The days of cruisin’ down the highway all but died out with arcades, but ansdor is bringing these good times back with his new racer Slipstream. Cribbing notes from SEGA’s Outrun series, is its world of drifts and synth welcome in this day and age?
There are a number of different ways to approach the racing in Slipstream, but the end goal for all modes is the same – navigate the tracks, overtake your opponents, and enjoy the drive. Driving may seem simple at first, with all areas made up of one winding road. However, despite the only controls being a gas and brake, there is an ebb and flow to the game that must be grasped. Drifting plays a large part in driving, with it allowing players to navigate sharp turns with ease. In addition, tailgating cars can help players slipstream, offering up a burst of speed for those looking for it. Everything moves at a fast clip, and one wrong move can put you behind. However, mastering these mechanics is a thrilling feeling, and provides a moment of zen amidst the chaos. Put simply, it’s easy to learn but hard to master.
Those looking for an experience similar to Outrun are best suited checking out Slipstream’s arcade mode. Much like SEGA’s arcade hit, players must race against the clock and their rivals, adding time at checkpoints. Branching paths are also available, taking players to oil refineries, beaches, marble gardens, and more. There are a number of tributes here, from the Sonic-themed level names to rivals like Bob Ross and Takumi Fujiwara from Initial D. These things are more of a call back rather than a ripoff, and the synthwave-inspired aesthetics shine through in both the music selection and the menus. A number of things are also tracked, from distance traveled to longest drift to even your average speed. The development team went above and beyond with the formula.
Unlike Outrun, however, is Slipstream’s robust Grand Prix mode. Broken up into three cups, players will take on a number of races, upgrading their car with cash earned. This changes things up a bit – each race is made up of 20 racers and five laps, and the key to victory is to memorize smaller layouts. Tweaking your car’s acceleration, top speed, and handling works as it should, and building the ultimate ride can be an absolute blast. Sure, it might feel like the odds are against you early on, but that quickly changes as players progress. Those looking to practice can also experience something similar in the game’s “Quick Race” mode.
If there’s one thing the game can be faulted on, it’s the fact that some sound effects and music do not pop up as they should. Patches are scheduled for the future, so this may be remedied down the line.
Slipstream expands on the time-tested Outrun formula and dips it in a synthwave-flavored coating. Its gameplay might seem simple at first, but it provides a challenge that harkens back to the days of the quarter-munching greats.