“Ultimate top-down racing is back!” proclaims Ultimate Racing 2D 2. Having “Ultimate” in the title might raise suspicions, but (unlike most critics) we were fans of the predecessor. With even more on offer, can the same be said here?

With a busy menu screen (including menus within menus), I recommend starting with Quick Race to get a feel for things. Even then, the process is anything but. You start with selecting your class of vehicle. Getting them all on screen leaves stats illegible, but even when it’s limited to five at a time, you’ll see some very close in speed and weight. After that, you select a car. Then a track. Then game settings. Usually, I have a great appreciation for a multitude of choices and options. But this menu system and UI are seriously clunky and slow. I felt exhausted before my engine even started.

Once racing eventually began, I felt let down. While the zoomed-out look is nostalgic, the fuzzy visuals lack personality. Further, the sound effects are shrill, and there’s no music. For a game that already made a subpar impression, the audio/visual package does nothing to improve things.

When reading over our positive review of the first game, I zeroed in on these comments. “The sheer amount of options available to you inevitably means that some will be less successful than others, but that does lend a certain versatility to the game. You definitely get a lot of playtime for your money just figuring out which vehicle you like best ” This is even truer here. Options are even more plentiful, but I question their success or even necessity. And while potential playtime is ample by exploring all the vehicles, is it fun? Given my boredom, I’m forced to suggest no.

For the curious, those with more sticktoitiveness, or those who value the quantity of content over the quality, there’s plenty here beyond tracks and vehicles. A career mode (multiple additional modes stem off it) with achievements, championship mode, multiplayer, and time trials (complete with leaderboards for Switch online subscribers) await those unaccustomed to better racers.

“Ultimate” in terms of content and options but not in enjoyment, Ultimate Racing 2D 2 makes a poor first impression and fails to recover. If it looks interesting to you, I’d suggest its predecessor for half the price. This game has more to it, but it’s a case where less would’ve been more. I hope the devs take a prolonged pitstop before the third entry.