Sometimes you see a screenshot of a game and you immediately think to yourself, “I need to play that.” Retro sprite-scaling racer Slipstream is one such game for me, which is why I’m excited to see the indie title will get a wider release on April 7 for Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo Switch.
Slipstream has been out for a few years now, but only on PC, via Steam. It’s a fun, gorgeous tribute to Sega’s classic proto-3D Super Scaler racing games, like Super Hang-On, Power Drift, Rad Mobile and, of course, Out Run. The candy-coloured skies, endless palm trees and nostalgia-swelling synth wave tunes are melded with a drift-centric handling model and a small selection of late-’80s and early-’90s performance cars, like the Nissan Z32 and Lancia Delta Integrale.
In fact, Slipstream offers a couple of different modes that emulate the play styles of some of those aforementioned games. One titled Grand Tour sees you cruise through all of the game’s locales through branching paths, Out Run-style. Grand Prix is more like Hang-On, with its championship-style format and money prizes awarded for finishing position, which you can then use to upgrade your ride. And for this console release, Slipstream is gaining new features like the ability to rewind gameplay if you screw up, complete with a VHS tape rewinding effect when you do. Perfect.
I nabbed Slipstream years ago for a dollar on Steam, and while I enjoyed it, let’s be real — a PC is not the optimal place to experience such a streamlined, old-school arcade racer. It’s for that reason I’m pleased to see the game hitting Nintendo’s handheld. I recently upgraded to a Switch OLED, and I can’t wait to see how those colours pop on the handheld’s upgraded screen. Frankly, the system could use more racers like it.