is a shame that there wasn't a way to extend the length of the race time just by simply implementing a lap-system.

Cruis'n Blast controls like a back-to-basics arcade racer, and like its arcade counterpart, there are no controls for gears - this is automatic transmission only. It does include a brake button, though, which is something not featured in the original. The controls are very easy to pick up, with three nitro boosts available known as Blasts, which can also be triggered by filling up a drift metre. Wheelies, somersaults, and barrel rolls are also part of the arsenal of tricks but do very little to actually add to gaining any track position.

Screenshot for Cruis'n Blast on Nintendo Switch

Players have the ability to takedown other cars, in a similar style to how it is done in the Burnout series, although this doesn't affect their race position as they are often jockeying back for their place almost immediately after causing them to crash. The enemy AI is also all over the place with, evident scenes of rubber-banding. A great example of this is by hanging back at the start of the race just to find the vast majority of cars a bit further up the track all huddled up waiting to be overtaken. Throughout the 29 courses are golden keys, three can found hidden on each track, these are normally in obvious to see places but there are a few keys that are hiding in more obscure locations which do add a little extra challenge when trying to find them all.

The course design isn't the only crazy aspect to Cruis'n Blast. The car selection is also out of this world. It begins fairly innocuous, with a set of licenced vehicles from Chevrolet, Nissan, Cadillac and Hummer, but by collecting the keys throughout the various courses, players can unlock vehicles that make no sense whatsoever, such as a UFO, a Fire Engine, a Double Decker Bus, a Triceratops (?), a Unicorn (?!), and Hammerhead shark (?!?). It is this wackiness that helps inject further charm into Cruis'n Blast, with these bizarre options, for example the living entities such as the Unicorn make skidding noises and revving noises as cars would.

Screenshot for Cruis'n Blast on Nintendo Switch

Vehicles earn XP for each race they are used, and can level up allowing for cosmetic modifications to be made, such as fitting neon lights, body kits and engines. These upgrades do not change the vehicle stats, although these stats for speed, acceleration, blast, weight, and off-road ability feel largely redundant anyway.

Considering the on-screen activity, performance holds up admirably, especially in docked. It just about achieves a 1080p 60fps, although adding some extra players for multiplayer races can reduce the quality on both the resolution and frame rate. This can be played locally for up to four players, but there are no online options or leaderboards, which could have really added some depth to the small set of options available. Graphically, Cruis'n Blast looks great on Switch. The courses and cars have such a vibrancy of colours which really does make the game pop. The music is a bit generic, but the title theme is one of those that will be stuck in your head for quite a while, especially as it is only has seven words, and it is very, very catchy.

Screenshot for Cruis'n Blast on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Cruis'n Blast for Nintendo Switch has been developed by a very small team, and for what it has achieved it is very admirable. It is an incredibly fun title for the first couple of hours, but it is lacking in any real depth to make it anything more than a fun weekend. Grabbing friends locally for a few races can be an absolute blast, but lacking any online modes whatsoever somewhat dampens the mood. The lack of modes is one thing, but the course variety is also another issue with most tracks being direct derivatives of the original five arcade ones. However, if a simple, easy to handle racer that has some astounding set pieces and outlandish vehicle choices is your type of thing, then Cruis'n Blast will definitely satisfy the urge.

Developer

Raw Thrills

Publisher

Raw Thrills

Genre

Driving

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

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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