Recently we got our first hands-on with the indie title Formula Retro Racing, the game inspired by Sega’s model 1 classic, Virtua Racing. A surprising title that effectively came out of the blue in March, then before you know it, the game is out to buy with little in the way of fanfare.
Retro-inspired games have increased in volume over the past few years, yet many fail to get the formula right. They aim to capture the feel of an era without considering the limitations of that time and the design choices this forced onto the developers. This results in titles which don’t know what era they are effectively placed in, ending in an awkward mismatch between era’s and failing to capture the artistic vibe.
So, on first impressions, it was refreshing to see a title that accurately captured the essence of Virtua Racing, and amazingly this game had been developed entirely by one single chap; Andrew Jeffreys, the developer behind Velocity G. Despite not initially being his core focus Formula Retro Racing had quickly grown an avid following and with its authentic and nostalgic looks it isn’t hard to see why.
As fans of the 90’s arcade experience, we can see how this title could expand and gave Andrew some advice based on the gaming experience from the time, which quickly added small but effective elements to the launch and with some potentially exciting developments aiding longevity to come further down the line.
The game itself is a basic but authentic experience, much like you would find on a home console of the late ’90s, race mode and eliminator, various trophies and points to earn, with the added bonus of online leaderboards to keep you coming back for more.
Handling is basic but effective, with your speed decreasing if the tyres are pushed to the point of smoking, understeer at high speed and slipstreams that can catch you out if you move out of the stream too late. Rival AI needs to be learned, when to commit, when to slipstream. Like everything else from that time, you don’t want it to be perfect, it’s important the game contains the quirks of the era that many today would consider as bugs, yet the addictive qualities will see you hitting that restart button and coming back for more because you know you can do better.
Launching with a few bugs, Andrew was quick to fix the issues and is currently working on additional polish before conversions to other formats. We’ve added our preview video below, no doubt a stream will follow, Formula Retro Racing is available for just £9.99 on Xbox and PC, other formats to be announced.