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Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled may be the Dark Souls of kart racers

Can a 20-year-old cart racer impress?

crash team racing demo at Pax east 2019
Image: Josh Knowles / KnowTechie

While I was on the plane to PAX East, I spent some time playing Mario Kart on my Nintendo Switch. Soon after landing, Josiah and I visited Activision to get hands-on experience with Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled.

This is the remake of, well, Crash Team Racing, and was announced recently at The Game Awards. While the game is still in production, we were able to sit down with four other outlets and take the game for a spin.

If you played the original Crash Team Racing, you may remember that this was quite the departure from Mario Kart. Fortunately, it still is.

From our early experiences with this version of Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled, this isn’t going to be your kids’ kart racer.

crash team racing demo at Pax east 2019

Image: Josh Knowles / KnowTechie

The four tracks we played at the preview event showed us that there were a lot of things that make the game a much tougher, yet still enjoyable experience. Boosting involves jumping and drifting, then timing your second jump button to fire off your boost. It takes some getting used to and with walls and obstacles that stop you dead in your tracks, that learning curve is going to take some time in the full game.

With that being said, with the roughly 20 minutes of time we got to spend playing Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled, it was clear this is going to be something potentially special. The 10 available characters we had to use at our disposal handled differently enough that we were making strategic choices after our second race. We enjoyed seeing the change in characters’ body language after either doing well or poorly in a race. There were even visual queues to let you know your boost was ready to fire when drifting. Overall, the whole thing seemed to mesh well.

It makes sense, after speaking with Thomas Wilson, the Creative Director for Beenox, it is apparent that this is a labor of love. Thomas explained that they wanted to remove parts of tracks that padded race lengths in favor of quicker races with more action, hopefully reducing some of the lulls that came with the version of the game that released almost 20 years ago.

On tracks that came from Crash Nitro Kart, they made sure to remove portions of tracks that used anti-grav effects as that wasn’t in alignment with how Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled gameplay should flow. Most importantly, as the original game utilized the 4:3 ratio for all of the action, Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled actually does the same, while still presenting the game (and more of the track) in the now natural 16:9.

Most importantly, Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled is going to be coming obviously to PlayStation 4, as well as Xbox One and Switch. Thomas was sure to let us know that the plan is to make sure that every version of the game both looks and performs, as good as possible. Let me tell you, if the PlayStation 4 is anything to base things off of, it’s a damn looker.

Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled is slated to release June 21st and we can’t wait to get our hands on it again!

What do you think? Interested in playing a new version of Crash Team Racing? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Longtime games journalist and Florida resident. I'm a Guinness World Record holder, wordsmith extraordinaire, MOBA fan, devoted dad and husband. I'm here to spread the gospel of video games.

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