Review – Super Street: Racer

A year ago, I was talking about the complete lack of racing games not involving mascots or Italian plumbers on the Switch, and how the mediocre Gear.Club Unlimited 2 managed to stand out at the time purely because there was no competition whatsoever. That’s not the case anymore. The Switch now features games like Asphalt 9, WRC 8, V-Rally 4, FIA European Truck Racing Championship, and most importantly, GRID Autosport. They cater to all kinds of gameplays, racing categories, and levels of simulation. Super Street: Racer comes to satiate yet another underrepresented racing game niche on the Switch: the tuner scene.

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This car would be the laughing stock of not only the tuner scene, but anyone who likes cars in general.

Right from the get-go, it’s easy to notice Super Street: Racer‘s main source of inspiration: the Need for Speed Underground games, most specifically the first game in the series. There isn’t an open world for you to explore. The game revolves around buying a used car and slowly modifying it with your spare change, all while partaking in isolated racing events to earn more money and experience points. It’s a simple loop that takes advantage of how grindy it is in a very smart way. Car parts are ridiculously expensive, so you won’t be able to build a tuner monstrosity after a race or two. You’ll usually earn enough to buy a part or two per race, making the journey from junk owner to tuning celebrity quite rewarding.

First impressions weren’t great. Super Street: Racer is really freaking ugly. The amount of detail onscreen is subpar. The amount of assets popping in onscreen is really big. The resolution is also underwhelming, as you can easily notice jagged edges when you take a screenshot, as well as a LOT of blurring effects to try to mitigate those issues. After buying a used hunk of junk, I jumped right into a race, as I had no spare cash to buy upgrades, and was greeted with slippery controls. Thankfully, I was also greeted with a somewhat stable framerate and a much more realistic sensation of speed than the one Gear.Club Unlimited 2 had to offer.

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Well look at that, an actual decent lighting effect.

Things got a lot better after a while. The moment I was able to buy better tires and suspension, the gameplay became a lot more bearable. In fact, it actually became quite fun. By no means a realistic racing control scheme, I ended up appreciating how easy it was to drift, corner, and refill my nitro gauge just like in Need for Speed Underground. I also unlocked new tracks in different locales, with some of them even featuring some above average lighting effects. It took a while, but Super Street: Racer eventually became a lot more fun than expected. It took me less time to get better upgrades, better cars, and more tracks. My initial struggles eventually started to pay off.

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My car might be completely destroyed, but my dope JBL speakers are still intact.

Super Street: Racer is an oddity when it comes to racing games as none of the cars included in here are licensed. Sure, they look like real-life vehicles, such as old Golfs and Skylines, but they feature slight design tweaks and different names, as if you were playing a Grand Theft Auto game. Weirdly enough, all of the upgrade manufacturers are actually licensed, so you can equip your fake car with Continental tires, Momo steering wheels, NOS nitro systems, JBL speakers, and so on. It’s not a jab or anything, but it ended up amusing me.

The soundtrack also suffers from this “we didn’t have a big licensing budget” syndrome, but the developers tried to get around with this issue by including tracks that actually sound like more famous tunes. There is a tune in here that sounds identical to the “Harlem Shake”, as well as an indie banger that ripped off the main guitar riff from Led Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker“. Not an overall bad soundtrack, though. The same can be said about the sound effects. They’re not anything special, but they’re not bad either. They get the job done as they should.

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When a paintjob costs as much as installing a new turbocharger.

Super Street: Racer is ugly and blurry. It starts off as a grindy slog, but after a while, I ended up enjoying it a lot, as I started appreciating its slow but very rewarding progression system. In a console devoid of tuner scene racer titles, Super Street: Racer once again stands out due to an overall lack of competitors, but this isn’t a bad title at all. A bit overpriced, most definitely, but there’s a lot of fun to be had in here.

 

Graphics: 5.0

It is a really ugly game that runs at a pitiful resolution, but it does feature some above average lighting effects and a very solid framerate.

Gameplay: 7.5

Arcadey controls that reminded me a lot of the classic Need for Speed games from the mid 2000’s. At first, cars are ridiculously slippery, but once you buy some cheap grip upgrades, the controls become a LOT more responsive.

Sound: 7.0

The engine noises and overall car sound effects sound basic, but they all get the job done. The soundtrack is full of songs that were clearly composed in order to resemble other famous songs. They don’t exactly exude quality, but they’re not terrible, some of them are even a bit catchy.

Fun Factor: 7.5

The cars aren’t licensed and there is a lot of grinding involved, but Super Street: Racer offers a very significant amount of content, some fun races, and a very deep and detailed car modification system.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Super Street: Racer is available now on Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Super Street: Racer was provided by the publisher.