Circuit Superstars is a nice reminder that not all racers have to be full-on simulations. Milestone’s slew of titles stick closely to real life counterparts, but not everyone wants to play that type of driving game. That’s not to say Original Fire Games has abandoned the need for skill or realism, but there’s plenty of fun in its simple approach to racing. From the moment I started my first race, it gave me serious Micro Machines vibes.
Circuit Superstars: Variety is the spice of life
However, we’re not here to wish for a great Micro Machines game. Circuit Superstars offers plenty of cars, tracks, and challenges. It also has some steep learning curves despite there only being a limited control system. You can accelerate, break, and turn. If you stray off course, the option to reposition yourself back onto the track is only a button away. What makes it so fun to play is the strategy it manages to pack in. Across a range of different courses and classes, each vehicle requires a different approach to controlling.
Gliding into a corner feels different with each car. The standard Piccino cars are the evergreen choice for those wanting a balance in handling and speed. The Euro Trucks are large behemoths that are slow and powerful. If you want to go for speed, jump in a 60s or Formula GP car to really test your skills. The isometric view took a fair amount of muscle memory to get used to, but after a while I fell in love with it. There are five difficulties for you to choose from: Amateur, Pro-am, Pro, Master, and Superstar. Obviously, the highest difficulty is the toughest, but even Amateur provides a fair amount of challenges.
A satisfying challenge
Going into corners too fast and you’ll crash into the barricades. Breaking and taking your foot off the pedal at the right time means you’ll get a better grasp of the handling. Some tracks contain tight corners and long straights, and others offer smooth and longer corners. Whatever the course, there’s plenty of variety. The Grand Prix mode is where solo players will spend most of their time. There are 12 in total, each with a different class of car. The earlier ones are a way of easing you in. Eventually, you’ll be paying attention to tyre degradation and damage to your car’s body.
For a game so simple in its presentation and gameplay, players will enjoy the deep learning curve. With so many classes and difficulty settings, replayability is there in spades. It helps that it looks lovely. Circuit Superstars may not offer the stunning visuals of games like F1 2021. Still, in its own way, the simplicity has a certain charm to it. There’s not a ton of variety in how the courses look, but its enough to appreciate. Outside of the Grand Prix, there’re Weekly Time Trials to take part in, and an online multiplayer that will see players race players from all across the globe.
Circuit Superstars: Play with friends
Along with playing online, Circuit Superstars offers local co-op; specifically four-player split-screen. This is a big deal, especially as it’s such a fun game to play. You can switch up settings and courses for a great time. Along with the ability to play with others, there’s also some customisation options. You can edit cars and the drivers, giving you a bit more freedom to look the way you want to look. The Top Gear DLC is pretty awesome, too. Becoming a star in a reasonably priced car is cool, but that track is pretty damn tricky to master.
Circuit Superstars is a fun racer. It would be better if the penalty system didn’t exist. Whilst there is realism in terms of handling and car performance, having a great time is the focus. That’s why being penalised for cutting corners etc feels a little out of place. There’s tons to do, and whether you’re alone or with friends, the options to jump in and burn rubber are plentiful. The variety in cars give players a chance to try rally driving, muscle cars, and formula one. On top of that, the learning curve is so satisfying when you reach that sweet spot of mastering the range of cars and tracks on offer.
Wide range of cars and challenges
Fun learning curve
Penalty system seems out of place
Not much variety is course environments