Somewhere deep in the bowels of a dusty arcade sits a racing game. The faux leather on the steering wheels is ripped and foam is protruding from the seams. The second gas pedal on the right is stuck down and won’t budge. There is only one working coin slot and even that one is a gamble. Once a sought-after game that would turn the closest group of friends into trash talking competitors, this game sits abandoned now. The age of the arcade may be long past us, but we can still enjoy the charms of last gen with games like GP Retro.
GP Retro is a single player racing game throw-back with unlockable tracks and “pilots.” Before you can put the pedal to the metal, or finger to the glass, you only have one pilot to choose from. You’ll have to place in each race, or complete the fun racing challenges to unlock new pilots. Each pilot has a series of stats that gives them certain advantages on the racetrack. Speed, Acceleration, and Grip are the stats that determine how your pilot performs. The pilots range from your standard race car driver to an elderly woman, and an alien that drives a UFO.
There are 50 racing levels in total with various challenges intermixed to keep the game fresh. One challenge requires to you smash chickens that are running around the race in a short amount of time. There are also timed challenges in which you drive three laps to beat the clock. These challenges are a nice addition to the standard racing fare.
Scattered around track are power ups that make invincible, grip boosts, and nitro. Grabbing a power up at the right time and turn the tables in your favor, but they are often places in hard to reach sections of the track. The power ups can be tough to grab since the controls leave a lot to be desired.
The control scheme of GP Retro is perhaps the biggest flaw. The controls are simple, with left and right control arrows are placed on the left side of the screen, and the brake or acceleration on the right. Due to the portrait mode only gameplay, the controls can cause some hand cramping. The strain might be relieved by placing the turning controls on the opposite sides of the display. While turning, you must also lift and tap the arrows to turn, but it would be nice if you could to slide your fingers back and forth. For me, the poor controls were, sadly, a deal breaker.
With a few changes to the controls, GP Retro would likely be 3, but as of now I can only give it a 2. There is a lot to like in GP Retro and I hope updates can evolve it into a better experience for players.