Start your engines and put your foot down because Circuit Superstars brought a playable demo at this year’s EGX, so we sat down, buckled in and got ready to race.
The demo on display at EGX consisted of one track, different car shells that seemingly handled the same and the display of good-old couch co-op play. We tested the multiplayer aspect during our hands-on time with the game, seeing how the game handled and most importantly, trying to get the best lap time, and I can put this with confidence that if a game at a show like EGX has us trying to best each other’s lap times – it’s doing something seriously right.
A selling point of Circuit Superstars is that it wants to be a realistic driving sim in an arcade world. This can be rather jarring for a newcomer who might expect to be able to speed around the track and now have to entertain the idea of applying the brakes. Instead players have to think about how they would approach a corner, think about their racing lines and breaking points – Circuit Superstars is the thinking man’s arcade racer, a mix of Gran Turismo meets Micro Machines.
That selling point, however, won’t sell everyone. Personally, I loved having to think about breaking points in an isometric view – it adds a fresh view on a tried and tested formula, but this look at feel can be extremely jarring. When driving toward the camera and having to think about the best line out of a corner but the camera doesn’t follow through the corner, it can seem rather disconnected, as the realistic feel is lost within the arcade setting.
Graphically the game is a joy, displaying cartoony visuals that invoke a pick up and play nature that really stand out in the memory. Tires make tracks on the road and smoke comes up from the cars all adding a nice layer of garnish on top of a joyful experience.
From the demo at least, it seems that the game won’t pursue licences for the cars and won’t have real life tracks, which wouldn’t harm the experience at all. Even though it’s pretty easy to tell what real life model the in-game version is replicating.
Circuit Superstars will be one to watch as it would be great title to bring out at a gathering between friends but also could be fantastic to play single player, providing variations of game modes are brought with it. If CS followed the realism route, the game could include damage, tire and fuel issues that could chuck a new dynamic at the player, this is one to watching and unique setting it paints for itself – cartoony realism.