If I had to describe Cruis’n Blast in one word, it would be jank. Cars fall into the ground after a flip in the air, the physics sometimes break, and the sound effects are so blazingly loud. But underneath all this chaos, there lies a fun game. Is it great? No. But, Cruis’n Blast offers an action-packed arcade experience to the Nintendo Switch that is just plain fun and nothing else.
The game has some similarities to other popular racing titles like the Burnout series and Split/Second. As you are moving across each level, you can drift around corners to gain speed, use nitrous, and maneuver around the game’s obstacles. It’s a spectacle albeit an ugly one. The Millennium Wheel in the London stage is off its hinges and is rolling across the city, causing chaos, attack helicopters stalk the stage, and earthquakes cause a rift in the ground below. It’s exciting, and that fast-paced feel that Raw Thrills brings to arcades all around the world is here.
It handles fairly well. Drifting feels smooth and when you get a rush of speed, it’s fulfilling. You can flip over racers ahead of you and you can crash them into the walls, causing an explosion. The one thing that it misses the mark on is the graphics. The textures are so plain to look at with very few details and one environment in particular in Death Valley has untextured airplane models that look ripped from the N64 era. Without the crunchy metal and detailed graphics of a game like Burnout, crashes feel underwhelming, even though they’re useful in dispatching opponents. The previously mentioned glitches like falling through the solid ground after a trick and physics issues plague the game too.
The art design and exciting cinematic moments behind the terrible graphics are great, but the textures just make it look cheap and nasty. It’s like watching a McDonald’s commercial and when you get your Big Mac, the lettuce is scuffed and the cheese is slipping off the beef.
The sound design isn’t suited for a console experience. It’s very loud and irritating to the ears. In the arcade, it’s harder to tell the harsh audio with how the speakers are set up, but the transition to the Nintendo Switch wasn’t kind. In addition, the music is super generic. I was hoping for something energetic like the Daytona USA or Outrun games. Some licensed music could have helped, but Raw Thrills probably didn’t have the budget. With such a low cash flow, it’s no surprise the main theme song from Cruis’n Blast will have your recommended daily dose of cringe.
Cruis’n Blast does have its positives other than the solid racing component. Throughout the game, you can collect three golden keys from each track. Finding these will unlock new vehicles like a motorbike, a fire truck, and even a unicorn. Raw Thrills wasn’t afraid to get whacky. While the unicorn is extremely jank animation-wise, I still love it. There are a decent amount of tracks with a total of 29. You’ll need to unlock most of them by finishing cups with a silver or gold rank. There are quite a few reskins of already existing tracks, but Raw Thrills manages to differentiate them slightly with different gimmicks. It feels cheap, but Raw Thrills does the best with what it has.
Unfortunately, there isn’t an online mode to speak of, but if you like to play on the couch, you can get up to three other people with you to play. I think it would be a fun night with this game but nothing more as it doesn’t have the depth or longevity of a game like Mario Kart 8: Deluxe.
Overall, Cruis’n Blast is a fun, albeit gnarly, product in terms of its presentation and glitches. It’s worth checking out if you love the fast-paced action of the Burnout series, but you might just want to get the actual Burnout Paradise instead that’s already on Switch.
This impressions article was written using a code provided by the publisher.