Sun-speckled waves; foam breaking against the shore; cold water blowing across your face; the sound of the wind whipping past your open window as your engine tries to push you through the sound barrier.
Welcome to Sunrise GP, where the early morn plays host to high-speed thrills, where the sun reflects off speeding chrome as you race across twisty tracks in a drive to be the Grand Prix champion.
You only have a couple of other racers to best in this laid-back arcade racer that wants you to enjoy the high life of a champion while feeling like you’re on a road trip. So welcome to Sunrise GP and the life you wish you could live.
Developed by a small team, Sunrise GP is a stripped-back, easy-going arcade racer with stylised visuals and a great soundtrack that doesn’t demand too much of you but also entertains in its short race time. Sunrise GP asks two things of you: put the pedal to the metal and enjoy yourself while doing it.
With its foot firmly planted in arcade racing with a low barrier to skill entry, Sunrise GP is neither a truly challenging racer nor an in-depth or feature filled one. The game’s car and racing physics really do feel at home in an arcade. There’s just enough realism to make it feel like your racing a two ton piece of metal on wheels with just the right amount of arcade handling to make your main method of taking corners relegated to an e-brake and a slight drift. That said, each car handles differently enough for you to find a favourite beyond its top speed stat.
Sunrise GP obviously can’t compete with the likes of Gran Turismo or Forza Horizon and that’s not what the game is trying to do. It favours the pick-up-and-play style of design, where you can sit down for a couple of tracks or even just one.
That stripped-back design is also echoed in the games modes, of which there are only three. There’s the single-player Grand Prix, a single-player Challenge Mode and a Quick Race Mode that can be played with three A.I. racers or, if you can manage it and have the extra controllers, three friends on the same Switch.
If you have a couple of friends for local coop, Sunrise GP’s longevity will come from the Quick Race Mode. If not, you’ll be spending the rest of the time finishing up the Grand Prix and challenge maps.
The Grand Prix takes place over twenty sun-kissed tracks, which range from coastal locations to frozen fjords. Ten of the tracks, however, are just variations of the first ten though – maybe with slightly different layouts or just reversed. The goal of each track is to finish in the top three to unlock the next track and each track completed will also unlock a new car.
There’s some longevity added to the Grand Prix mode as each track has a three-star rating based on how fast you complete it, with each star also rewarding you with money to customise your cars. If you want to unlock all the customisation options, you’re really going to have to aim for those fastest completion times.
The Challenge Mode is comprised of twenty tracks for you to complete with a specific car, with each track also employing that same three-star rating and credit unlocking system.
The cars themselves range from hatchbacks to sports machines but there aren’t any supercars here as the game strives to make most of the cars competitive. While you can customise everything from the rims to the spoilers and apply racing stickers, the number of parts available is very limited and so are the paint options.
Where Sunrise did fall down for me was with the games A.I. The A.I. racers have a tendency to go all Kamikaze on you and each other at the earliest opportunity – usually right out of the starting gate in fact. It’s not uncommon to have to avoid pile-ups within seconds of coming off the grid as they swerve all over the place, usually into you, and wreck the ever-loving hell out of each other. Nor is it uncommon to find them swerving into you and cannonballing all over the road while they take corners rather incompetently. It also wasn’t unusual to complete a lap and find a car that had driven into the barricade still butting its front bumper up against that same barricade unable to get back on track.
On the plus side, I didn’t notice any rubber banding either. Once I was ahead of the pack, unless I drove incredibly poorly, I usually stayed there.
Visually I really liked Sunrise GP’s stylised, cartoon racing aesthetic. The frame rate held up well and there’s a nice sense of speed. The soundtrack is also catchy without being particularly memorable. Less successful is the visual starting line effect as it obscures the view.
Overall, Sunrise GP is as stripped-back a racing game as you’re going to get. It’s a short experience and entertaining enough for the time it takes for you to beat its tracks. However, its lack of content, limited longevity – reliant on co-op play – along with the simple driving system, means that once you’ve beaten it, you’re not likely to come back to it.
Sunrise GP (Nintendo Switch) ReviewSunrise GP (Nintendo Switch) Review
- Great visual style
- Good soundtrack
- No rubber-banding
- Terrible A.I.
- Lack of content