Hit the Retro Highway and return to the days of blast processing and pure arcade fun! Retro Highway is a throwback mobile game aiming to combine the accessibility of modern titles with the high-skill challenge and charming aesthetics of old.
Retro Highway is a motorcycle driving arcade simulator which seems to be based on Sega’s classic games “Out Run” and specially “Hang-On” from the late 80’s, with a few challenges and tweaks to the gameplay to make it more accesible for the modern mobile player.
The controls are simple, you accelerate automatically until you get to your top speed, and there you have left and right arrows to turn around and a turbo meter that charges up as you perform tricks, and once you tap it, you get a nitro boost until you run out of power or tap the icon again.
The objective of the game is to travel as far as possible on each track and to collect coins over the asfalt, while avoiding incoming traffic and obstacles along the way such as oil spills and barriers on the sides of the road. In later levels you’ll even get to an intersection and will have to dodge cars coming from the sides. If you dodge incoming traffic just barely, jump over a car, or land on a vehicle’s roof, you get 2 coins and fill your turbo meter.
Sometimes you’ll find a truck carrying a ramp that you can use to jump high up, and collect coins and power ups in mid-air. You can get a magnet to attract coins, a “X2” icon to double the amount of coins you collect, and an Armor so you can take damage. Most crashes make you lose the game and start over, but colliding a car or guardrail on the side just slows you down and damages your bike a little bit, being able to continue until smoke and fire is coming out from the engine and just touching a traffic cone makes you explode.
Everytime you play there will be 3 challenges available for you to beat, and once you complete a certain amount you’ll unlock the next track. Also, with the coins you collect you can buy new bikes with more speed, handling and armor, and also upgrade the power ups you collect.
Retro Highway features pseudo 3D graphics, the elements in the screen are actually 2D sprites, but with translation, rotation and scaling effects to give the impression of† dept and create a cool 3D effect, a technique used in the days of 16-Bits games before real polygon graphics were available.
Everything is bright and colorful, and when you’re going at full speed the animation is smooth and very cool to look at. Once you activate turbo you will se the screen flashing red and yellow, and some motion blur effects on the cars you pass next to. Also, the cars and street lights have a soft, transparent and fading color around them to create the ilusion of really emitting light, unlike old arcade games where they only changed an opaque color to a clear one to turn it off and on.
Production Quality 84%
Retro Highway really tries to capture the feeling of riding on the once popular bike machine Super Hang-On, and for the most part it accomplishes that, offering a driving experience that is fun and can get pretty addictive if played in short bursts.
The chiptune music is well made and it’s just the kind of soundtrack gamers used to hear coming out from a Sega Genesis, same with the sound effects that are a little muffled since the SFX samples from that time had a low bitrate.
The challenges start repeating themselves not long after you start playing, just becoming a tad harder with trials like “Don’t Collect Coins for 200 meters” and then 300 meters or “Crash between 400 and 800 meters” and then between 500 and 1000 meters and so on. Still, just playing against yourself trying to beat your previous record is very entertaining, and that’s what happens here with the “Ghost”.
Just like in Mario Kart 64, you can see the track record as a ghost in the road, and trying to beat a racer on the road this way is so much interesting than just beating the clock like in other games.
Value for your Money 95%
Retro Highway is free on Google Play and the Apple App Store. When you lose you can choose to watch a video ad to continue, and also to get coins, but a regular player won’t have trouble buying bikes, power ups and trying out everything this title has to offer without spending a dime.
Retro Highway will sure get the attention of people that used to play racing games around 1990, but modern mobile game players should definitely give this game a chance, as it is one of the best arcade bike driving “simulators” you can try today. If you’re not into ultra realistic 3D graphics racing titles, you’ll enjoy this arcade experience.
6 tracks to play in, from a hot desert, to snowy mountains, to the moon
10 bikes to ride, each with its unique values
The feeling of speed is just great
Would’ve been fun to compete against other racers like in Road Rash
Challenges repeat themselves too soon, the could’ve been more original ones