Eugene Jarvis' classic arcade racer now has a console version of its 2017 sequel and it's full of wacky courses and off-the-wall gameplay.
It's hard to believe that Cruis'n USA debuted way back in 1994 and since then, there have been a handful of sequels. Now, a few years after its arcade revival Cruis'n Blast released, we finally have a console version and it's pretty fun. This isn't the sort of racing game that presents a realistic world or simulated controls. Instead, it relies on courses that feature outlandish moments and gameplay that'll have you flipping your vehicle around in a ridiculously over-the-top manner. At first, this throwback formula really impressed me.
However, as I progressed through the championships and did some experimenting, I realised that the challenge is rather hollow at its core. Specifically, I tried playing by just accelerating and carefully steering my vehicle then after that, I went nuts by performing a ludicrous amount of tricks as I watched my vehicle spin and flip out of control. Both of these approaches landed me in a similar position which tells me that Cruis'n Blast is the sort of racer that doesn't require much skill or finesse; just play it as haphazardly as you want and you'll end up claiming top prize. Even while playing with my gaming chum, we were always neck-and-neck even when we took very different approaches. In other words, it feels like Cruis'n Blast propels you along without much consequence for how well you play it.
On a presentational level, Cruis'n Blast looks and sounds like an arcade game which I love. I imagine some folks will complain about the quality of its graphics but they can suck an egg because the colourful courses and amusing sights such as watching earthquakes tear up the track ahead makes for one wonderful feast for the eyes. Who cares if it doesn't look realistic? Meanwhile, the music is catchy although I found that the songs repeated far too frequently which is likely because there aren't many of them.
When it comes to content, Cruis'n Blast features a few modes that you can enjoy solo or multiplayer either on the same Switch console or via Local Play. Cruis'n Tour mode will have you try to master 6 championships which feature a collection of courses with particular themes such as stormy weather, police chases, and even dinosaurs! In addition to those 24 tracks, there are the 5 courses from the original arcade release and you can also challenge time trials and choose individual races. Oh, and in multiplayer, you can play a tournament where the first 3 wins claims victory. With all of that in mind, I wish there were more modes because you can experience everything that Cruis'n Blast has to offer in only a couple of hours. Considering the gameplay is so out-there, why not include mini-games, too?
As you play through the championships, you'll unlock medals corresponding to 4 difficulty settings and you'll also amass a vast assortment of vehicles including silly ones such as a fire truck, helicopter, tank, and even a unicorn. You'll do so by earning cash as well as finding collectible keys. Plus, being able to customize the vehicles is surprisingly fun with many aspects to tinker with. For example, you can make your vehicle of choice stand out with a cool neon theme or perhaps make it as ugly as possible; it's great fun either way.
Cruis'n Blast presents an arcade racing formula that's exciting at first but quickly wears thin due to its lack of challenge or need for skill. That being said, it can still be enjoyable for a few rounds of old-school racing entertainment with friends.
- + Wacky arcade racing gameplay that'll have you flipping and boosting around
- + Great courses with lots of spectacle
- + Decent amount of customization options
- - No matter how well you play, you'll usually end up in the same position
- - Music is fairly repetitive
- - Could use more modes or mini-games