Vaporwave seems to be the new big thing, with purple, pink and blue, clean lines and ‘80s soundtracks becoming the order of the day. Out of this trend has popped Electro Ride, a stylish street racer that leans into the aesthetic, maybe to its determent.
Electro Ride initially appears to be a heavily stylised take on Ridge Racer, but quickly reveals itself to be something else entirely.
Set in a Neon-alternative East Bloc, your stocky and far from sleek car can be kitted out with blue, yellow or pink lighting strips. This isn’t just a simple visual choice as these colours correspond to boost pads on the track. Before each boost pad section, there’s a chance to change your colour, and you’re also provided boost pad locations. So, it’s all about picking lines and boosting to victory.
Problem is that the boost pads are something of a hindrance. Faster speeds mean more risk of losing control while pelting around the track. Although to be fair, your car is hard to control at any speed. It has a drastic amount of both understeer and oversteer, giving the impression of being on ice. This wouldn’t be so bad if the tracks were shorter and less punishing. As it is, some potential joy is lost.
An easier difficulty is available, but this simply makes the rival racers slow down and wait for you to overtake. So much for becoming a sliding supremo naturally. It also doesn’t help that progression is only granted if you come first. Electro Ride doesn’t care for the podium.
The visuals and sound also lack punch. While cool, the vaporwave aesthetic quickly becomes samey, even with flourishes like planes weaving through the sky – a very SEGA-esque touch. It suffers from pop-up too, with buildings within the scenery very unsubtly constructing themselves before your eyes. The soundtrack is also surprisingly low key, quietly existing in the background. This has a knock-on effect on the atmosphere.
For a game about high speeds and cool visuals, there’s something oddly lacking about it all. Even the multiplayer modes fail to provide edge-of-your-seat thrills. Less of a feeling of flying by your pants, and more of a feeling of just…pants.
If you’re an arcade racer diehard, the £10 entry fee is low enough to warrant a casual peek; there’s quite a bit here to get stuck into. For me, however, I couldn’t help but feel that this is one of those cases where the aesthetic came first, and the core mechanics came last.
Electro Ride is out now on Switch and PC