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PalmRide Review

Official Score

Overall - 75%

75%

The outrun aesthetic is alive and well with PalmRide. While this racer’s life system takes away from its sense of speed, its overall vibe more than makes up for it.

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Players are no doubt familiar with the outrun aesthetic – flickering neon lights, synthwave sounds, and other 80s flourishes create a vaporwave aesthetic unlike anything else today. The team at Pizza Fest allow players to immerse themselves in this world and be the “rad guy” with their new title PalmRide. Originally designed as a prototype for a college assignment, should players get behind the wheel and go cruis’n?

PalmRide Review

For those who grew up with the original Nintendo Entertainment System, there was a title called Rad Racer that had players cruising along – in 3D, no less! PalmRide takes inspiration from this cult classic – the road is always moving forward with the occasional curve, there are cars you have to avoid, and there are some stylish aesthetics. No need to worry about sharp turns or any sort of technical know-how – this is an arcade racer through and through. Heck, you can even drive in the opposite lane of traffic and avoid oncoming cars.

However, there are some things that make PalmRide its own unique beast. For one, players can shoot threats down after picking up ammo pickups dotting the road. With increments of 10 bullets in your arsenal at any given time, players can easily dispose of cars, barriers, and anything else that stands in your way. Nothing too crazy here – just press the button, watch a few bullets fly out, and the threats just disappear. It’s nothing revolutionary, but it gets the job done.

Rather, the game focuses primarily on its life system. Bump into a car, barrier, or anything else and you lose a life; run out of lives and its game over. This isn’t a bad principle in and of itself, but PalmRide proves to be just a little too unforgiving. While players can collect tiny pyramids to add to their stash, it doesn’t quite remedy the situation. As a result, players must err on the side of caution and keep things at a slower pace to avoid any hazards. With that principle in play, it doesn’t quite make for the most compelling case – after all, speed is king.

There are a few things on each of its five tracks to keep things interesting. There are certain power-ups that can launch your car right into the air, flying along over its world. This can be a bit tricky to manage, especially when one’s car clips into each environment. However, it does manage to spice up each run, especially when there are no rivals or checkpoints to keep players on their toes.

As players rack up the distance, they’ll be able to unlock additional worlds. There’s not too much variety between each one – just aesthetically different – but each one manages to feature a cool lo-fi vibe that stands out between one another. For the completionists among us, there are also 43 achievements to be had, including one for playing the game for 24 hours.

The outrun aesthetic is alive and well with PalmRide. While this racer’s life system takes away from its sense of speed, its overall vibe more than makes up for it.

This review of PalmRide was done on the PC. The game was purchased digitally.
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Casey Scheld

Drawn to the underground side of gaming, Casey helps the lesser known heroes of video games. If you’ve never heard of it, he’s mastered it.
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