The Cruis’n games series has been around for quite a while. Arcade cabinets with the OG title Cruis’n in North America could be found in various arcades all over America. The highly stylized visuals, but booming speakers, and tight gameplay made for the death of many a quarters.
I still remember being a teenager and being stoked to see the new rig show up in my local arcade center aptly named The Fun Tunnel at the Mall of Cookeville TN. I didn’t realize how unintentionally funny the name was ’til I got older of course.
Between Mortal Kombat arcade boxes, Rambo, Metal Slug, House of The Dead, and Cruis’n in the game room, my weekends were full of fun. At least until I ran out of quarters, and then I had to get into other stuff to stave off boredom. Taking up karate and football were secondary to the almighty videogames.
The Cruis’n Blast game is like a ride down nostalgia avenue; but with updated graphics, gameplay, music, and mobility (thanks to it being on the Switch)! So how did it shape up to your friendly, local, neighborhood social media meme amoeba?
Developer: Raw Thrills
Publisher: Raw Thrills, GameMill Entertainment
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed), Arcades
Release Date: January 2017 (Arcades), September 14, 2021 (Nintendo Switch)
Price: $39.99 USD
The first time I sat down into a Cruis’n cabinet over 20 years ago, I instantly fell in love with it. The biggest thing that set it apart from the other arcade racing games was the sense of realism oddly enough, even with the gravity-defying antics one can find themselves in while playing.
The iconic “double tap of the gas to spew tailpipe flames out, pop a wheelie, and flip forward over the racer in front of you” tactic still remains as well, and is one of the most fun parts. Most if not all of the core high flying mechanics are still prevalent in this addition to the series.
To kick off the fun, there are 3 modes to start Cruis’n Blast off, with along with extra goodies that are unlocked as you progress through the meat and potatoes of the game. There are 4 difficulty levels to choose from. Easy, Normal, Hard, and Extreme game modes for those who are gluttons for punishment.
The gameplay itself is actually pretty easy to get a handle on, without being too annoying or boring. If you’re even a mediocre fan of the racing genre, then you’ll dig Cruis’n Blast.
There’s a nitro boost aspect that gives you three (and up to five), to help give you a bit of an edge during the race. You can buy more with the in-game cash you find while racing, but don’t get too hasty with it! You may find out that you need it for the home stretch and eek out a photo-finish win by a nose.
Each level is completely different; complete with high flying jumps, hidden items like money caches, and key icons to unlock up to 23 different vehicles to race with. The stages range from mudracing pits, to volcanoes, to waterparks, and even mountain ranges while being shot at by helicopters and chased by police cars.
The vehicle choices range from a late model Chevy Corvette (there’s like 5 different kinds of Corvettes in here too for the picky Corvette enthusiast), a Nissan 370Z, a Nissan GT-R, A Hummer, a cop car, a convertible Cadillac, a fire truck, and a superbike. Just to name a few. Oh and there’s also a helicopter. Did I mention that Cruis’n Blast is a bit all over the place yet? Well it is, but in a good way.
The game modes themselves range from traditional single player, complete with leaderboards so you can try to beat your own records if your want to. It also features a multiplayer mode that supports up to 4 players for some good ol’ couch co-op sessions. The local play mode also has online matchmaking.
The various extras appear in the game mode selection menu as you progress through the game in each difficulty. It unlocks concept art, customizable vehicle skins, and the like.
The Cruis’n Blast soundtrack is nice, and meshes well with the fast-paced, high octane, wild, and rambunctious racing experience. The tracks vary from dance music, trance music, lighthearted smooth jazz, and rockin’ heavy metal riffs. It pretty much runs the gambit on tuneage for everything one would expect from what looks like quite a stylish, polished, retro style arcade title.
The gameplay is also tweakable, if the action proves to be too much and you end up losing, upon restarting the race while mid-tour you’re presented with options for an auto-accelerate feature. There’s also a “lean into each turn” style feature to turn the Nintendo Switch left or right as the steering wheel to further immerse yourself into the action.
I actually stumbled onto it while playing my Switch while lying on my side, and my car kept careening into the wall. I thought console had bit the dust, until I saw that option when restarting. Kinda wish my luck was always that good.
My only gripe so far with the game is the limited ability to change visual and audio settings outside of the master volume and aspect ratios. I’m unable to mute the sound effects and just blast the kick-ass music, so I’m forced to blast both instead. It’s something that can possibly be addressed at a later time via a system update or something.
So in closing, is Cruis’n Blast fun? Absolutely. Is it worth the price tag? For all the arcade fun without munching through quarters? Absolutely.
Cruis’n Blast was reviewed on Nintendo Switch using a review copy provided by Raw Thrills. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.