80’s Overdrive Review [Switch version]

Developer: Insane Code/ENSO

RRP: £8.99 (Switch version)

80’s Overdrive from many glances is a shoutout to 8 bit/16 bit arcade racers. This game was originally on the Nintendo 3DS back in 2017. The Switch port polishes the game’s visuals to a much greater detail than it’s 3DS counterpart.

80’s Overdrive puts the player as a racer who is trying to move up the ranks to make a name for themselves. Racing tracks vary from beaches, to city streets and even forests. As well as your rival racers, civilian traffic and even the police share the road with the player and with the police, especially they will get in your way if you are speeding and can mess up your pace and crash into them or off the road.

It’s easy to see 80’s Overdrive as an Outrun clone, but the game takes influence from other gaming titles such as Lamborghini American Challenge (SNES). The career mode is when the player races against other players on 36 tracks in which unlock as the player wins. Each race, you have to pay an entrance fee and then on what place you get, cash is allocated to your account to spend either on new cars or upgrade to them. An example being having Nitro boost and a radar for tracking police, which is handily especially for dodging them (explained later). In some races, there are missions such as collecting parcels on the road or finishing in a certain place (3rd place or even dead last) and completing those can give the player extra money. These missions help the game feel more expanded as opposed to just finish 1st all the time. The player has to pay for the damage and fuel for the car, so 80’s Overdrive encourages strategy as opposed to just mindless crashing and speeding to the finish lane.

The controls can feel stiff in that you have to press the directional buttons or joystick hard to move the car left or right, which can make dodging hard, especially when there is loads of traffic or a sharp turn.

Time Attack mode definitely has an Outrun vibe to it, as it is just the player racing through the tracks to get as far as possible. Also time attack mode branches the track into 2 choices at checkpoints

80’s Overdrive has a level editor which lets players customise their own race tracks. Options include the track length, lanes on the road, background, traffic etc… The level editor doesn’t let players make an exact track with precise details, but it does the job to give the player some custom tracks for their amusement.

There are 18 music tracks in 80’s Overdrive and the player is able to shift between tracks using the ZL and ZR buttons, swapping these tracks with ease. Most of them are good, with the exception of the first track, which is also the menu music.

The AI (from other traffic and police cars) can be brutal at times in that if you crash into them the player can lose several places at once and can be difficult to catch up to them. The traffic can make a turn without warning, making plans to dodge a skill of its own, especially if the police are chasing the player. Even worse, if you crash into a tree or object on the side of the road which can take many seconds off your lead. Fortunately the game lets you restart without having to pay an additional fee.

80’s Overdrive does its job as a shoutout to 80’s/early 90’s arcade racers and doesn’t do much more to add to the genre. Compared to the SEGA AGES version of Outrun and Horizon Turbo Chase it feels underwhelming, but has a place for those who are fond of arcade racers.


  • Extra Missions add variety to career mode.
  • Good artstyle
  • Music is great for the most part


  • Controls can feel stiff
  • AI can feel unfair

Final Score 7.5/10

Insane Code kindly provided 3DSBlessed with a review code.

Images came from 80’s Overdrive press kit. http://80soverdrive.com/presskit/index.php

This post was written by , posted on May 21, 2020 Thursday at 11:13 am

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