Out Run – Switch
Out Run is a special game, not just due to the nostalgia it induces, but because it dared to be different. Before Yu Suzuki’s masterpiece blasted into arcades in September 1986 most racing games gave you a top down view or featured cars that exploded. Even the influential Pole Position had a F1 car that went down in flames if you clipped the advertising hoardings.
The attention to detail in Out Run is what makes it stand out. The trees, vehicles and sun blazoned backdrops all helped make this one of the biggest arcade games of all time. Jumping in your Ferrari Testarossa Spider with your girlfriend in tow was new, fresh and exilatering. The way the road contours up and down, not just left or right. You can even select your radio station before heading out on your drive. It is a true classic.
It was just not in arcades that we got to experience the thrill of driving a sports car at high speed. Out Run was ported to just about every home computer and console at the time. None could live up to the original arcade cab but some came close. Modern ports for the Saturn and PS2 are almost the same and only experts will notice significant differences. 33 years after the original we have a Switch version and this could be the best port yet.
Just as in the original you need to drive your fast car to one of five goals before the clock stops. Other vehicles, including lorries, block your way and you must skillfully swerve these at top speed. Careful corner taking and knowing when to take your foot off the gas is crucial to beating the clock. The premise is so simple and this is what gives Out Run its charm. It is not trying to throw lots of gameplay options or modes at you.
This latest Switch attempt is as arcade perfect as it gets. It is not just a straight up port either, developers M2 have brought this right up to date. 60fps as standard that can be adjusted to an authentic 30 once the secret arcade mode is unlocked. You upgrade your car’s traction and speed by reaching the different goals and unlocking extra options to fiddle with. There are even simulated scanlines to bring that CRT effect to life.
This is the definitive version of Out Run that builds on the excellent 3DS port form 2015. The added difficulty settings allow you to remove or add the other vehicles or add more time. This feature will be particularly useful for newcomers to rock solid arcade racing. The purists will want to leave everything as it is to experience the ride as they did way back when. This port caters for every level, taste and age.
If you have played Out Run in the arcade you will remember how tactile the controls are. Everything from the cornering to the transmission felt right and this is faithfully recreated here. You will feel at home in docked and handheld modes as both play fine. You will notice how the emulation has little to no input lag and it is as close to the real thing as possible. Driving is so much fun in this version of Out Run.
You are in for a visual treat as well. The difficulty with porting older arcade games to modern hardware is solving the aspect ratio differences. You can either slap two margins on each side or you recode the game into widescreen. Luckily, the developers have gone all out to bring a widescreen version to our Switches. It is incredible to look at and Out Run has never felt so vast.
The other factor many will remember from Out Run is choosing your music track before heading out. The original three tracks are present for you to select from but there are also a few new remixes to enjoy. The sound is excellent and although it is not quite the same as having the stereo speakers behind your ears like the arcade, it still feels great today. The Caribbean synth tunes are so memorable and pull on your nostalgia gland.
If you enjoy arcade racers and have a Switch you need to purchase Out Run. From its graphical updates to the unlockable extras everything here is top notch. The amount of effort in bringing this classic up to date is commendable and there is so much here to enjoy. There is not really any negative that we found. It is faithful to the original while being fresh enough to please modern gamers that may expect a little more.