Cruis’n Blast Is Wheelie Fun (Switch Review)

Over the top is probably an understatement for Cruis'n Blast on the Nintendo Switch. It's an arcade racer that adheres to the 'blink and you'll miss it' model.
  • Visuals
  • Audio
  • Gameplay
  • Replay Value
4/5Overall Score

A Cruis'n Blast Review Summary For...Erm...Cruisers

Cruis'n Blast is a must if you like high octane arcade racers that tone down the realism in favour of the spectacle and adrenaline rush. It's rare to play a racer in multiplayer that's so well well-balanced, a.k.a. everybody's in the same boat 'what the hell is going on?!'.

Specs
  • Developer: Raw Thrills
  • Publisher: Raw Thrills
  • Platform: Nintendo Switch
  • Genre: Racer, driving, arcade, multiplayer
  • Release Date: 14 September 2021
Pros
  • No-nonsense arcade racing throughout
  • A decent vehicle lineup - licensed ones too
  • Multiplayer mode is incredibly fun
  • Plenty of replay value for the unlocks and sheer fun
  • Decent visuals, considering it's the Switch
Cons
  • Not remotely realistic, permanently stay on the gas
  • The customisations, other than the paint jobs, are limited
  • Tracks feel very much the same throughout
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Cruis’n Blast is ferocious. From the starting line to the finish, it’s absolute arcade mayhem in this racer from Raw Thrills. I remember playing this in the arcade years ago but didn’t know its name. I’m glad to have experienced it once more.

Quite frankly, this is one of the best racers on the Nintendo Switch, achieving the same fanfare as Inertial DriftHotshot Racing and Asphalt 9. Note that these are all very much the same style of over the top experiences, with this review title coming out on top for setpieces and not being remotely realistic.

Any racer that grants me access to the steering wheel of a Nissan GTR gets a gold star instantly. There are licensed sports cars here from the get-go, with loads more to unlock through race progression and collecting hidden keys scattered throughout the many tracks. Yep, Cruis’n Blast is a quick-fire experience, jam-packed with replayability – not just for the unlockables and setting fast times, but because it’s sooooo good.

Cruis’n Blast Switch Review

Let’s put this in perspective, though. The controls are the same as any other racer in its ilk; accelerate, brake and nitro. In fairness, I never used the brake even once. It’s all very standard, but the OTT element comes from double-tapping the gas to ‘wheelie’ and flipping onto two wheels when going to the side.

Cruis'n Blast Switch Review - Wrong way
Wrong way, down a one-way street. Source: Nintendo

Cruis’n Blast isn’t a weapons-based game but has that Burnout takedown feature (not in multiplayer) where smashing into the side of an opponent will take them out, albeit they respawn almost instantaneously. It’s worth it for the points alone as these contribute to levelling up your ride by unlocking neons, decals, a body kit and an improved engine. Note that there’s one of everything, but you can change the colour of the bodywork.

The goal, unsurprisingly, is to win each race or feature high enough to tick off some of the above. In reality, most of these upgrades are cosmetic. There are stats shown for each vehicle, but every race starts with the same mayhem, putting you at the end of the pack on every race. You have to have a near-perfect run to have a hope in finishing in the top three.

The Setpiece

With the licensed cars and actual countries to race in, the realism stops about there. From pole, your car looks like it’s going to shoot upwards into orbit rather than along the track. There are no penalties for false starts or frustrating mechanics that keep you from progressing (though there are enough ‘passive’ vehicles that get in your way that can slow you down.

Cruis'n Blast Switch Review - Blighty
Blighty. Source: Nintendo

The real action comes from the setpieces. Like a Hollywood disaster movie, the ground will open up, UFOs will attack, and trains will derail. For the most part, this is all spectacle and adds to the adrenaline rush. Only rarely did this chain of events affect the course of the race.

Still, these setpieces make Cruis’n Blast so enjoyable. It’s overly colourful, races don’t drag in the slightest, and there’s even a drift option that allows you to powerslide around corners as if playing Ridge Racer again. There’s even a bonus boost if you manage to fill the gauge. It’s practically an arcade-perfect experience.

Gaudy But Sleek

The more I play on the PS5 and PC, the more I notice how the Switch struggles with many titles. Visuals are a highlight in a game, but not the motivation. That said, the few times I’d choose a Switch game over another platform is predominantly based on portability and whether I can play with the family.

Cruis’n Blast looks good on the Switch. Sure, it’s not going to blow you away, and the colour palette is often gaudy, but you’re concentrating so much on getting to first place, you haven’t got time to look out for anything other than the leader or that elusive key for unlocking more cars (or buses). Even unicorns…

The game modes on offer are mostly the same in single and multiplayer modes. You can opt to do a single race, arcade, or campaign. You only race each other in the multiplayer campaign. Still, it’s an excellent way to level up several cars at once, plus you have a higher chance of collecting all the keys as everything is allocated to player one. The downside is you might have other players spend your money on cars you don’t want or extra nitros.

Cruuuuuuu-isin’ 

Seriously, that title soundtrack is so ridiculously catchy, I’ve reluctantly been belting it out and in my head since I first heard it. I have that ‘condition’ where if I hear something, it gets stuck in my head. With the Cruis’n Blast soundtrack, it’s on par with Daytona USA. Interpret that however you will.

Cruis'n Blast Switch Review - 4-way
4-way. Source: Nintendo

Cruis’n Blast is a definite thumbs up from me. I appreciate that this isn’t Gran Turismo or Mario Kart, but it’s such a fun balls-out arcade game that only operates on 11. There are other more in-depth racers out there, more features, better looking, but within the context that this is a game you would play in the arcades, it’s spot-on.

I would imagine that the appeal would wear off in terms of solo play. There are more than enough races and items to unlock to play by yourself, but when you race against others, it’s so well-balanced that it is anyone’s game, and for that reason, a definite top ten position on the Switch. Maybe I’ll make one of those lists…

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