OutRun is a game that I spent a LOT of time playing in my younger years, so EVERYTHING about Slipstream appealed to me. You’ve only got to take a look at the game in action to see the similarities to the SEGA classic, whilst the gameplay loop of the main Grand Tour mode replicates the formula of the game perfectly.
Does that style of gameplay still hold up well almost thirty-six years on from the game’s initial release? I certainly think so, and whilst Slipstream can feel quite simplistic in places, italso introduces a few cool ideas of its own to help freshen the formula up.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
Slipstream sees racers speeding through a variety of environments in slick racing action, with the game’s authentically created sprite-scaling engine bringing a nostalgic feel as you zoom through 3D tracks built around 2D sprites (which all look pretty great and are full of colour, I should add). As mentioned, the gameplay itself feels just like OutRun, with players racing through courses made up of plentiful straight roads and bends; you’ll also get to choose which environment you race across next when reaching the end of a stage in the game’s Grand Tour mode, with five stages needed to be completed in order to have a successful run. With plenty of routes on offer, it’s the mode I found myself coming back to the most when I wanted a quick but satisfying race against the clock.
It’s very clear that Slipstream is trying to replicate the OutRun experience, but it does deserve some credit for introducing its own ideas that change things up a little. The racing action lives up to the game’s title for example, with a heavy emphasis placed on building up speed by slipstreaming behind other vehicles. This gives you the chance to surge ahead with a burst of speed, which can be especially useful in the more competitive-focused races or when trying to trim a few seconds off your overall time.
It’s also possible to rewind time back by five seconds, allowing you to quickly correct a crash or a mistimed turn that saw you slipping off your racing line. I know a lot of gamers don’t like using rewind in racing games, but believe me, it’s a big help in Slipstream’s topsy-turvy tracks. The game can be guilty at throwing harsh corners your way with little warning and I got caught out on more than a few occasions, so it was nice to be able to rewind time a little and prepare myself properly so that the race wouldn’t be a complete write-off.
“It’s clear that Slipstream has tried to modernise the classic arcade racing formula with its additional features and they really go a long way in making the whole experience more enjoyable.”
Thankfully, there’s a drifting mechanic in place that allows players to fine-tune their angles when speeding across corners too, so it’s not too imposing having to deal with the many bends of the tracks. It takes a bit of practice to get it right, but it doesn’t take long before you’re perfectly balancing your speed and the tilt of the control stick to hit those drifts like a Ridge Racer expert. Would you rather the game handle most of the drifting for you? You’re in luck, there’s an auto-drift option too, though I’d implore gamers try figuring it out manually – just because it’s more satisfying to play the game that way.
It’s clear that Slipstream has tried tomodernise the classic arcade racing formula with its additional features and they really go a long way in making the whole experience more enjoyable. Races certainly felt a lot more strategic, especially when embracing the slipstreaming mechanics to pick up speed, whilst the rewind features alleviated a lot of frustrations when things did go wrong. The only real issue I had came with the track design and its unforgivingly harsh corners that come from nowhere, but again, it’s something you get used to the more you play.
It could be argued it’s a bit simplistic too, with Slipstream often lacking the intensity of modern racers. It’s probably due to the tracks being fairly simple in design, though the racing mechanics themselves don’t bring with them the same competitive nature seen elsewhere. It’s not a big issue and it’s intentionally designed this way since the game is meant to replicate a retro racing experience, but there’s a definite shift in intensity when coming over from one of the more modern releases in the genre. It doesn’t stop Slipstream from being fun to play though and that’s what is most important.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
Whilst Grand Tour feels like the main mode of the game, there are plenty of other options that help flesh out the experience. Grand Prix offers an array of Cups based around individual races, Cannonball gives players a more customisable take on Grand Tour, Battle Royale is an endurance race where the racers lagging behind get eliminated from the event, Time Trial sees players racing against the clock, whilst Single Race lets players partake in a quick and simple showdown. There are five different cars to race with that each feel different to drive, whilst the twenty different tracks offer plenty of varied sights to see when speeding past other racers. There’s split-screen multiplayer for up to four players too – there’s no online play though, which is a bit of a shame.
There’s a lot on offer in the game that’ll keep players coming back for more, with Slipstream offering plenty of bang for your buck. It’s only £7.99 to purchase too, so it won’t break the bank either.
Slipstream offers a retro-style racing experience that’s fun to play, packed with content, and certainly looks the part with its stylish aesthetic. It feels JUST like OutRun too, which is sure to please plenty of old-school gamers (myself included). Sure, it’s guilty of being a bit simplistic in places, but it also introduces enough of its own ideas to feel like more than just an OutRun clone.
Slipstream is definitely worth checking out if you want an old-school racing fix, especially with the low price point.
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC