Race the future, but not your friends.
Racers, start your engines. You got that part already? Alrighty then, let’s race! In RISE: Race the Future, you get to take the wheel of some pretty cool looking rides and tear it up on the track. Granted, the courses look more like rally stages than a regular tarmac track, but that’s part of what makes this game interesting.
Amongst the growing number of racing games for the Switch, RISE: Race the Future (let’s just call it RISE from now on, shall we?) is a really good entry. We’ll hit the only significant negative right up front, though; RISE doesn’t have a multiplayer mode. For the more intense and the social gamers, this will be a problem. For the more casual gamers who just like to waste a little time here and there, this is not a big deal. Besides, it means you won’t feel as guilty when you nudge another racer into a spin so you can move up a place in the lap standing.
RISE looks great; the graphics are smooth and loaded with real-world detail.
When the sun is setting you will need to contend with the glare. When your car is racing on water (yes, you read that right—more on that in a bit) you will get droplets of spray on your camera. Fortunately, the game doesn’t throw mud on your screen; either to be nice to the player or because it would be overkill to have to program wiper controls. Who knows what lurks in the mind of a coder?
The audio is mostly engine sounds and tires screeching as you drift the bends. Speaking of drifting, you get to have fun doing it and the game even provides a “parking brake” button (Y) to help your drifting efforts. You can also set a speed boost recharge to regenerate based on successful drift time (or time at speed, or a flat 3 per lap). There are some other fun settings you can play with, including the color of your car, the relative position of the camera (above and behind, in the cockpit, outside world only). You can also adjust the control sensitivity if, like me, you find the Joy-Con a bit touchy. There is a helpful setting called Auto Brake which will apply the brakes if you let off the accelerator. This can be very helpful for rookie drivers because as you learn the courses you can concentrate on the path of the track and steering.
When it comes to learning the track (important for any racing game) there is a Time Attack mode which lets you take as many laps as you like on a given track. There is a ghost mode you can use, as well, which shows you an outline of “you” from the previous lap so you can learn from yourself in real-time. As you get more familiar with the track, the car, and the controls, you can start to drift less to maintain speed, take bends so you can kiss the apex, and execute other racing tricks to keep your time down.
I mentioned water above, so here’s the follow-up. The tracks are set up like rally stages with the added element of being able to race on water. Yes, James Bond himself would be pleased with a car that can tear it up on the track at over 100 mph and transit seamlessly to racing on top of the water at the same speeds. The wheels fold in to become rudders as your car basically turns into the fastest jet-ski out there. There are handling differences between the tarmac, dirt, and water, so be careful with the bends. Also, on many of the water sections you have more than one option to get through the course, so learning the layout becomes even more important. While you are racing on water you get the onus of dealing with the spray getting all over the windscreen. As noted before, you don’t get wipers, and it doesn’t seem to have a nice coat of Raines, either, so you just have to deal with the spots until you are not on water and your windscreen “dries.”
Now that you have gotten the hang of the car and have gotten comfortable with the track, it’s time to go for it and pit yourself against the rest of the drivers. You earn points for your finishing rank in each race. The better you finish, the better your rank in the overall standings. There are also extra points for sub-goals in the races. Finishing first is always great, but can you stay in 1st place through the whole race? Can you stay out of last place for a whole race? The extra challenges keep things interesting and give you more to do than just finish the race well.
Review: RISE: Race the Future (Nintendo Switch)
As the checkered flag comes down on RISE: Race the Future, it has finished strong. The graphics, the driving mechanics, the tracks, the vehicles, and the play-time are all very good. The game is fun to play and challenging enough to keep you coming back for more. Even if you normally don’t get into racing games, RISE is definitely worth having in your Switch collection. Unfortunately, the lack of multiplayer is a significant omission that we can’t ignore.