June 5, 2020

Formula Retro Racer PC Review - A Slick Racers That Comes Short of the Winners Circle

This post may contain affiliate links from places like Amazon and Green Man Gaming — and we may earn a small commission when you click these links. All earnings will go to keeping this website as minimally ad-free as possible. Learn more here.

Formula Retro Racer PC Review - A Slick Racers That Comes Short of the Winners Circle

By Joel | June 5, 2020
Formula Retro Racer PC Review - A Slick Racers That Comes Short of the Winners Circle

Back in the early days of gaming, the word polygon was used more in an algebra class than in video games. But that all changed in the early '90s when Sega released Virtua Racing for the arcades. Gamers from around the globe eagerly waited to try out the game that many players heralded as the new standard in racing games.

If you were too young to actually try out Virtua Racing on the Genesis or the 32x, then you're in luck because a Virtua Racing-inspired game, aptly titled, Formula Retro Racing by developer Repixel8 is hoping to find the same success as the original.

The first thing you'll notice about Formula Retro Racing isn't what's new, it's what you'll actually recognize from the arcade and console version. You take control of a large polygon-based F1 race car across twisting tracks and against a bunch of AI drivers. The courses are long and offer some unique backdrops including, rolling hills, picturesque landscapes, and steep cliffs rising up alongside a spectacular seaside view. The camera allows you to observe your car from multiple angles and you can switch between those views with a press of a button.

Formula Retro Racer PC Review - A Slick Racers That Comes Short of the Winners Circle

Adrenaline Rush

Unlike other racing games that allow you to customize your car, Formula Retro Racing limits your options to just four settings: Car selection, Race course, Difficulty, and whether you want to drive Manual or Automatic. That's it. It literally takes the thinking out of the game in favor of an all-out arcade rush. Without any of the cumbersome driving statistics to bog you down, the game puts the emphasis on your driving skills which you will need to adapt to since your car comes out of the rolling start like a rocket.

So is Formula Retro Racing a perfectly fun game? Fun yes. Perfect no. Obviously, no game is perfect, but the game suffers from several conspicuous flaws starting with the gameplay. First, collision detection needs some work. There were too many times I slammed against a wall only to have my car come to a near halt.

Other times I barely scratched the side of a rail and my car fell apart. Then there's the question of the AI drivers and their ongoing attempt to not just beat you but to literally take you out. I've seen many of the AI drivers take a straight line at full speed then suddenly swerve in front of me with no rhyme or reason. It's as if I slept with their wives and kicked their dogs in a previous life and now they're out for revenge.

The other disappointment is that the game is a single-player only. What made Virtua Racing in the arcades soar to legendary heights was in its multiplayer capabilities. There was nothing like racing side-by-side with a group of friends, bumping each other, and screaming your way to the finish line. Hell, even the Genesis version offered a split-screen two-player mode. Don't get me wrong, FRR is still fun, but without any real challenge, the racing gets old pretty quickly.

Formula Retro Racer PC Review - A Slick Racers That Comes Short of the Winners Circle
With enough practice, you can take these turns without letting up on the accelerator!

VR the winner

It's inevitable that we speak briefly about the graphics as this is one of the interesting features that made the game stand out. Aesthetically, FRR looks really good with its use of vibrant colors and lush backgrounds. The courses really do tilt and bank as you zoom by them.

Throughout the race, the over-exaggerated use of color and 3D polygon shapes are put to good use and you'll see a host of graphical effects like skid marks, sparks, as well as smoke, and explosions during wrecks. The only real downside to the graphics is that you won't have time to view them as the game is all about moving, not stopping.

While Formula Retro Racing brings with it a thrilling racing experience, the depth of the gameplay is its biggest flaw. Even at under $15 dollars, the amount of content you get is lacking. And without the challenge of human opponents, even the most die-hard race fans will tire quickly of posting their high scores up on the leaderboards. Still, for players looking for a quick adrenaline rush, Formula Retro Racer offers some of the best arcade-style racing since, well, Virtua Racing - and that's saying a lot.

March 25, 2023
Walking Simulators: Are They Truly Games or Something Else?

Walking simulators are a relatively new kind of game. But when done right, they offer experiences that can be incredibly immersive and emotionally stimulating

Read More
March 24, 2023
Arcade Game, Pizza Possum, Available to Wishlist On Steam

Pizza Possum, a new sneaky arcade game where you stuff your face with delicious food, is unveiled by Cosy Computer and Raw Fury.

Read More
March 23, 2023
Point and Click Adventure Game, Universe For Sale, Coming to Steam

Carefully Craft Worlds in this Sci-fi Narrative Focusing on the Human Existence and What it Means to Know Oneself

Read More


May 14, 2022
Topdown, Rogue-Lite Adventure Rogue Heroes: Ruins Gets the Switch Treatment 

The topdown, roguelite adventure Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos gets the Switch physical treatment

August 30, 2022
Float, Surf, and Jump onto Greater Heights and Adventures! Tinykin Out Now for PC and Consoles

Float across great distances with a versatile bubble-glider, and team up with local tinykins to explore new paths! The biggest tiny house party starts now!

December 17, 2021
Warno - The Spiritual Successor to Acclaimed Wargame Series Hits Early Access January 2022

Warno - the spiritual successor to Wargame - will come to Early Access on Steam this January 20th.

October 25, 2022
Get Your Scream On! Steam's Scream Fest Starts Today and Through 11/01/22

Halloween may be the one day of the year when it's socially acceptable to be scared, but why limit yourself to just one day?

July 28, 2021
Catch It if You Can! WRC 10 Crosses the Finishes Line on September 2!

WRC 10 will be available on September 2, 2021 on PlayStation®4, PlayStation®5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram