Classic Sport Driving brings modern spin to retro racing genre

Justin Melillo
Classic Sport Driving brings modern spin to retro racing genre

Over the last few days, I’ve been able to sit down and enjoy the demo version of the upcoming Classic Sport Driving game on Steam. Still a work in progress, we first learned about this one back in May.

Classic Sport Driving pulls inspiration from retro racers such as OutRun and Lotus Turbo Challenge. It’s made to take those vintage pieces and put a sense of modernity on the genre. You can still find these type of racing games in arcades. As for home entertainment, these games have somewhat fallen to the wayside.

The small five person team at Pixel Wrappers have put together a very visually appealing entry focusing on perfecting the best racing lines across different challenging venues. The game concept is fairly easy to understand, but is the challenge of playing the game easy as well?

The Pixel Wrappers team sent me a direct message on Twitter last week and offered up a challenge specifically tailored for Traxion.GG. The time to beat would be a 5:49.83 on the hard difficulty. The Steam Next Fest would expire on Thursday at 1 p.m. ET, so I had to get cracking on learning the mechanics of the game.

Now, a full disclosure – I’ve never been worth anything at the classic retro-style racing games. Unless it’s something that takes me in a circle, usually those quarters end up wasted crashing into obstacles and missing checkpoints. I am, however, quite in love with that synthwave-type vibe, so I was down to give this my best effort.

The #traxiongg code set me up with an 18.2-kilometer, 11.3-mile course through the “Malasia” area. No fog, so the track would be nice with full visibility, but the event would take place at night.

I set up my controls on the keyboard and gave it a try on Easy Mode. It was no sweat. The time to beat was crushed. I never really had to do much more than lay it on the throttle and avoid traffic.

Medium difficulty was a bit tougher, but still passable. Coming in at a 4:55.64. I still had almost a full second on the Hard Mode time to beat. This one made me think a little more as I needed to lift or brake for tight corners. Traffic was a little more congested as well, but even if I went into the grass, it wasn’t a death sentence.

Racing on Hard Mode was more like an Expert Mode. There were more blind corners, the road was thinner, and traffic would bully you out of the way. Also, if you got in the grass, you came to a complete stop. The invisible walls were a death sentence to any good lap times.

I grabbed my PlayStation 4 DualShock controller and gained about a half a minute. Still, the best I could do was about 23 seconds too slow. Overall, if I had more time, I could have gotten closer, but it would have needed to be perfect.

While I didn’t match the challenge, it did give me an idea of how the way you play could decide your feelings on the game. I had way more fun with a controller in my hand than I did pressing keys on the keyboard. I also attempted to set up my Fanatec wheel but, well, it’s not quite built for that.

Later on, I went back and tried other maps with the controller on lower difficulty and had a much more enjoyable experience. While the Hard Mode will be for those trying to top the charts with the most skills, Medium is a fair compromise. Medium adds some technical flair in while still allowing for more wide-open racing. Easy might be too easy, but also might be the perfect thing for you to get your kids into playing these types of games.

That’s all the beta really had to offer so far. There aren’t any leaderboards yet, but for now, if you tried out the demo, @cSportDriving on Twitter would like to know how you did. There were seven different tracks to try out each day of the demo. If you were able to complete one, definitely send out a tweet! Here were those tracks, as a reminder:

  • #JaguarXJ220
  • #CrazyCars
  • #Trackmania
  • #ColinMcRaeRally
  • #DriverSanFrancisco
  • #Grid
  • #LotusTurboChallenge

Classic Sport Driving compares itself to many different retro-style racing games like OutRun, Lotus Turbo Challenge, Lamborghini American Challenge and Jaguar XJ220. I was able to give these old games a try, and yeah, I can definitely see it.

I definitely felt like it took the point-to-point feel from OutRun, mixed it together with some cornering capabilities from both Lotus Turbo Challenge and Jaguar XJ220, and the blind cornering and visual landscape from Lamborghini American Challenge.

They also compare their game to be “like Trackmania with a retro atmosphere,” and while that last part seems to be a stretch for now, future additions to the game could make that a possibility.

Physics-wise, even if spinning out isn’t an option here, you can overdrive the corners and hear the tires slide. That is a plus in my book. It is an arcade, after all, but I feel like having the speed entering the corners matter is a great addition to any racing genre, personally.

Hopefully it does end up more than a single player race against the clock. It’s very bare bones at the moment, as expected. I think for the size of the team and the work they’ve put into it, it shows the effort so far. This game is expected by the end of the year at the earliest.

I’ll be sure to get back on it and see how it improves when that happens. For now, I would say go and follow the progress over on the Steam page, and if this type of racing game interests you, be sure to hit wishlist.

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