Cruis’n has been a regular stable of arcade experiences pretty much my entire life. Whether it was Cruis’n World or Cruis’n USA, I could always count on one of these wacky racing cabinets showing up in random dives or bowling alleys in the rural American South. We didn’t exactly have arcades. But if it wasn’t one of those Buck Hunter gimmicks or ticket games, it was definitely a Cruis’n.
Cruis’n Blast Review
I had no idea Cruis’n Blast was a thing. I figured the series had lain dormant since the Nintendo 64 days, where the home ports appeared. I may as well have been right, until Cruis’n Blast hit arcades in 2017. It’s hard to know that stuff exists if you have no means to access it! But that’s changed, as developer Raw Thrills and Nintendo (which also had a hand in the arcade version) paired up to get this bad boy on the Switch.
I was a little apprehensive at first, because porting modern arcade games to consoles, especially technically “underpowered” consoles like the Switch, doesn’t always end well. And sure, if you put footage of the two games side by side, there are some extra details that didn’t make it over to the home version. But not only does Cruis’n Blast run exceptionally well on Switch, it also includes more content than the original by several hundred percent.
The original arcade mode and it’s handful of tracks are present, along with the small roster of beginning cars. But Cruis’n Blast on Switch has like 20 more tracks, multiple play modes, tons of unlockable (and extremely silly) cars and other little nuggets like cosmetic options. There’s a ton of game in here, most of which you can only find in this version. And it’s a hell of a game to boot. I love this stupid thing so much.
It’s hard to describe the appeal of Cruis’n. If you look at it from a distance it probably looks like hot garbage, with visuals several years behind the cutting edge and nothing even remotely resembling realistic physics. Cars slide around like they’re made of melting butter, if melting butter weighed a few tons and had Tony Hawk’s command over gravity. Unless you seriously screw up, ramming into something or hitting a boost at a funny angle hardly slows you down, instead sending your car screaming forward and flipping several times before miraculously correcting itself upon landing.
And sometimes you send your flying, flipping car over things like a massive earthquake swallowing an entire fleet of commercial airplanes. Or dinosaurs. Or just, you know, causing untold price tags of property damage down a street in London. Cruis’n Blast is full of bright colors and explosions, runs at a breakneck pace and really doesn’t care that much if you win the race or not. It’s almost more like a roller coaster, except that getting first place is truly some neck artery-clinching intensity that feels so much more primally fulfilling than driving around a photorealistic race track.
I have no idea if a game like Cruis’n Blast could feasibly support online play, but it is a bummer to not see it available here. That said, there are local multiplayer options along with wireless, and lots of unlockables and scoreboards for each track. Frankly, Cruis’n has never been a multiplayer sort of experience for me anyway, with most setups I’ve encountered in person being a single seat/cabinet.
A lot of this game is playing as much as you want because it rules, but there are a few fun incentives to come back a few times. If you need things like progress menus to stay hooked on a racing game, you won’t find that here. It’s a literal arcade game with a bunch of extra more game piled on top.
Cruis’n Blast is something that made my ears perk up in a nostalgia sense when it was revealed during one of those Nintendo Showcase gimmicks. But I wasn’t sure exactly what I was looking at, be it low budget mimicry or something more legitimate. Turns out Raw Thrills is run by most of the original Cruis’n developers and this is absolutely the next in line for that series. It’s wild, nonsensical, hilarious, fast and sometimes a little annoying. But I’m gonna keep coming back to it every time I remember I have it.
- Runs great on TV or Handheld modes
- Tons of unlockables and new tracks
- You can flip a car over a T-Rex, land upside down and keep driving hella fast somehow
- Some background compromises
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review.