A PS5 code was provided to GamingPizza for this review. NASCAR Arcade Rush is now available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
NASCAR Arcade Rush, published by GameMill Entertainment, speeds into the gaming market as an arcade-style racing game that pulls inspiration from iconic NASCAR tracks. Though it shares a theme with the thrilling world of stock car racing, make no mistake — this game is not a racing sim. With its vivid colors and over-the-top action, it’s more comparable to the Cruis’n arcade racing series than it is to a true-to-life NASCAR simulator.
The game delivers an adrenaline-packed experience with controls that are loose, frantic, and unapologetically arcade-like. You won’t find the finesse of simulation racing here, but that seems to be the point. From nitro boosts to gravity-defying jumps, NASCAR Arcade Rush is more about the wild ride with silly arcade-style racing elements than precision control.
You can modify nearly every aspect of your car and driver, offering plenty of combinations. I was personally partial to the winged unicorn helmet, even though I’m not sure how exactly it fits into the car. From paint schemes to suits and helmets — your garage is your canvas to make your racer your own
Arcade racing (with a fewspeed bumps)
Multiple game modes are available for you to explore, including the Career NASCAR Cup Series, Quick Race, and Time Attack. Each brings a unique flavor to the overall gameplay, though they all share the game’s core arcade mechanics.
The game targets younger audiences and offers an experience that feels like it would be exceptionally well-suited for Nintendo Switch. The colorful visuals and easy-to-grasp arcade mechanics make it an accessible entry point for younger players or those new to the racing genre.
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Racing through reimagined versions of Daytona, Talladega, and Martinsville certainly has its moments of unbridled joy. However, the excitement is occasionally tempered by a lack of control. The loose handling means you don’t always feel like you’re in the driver’s seat, often making your position on the track feel more like a roll of the dice than skillful maneuvering.
On that note, even for racing genre veterans, this is no walk in the park. The slightest error — a mistimed boost or oversteering into a corner — can send you spiraling to the back of the pack. These moments of frustration feel mismatched with the game’s otherwise casual approach, making the learning curve steeper than I expected, but one that still feels in line with an arcade racer.
While local multiplayer is solid, the online multiplayer experience leaves much to be desired. The game allows for up to 12-player online races, but in my time spent searching for an online match, matchmaking was hit or miss — mostly miss. That said, when I was able to make it into an online race, it went off without a hitch and was a fun experience.
For a racing game with online capabilities, it was disappointing to see the matchmaking come up short. The inconsistency could potentially impact the longevity of NASCAR Arcade Rush’s online community, which is a bummer for players looking for a competitive online experience.
For those willing to fork over an extra $10, the “NASCAR Project-X Bundle” includes a hovercraft car model, extra customization options, and additional in-game emojis. The add-ons are neat (and admittedly fun to use), but they aren’t necessarily game-changing.
Fun, but in need of a pit stop
NASCAR Arcade Rush offers an amusing but inconsistent experience. Its arcade roots are its strongest suit, but a slew of small issues hold it back.
At $49.99 for the standard edition and $59.99 for the “Project-X Bundle”, the game feels a bit pricey. While the NASCAR branding might justify the cost for some, the overall experience does not quite match up to the premium price tag.
For younger audiences or players new to racing games, NASCAR Arcade Rush could be an entertaining gateway. However, if you’re looking for a deeper, more rewarding experience, this title might not quite scratch that itch. It is, at the very least, a solid local multiplayer option for you to bring out to play with the rest of your family as we enter the holiday party season.