Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled review: Getting karted away
(Switch/PS4/XO) ★★★★★ Age: 3+
Nintendo understandably keeps its peerless Mario Kart to itself, making the giddy fun exclusive to its own platforms. But if you're craving a dash of cartoonish kart racing on other consoles, this polished remake of a 20-year-old PlayStation 1 title by revered studio Naughty Dog is an effective clone.
Hot on the heels of the recent Team Sonic Racing, CTRNF goes one better than that Sega effort - and (whisper it) perhaps even Mario Kart itself - with its driving model. It stands out for the extra skill required to trigger a powerslide boost that flings you out of a corner and hopefully up to the front of the pack. Couple that with the hopping move that injects a spurt over the crest of a hill and CTRNF's racing requires a lot of focus to maintain maximum speed.
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Otherwise, it ably impersonates Mario Kart's whole shtick - the power-ups, the wacky levels, the colourful visuals, etc. This remake adds 13 tracks to the original's 18, many of which look sumptuous without quite reaching the majesty of Nintendo's designs.
The racing comes in a multitude of flavours, from the traditional solo and multiplayer to four-player split-screen plus a variety of Battle modes, such as capture the flag and - somewhat inevitably - a form of battle royale in Last Kart Standing with up to eight players. Finally, the sprawling Adventure mode asks you to come first on all 30-odd tracks interspersed with face-offs against boss characters. It would be fun if it weren't for the massive difficulty spikes in some of the boss races.
CTRNF feels like perfect summer fare - quick bites of crazy racing full of heat. It's not Mario Kart but it's the next best thing.
Hyperspace Delivery Service
(PC/Mac) ★★★ Age: 7+
You haven't stepped into a 1980s time warp. HDS knowingly echoes the DOS era of pixelated travelogues such as Oregon Trail with its space-themed resource management/trading sim.
Oddly, there's even a slim helping of early Wolfenstein shoot-em-up in here, too, which doesn't quite fit.
But the main game - a slice of Elite here, a dollop of Wing Commander there - has its compelling moments as you juggle keeping all the crew alive against the vagaries of random events (some good, most terrible).
HDS would be bewildering to any unfamiliar with its inspirations but it evokes a certain nostalgia in me.