’80s Overdrive hit the 3DS in late 2017, but was hurt by coming out at a time when that platform was on the downswing. As a result, it never got the recognition it deserved even though it was a polished and finely-tuned arcade-style racing game. Thankfully, the devs have now brought the game to the Nintendo Switch, where it can race right alongside arcade hits like Outrun alongside newer games like Horizon Chase Turbo and show how the arcade racing scene isn’t dead — it’s just been reborn into a new form on consoles.
Much like Horizon Chase Turbo, ’80s Overdrive pits you against a slew of other racers and not just against the clock — and that format is the way to go when it comes to a core format. While the Outrun style of checkpoint racing works for that series, it’s more fun to have rivals to do battle with. If you want an Outrun-style race, however, then time attack mode is still there for you. ’80s Overdrive mixes it up with a career mode, time attack, as well as creation tools to craft your own tracks. The career mode gives you limited funds to work with, so you have to balance low race results with having to do chores for rivals in order to get cash to enter the next race.
It’s something that makes you want to do a better job in each successive race, and you have to trade off doing repairs for the vehicle or holding off in the hopes that damage isn’t done to your car. There’s also a fuel mechanic, but it isn’t as intense as Horizon Chase’s. There, if you ran out of fuel, you were SOL unless you found a pickup. Here, the fuel loss during a race is so minimal that you can easily go a few races without having to worry about filling up between races. At only $10, it’s a great pickup for anyone wanting a modern-day pixel-art arcade racer. Its heavily-saturated environments are perfect for playing this either on a 4K TV with HDR or with the newer Switch’s better screen.
The Switch version brings about some changes. The UI has been completely redone for a single screen with larger text. Much like how Sega’s games helped make Yuzo Koshiro more well-known in the industry, ’80s Overdrive has done the same for Wolf and Raven – with the in-car radio station featuring 18 total songs and a few of theirs. If you love neon-infused racing action, then ’80s Overdrive is a must and the Switch is the best place to enjoy it. Hopefully it does well and we’ll see it get a release on other platforms — with the creation tools, Steam’s workshop would be a perfect place to see new content crafted for it over time.