autoevolution
Car video reviews:
 

Slipstream Review: Retro Racing Nostalgia (PS5)

Since we love cars more than anything else, we here at autoevolution are huge fans of racing sims for obvious reasons. The debut of Gran Turismo 7, for instance, was one of our most anticipated game debuts, especially after Sony had already delayed the launch for more than a year.
Slipstream screenshot on PS5 48 photos
Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5Slipstream screenshot on PS5
But while racing simulators are our favorite cup of tea, it doesn’t necessarily mean everything else is trash. Not at all. We occasionally enjoy some casual arcade racing action as well, especially since most of us are old enough to remember the old-school Out Run.

This is how Slipstream caught our attention.

If you never heard of Slipstream, then you’ve got to try it. Especially if you’re into arcade racing, that is, as this is the concept the game is entirely based on. But at the same time, it also tries to improve it with a modern touch, throwing in the mix of several game modes that are supposed to keep you busy more than the regular arcade racing title.

While Grand Tour, which involves five consecutive stages with a time limit, is clearly inspired by Out Run, Slipstream occasionally reminds me of the Lotus series. Am I too old? Probably, but in many regards, playing Slipstream feels just like the good old-school Esprit Turbo Challenge I used to play on the Commodore 64.

In fact, even the split-screen multiplayer mode produced the same nostalgia, and you’ll certainly understand what I mean if you give it a try.

Cannonball is the more involving mode, as it’s an updated Grand Tour with more customization power. It lets you configure your own challenge that involves a maximum of 30 stages.

Make no mistake, Slipstream isn’t the kind of racing game that’s supposed to impress you with stunning graphics and accurate car control. Nope.

While you’re allowed to choose from various cars, each with its own specs (such as different top speed and acceleration), mastering Slipstream comes down to drifting properly.

At its core, Slipstream requires racing without hitting any obstacles. And while this should theoretically be enough to finish the race with a decent time, it won’t win you races. You need to drift the right way, and trust me when I say this isn’t by any means easy.

Not when corners come in such rapid succession. Slipstream feels like a super-fast-paced racing game, and more often than not, you don’t even know when you’re about to enter a new corner. This is actually one of its biggest annoyances, as I sometimes ended up hitting a tree or a wall not because I didn’t drift right but because I didn’t know a corner was coming.

The only way to do everything right is to learn all the tracks bundled with the game. Sure, this takes time, but on the other hand, this makes Slipstream overall more challenging, and, at some level, it also offers the game solid replayability.

When it comes to graphics, everything is pure arcade. The scenes are cool to look at, but given the fast-paced gameplay, you won’t have too much time to do it anyway because players are always kept busy trying to figure out where the next corner is supposed to be.

Learning the game mechanics isn’t difficult, but as I said, it takes time to master everything. Everything feels natural on a PlayStation 5 controller, but don’t expect any mind-blowing haptic feedback from a DualSense controller because you could end up disappointed.

It’s optimized for the DualShock, so playing it on a PlayStation 5 doesn’t include any exclusive goodie.

The music, which is obviously supposed to have a retro touch, isn’t necessarily the best, though it’s not awful either. It somehow feels at home in Slipstream, but I think the dev can do better here, especially since it’s a racing game, and the music typically goes hand in hand with cars.

Conclusion

Slipstream isn’t by any means the kind of racing game for everybody out there. It’s aimed at a niche of gamers who enjoy the old-school arcade-style from the late ‘80s, not only when it comes to the gameplay but also as far as the music and the visuals are concerned.

In many regards, Slipstream could also be considered a successor to Out Run, but I think it does many things better than the game we all ended up loving as kids.

The wide variety of locations, as well as the gameplay modes and the little details like the power-sliding and the drifting, all make Slipstream a worthy attempt at bringing back a concept that many forgot existed.

Editor's note: Review code provided by the publisher.

 
 
 
 
 

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories