We store cookies, you can get more info from our privacy policy.
Switch

North America

Neo Spring (Switch) Review

by Philip Orona - July 3, 2024, 2:51 pm EDT
Total comments: 2

7

Simple Classic Arcade Action Nostalgia Aimed at Gen Xers

It’s 2024, yet retro gaming and remakes are in vogue like Madonna in the 80’s (yes, I know the song was released in 1990). Speaking of the 80’s, Atari was on the incline in both the arcade and home markets. The Juggernaut known as Nintendo would release the NES in 83’ but wouldn't see a USA release till 85’, which gave Atari a head start in the home console wars. In 1986 Atari released Super Sprint on the arcade scene as a 3 player simultaneous racer with steering wheels for car control. Super Sprint would see home release the same year for Atari ST, Amatrad, ZX Spectrum and eventually on the Atari 2600 and Nintendo Entertainment System. At the time, Super Sprint was just the latest in the Sprint series that started in 1976 and while Atari’s assets have changed hands a number of times since then, they are still continuing the Sprint legacy with Neo Sprint for consoles and PC with the help of Headless Chicken games.

Neo Sprint is an overhead view racing series that sticks strongly to its ‘Sprint’ series roots in terms of design. The original game had the whole track visible and the driver pilots the tiny car sprites around the circuit while avoiding walls, oil slicks and other various obstacles. The core game experience for 2024 is largely the same with the ability to change the view from the whole track to following\focusing on the cars, which makes it a little easier to keep track of your vehicle. In that mode, the gameplay is more reminiscent of RC Pro-am minus the tank controls. Neo Sprint is simplicity itself with a button for gas, one for brake and one for E-brake\drift. There are several different cars to choose from and each have their own attributes (Top Speed, Acceleration, handling etc.) to consider when entering a new track.

On the Graphics front, it's pretty simple but there are way more colors and details than the 8-bit progenitors. The opening menus pop with an animated blue racing flag and a chiptune pop synth sound track that feels period correct. The tracks are rendered well with a decent amount of detail. A small plume of smoke is generated from the vehicle when you stomp on the gas and the cars have some heft to them that will cause understeer if you approach a corner too quickly (that's why we are blessed with a drift button). This is old school arcade action in all its glory, so don’t come into this expecting a hyper detailed sim racer.

There are several different modes and ways to spend time with this title. You can go race one of the many available modes such as single player career campaign, obstacle course and time attack or multiplayer grand prix and free race. If you want to design your own track, you can do that as well. As you win races in campaign and grand prix modes, you unlock more track pieces, and car color variations of. The Campaign mode has you go through several races in a chapter, setting up a showdown with a player boss in a 1v1 competition before you can move on to the next section and for fuchs (the wheel, not the swear) sake, be sure to change the color of your car to contrast with the road and background color or you will have a hella time trying to keep track of your vehicle. To that end, there is also a button to ID your car at any time as well as reset your position in the case you do biff it into a wall. Happily, each mode has a quick and dirty tutorial to get you familiar with each piece of the game to maximize enjoyment. The actual racing portion of the game may be nostalgically simplistic but it is fun.

Moving up through the campaign mode, the tracks become a little more complex and technical which slowly ups the difficulty. The AI intelligence also gets a little better as races go on. Some cars are better suited to certain types of tracks. There are several types of generic archetypes of racing cars to choose from. This includes Formula, classic Formula, Grand am series, GT series, Daytona series, Hot hatch and Touring type cars.

The negatives are few. A way to upgrade or modify the car's livery would have been nice. Also a few more extras such as a third person mode complete with pixel-full retro graphics in the same vein as pole position would have been a fantastic easter egg. I didn’t get a chance to test it but I wonder if wheel support (for the complete arcade experience) is a thing in Neo Sprint. In addition, while 8 player local multiplayer is amazing, online multiplayer would have also been a nice addition, but alas we can’t have it all.

All in all what we have here is an updated yet faithful recreation of a classic arcade racer that is sure to appeal to the hardcore retrogamer (Gen X and Gen Y, i'm looking at you). It’s not a game that will appeal to the “Need for Speed” crowd but it’s quick and easy to pick up and put down, which means a lot in this world of overly complex racing games that become a time suck that a parent of 2.5 children can rarely afford. Keeping in mind the goal of the game and not comparing it to modern racing sims or Street racing smash-fests; Neo Sprint hit the target it was aiming for, retro Arcade action in a world full of VR and AI noise.

Summary

Pros
  • Oozing with nostalgia
  • Simple to learn
Cons
  • Need to be 40 years or older to truly appreciate this Atari throwback
  • No real depth to the game

Talkback

swillerJuly 12, 2024

Fix the review title. Neo Spring?  :D

Khushrenada21 hours ago

He's right. Should be Neo Sprint, yo!

Share + Bookmark





Switch

Game Profile

Genre Racing
Developer Atari
Players1 - 8

Worldwide Releases

na: Neo Sprint
Release Jun 27, 2024
PublisherAtari
RatingEveryone

Related Content

Got a news tip? Send it in!
Advertisement
Advertisement