Hotshot Racing is an indie arcade racing game developed by Sumo Digital and Lucky Mountain Games. It was released on the 10th of September 2020 by publishers Curve Digital. It is a blisteringly fast arcade-style racing game fusing drift handling, razor-sharp retro visuals and an incredible sense of speed to create an exhilarating driving experience. That was quoted from the game’s Steam store page.
There are four different race types, the main being Grand Prix competitions. There are four different Grand Prix’s you can compete in – The Tour (GP1), Pro Circuit (GP2), Racing Elite (GP3), and Hotshot! (GP4). All of them contain four different tracks, and you earn different trophies for completing them on normal, hard, or expert difficulty. Other race types are Single Race, Time Trial and Online racing. You probably know what all of them mean, but anyway – in Single Race you compete in a, you guessed it, single race. You can choose your location, game mode, difficulty and lap count, and off you go. Time Trial features competing for your best lap time on a track, which can be played normal or mirrored. In the Online feature of the game you can compete in a quick race, a ranked race, join a game or host it, if you want to. When you host it, you can set the server type to a public game, friends only, or invite only game. You, again, choose all the parameters from racing location to AI count, if you are unable to fill all the places with real players.
There are eight racers available in the game – Alexa, Aston, Xing, Keiko, Marcus, Viktor, Mike, and Toshiro. When you earn funds or complete different challenges, you can modify the drivers’ race suits, which have only a cosmetic effect, because clothes are clothes, and they do not effect your driving skills. Each of them has four cars available, that differ on their driving styles – balanced, acceleration, speed, or drift oriented. You choose the one that suits you best. All cars are fictional, there are no real manufacturers or models in this game, but I do not identify that as a bad thing. Those things cost, you know? And by completing challenges and buying with funds, you can modify cars as well – from the colour palette, through bumpers to wheels. Compile together a beast.
The racing gameplay is your basic arcade racer-ish – fast and pretty fun. There are different cameras you can view your car from, from the cockpits to behind the car cameras, you know the drill. You can also choose between gearboxes and have an automatic transmission or manual transmission, whatever floats your boat. During races you need to get through checkpoints before time runs out, and the basic thing is to time your drifts and boosts accordingly. Oh yeah, there is also a boost feature which fills its meter by slipstreaming opponents or drifts. You can play the games by yourself, four-player split screen and up to eight-player online matches, while Time Trial can be played single-player only.
Hotshot racing is a fun arcade racer to play by yourself, with friends or even strangers online. It wonderfully captures the feel of nostalgic 90s racers (e.g. Virtua Racing) and puts a modern skin on them. The game falls a bit short, since you are through the “campaign” in no time, but you can always try to beat your best time on all 16 tracks. Get it if you are (were) into 90s arcade racers, as it will bring you joy.