Star Wars Episode I Racer was initially released on PC and Nintendo 64 way back in 1999 where it averaged 74% across PC and the 64. The game then released on Sega’s Dreamcast and Gameboy Color a year later. In 2019, a remastered version of the pod racer was announced which was released on June 23rd, 2020 for Nintendo Switch and PS4. The Xbox One version got here late to the party as it released on October 27th. The game holds the official Guinness record as the best-selling sci-fi racing game beating long-time favorites such as Nintendo’s F-Zero and Sony’s WipeOut franchises.
Star Wars Episode I Racer is a racing game centered around the movie, Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace’s pod racing sequences. Players will be able to race around every circuit on Tatooine along with extra ones set on Tatooine and other planets. Players can select from a handful of racers each with their own pods and strengths and weaknesses.
The game offers three game modes: tournament, free play and time attack. Tournament is where the core of the game lies at it allows you to unlock additional race track that can be used in the other game modes. As with most racing games, your vehicle can suffer damage if you hit things; you’ll have a small ship like indicator to show you which parts of the pods are damaged. If you hit a wall, your ride will explode on impact, however don’t worry about losing your position as it’s pretty easy. Interestingly enough, if your ride is too banged up, just crash. The damage will be reset once you spawn back.
For an older game, surprisingly, it does have some depth to it. During the tournament, you can buy new parts to upgrade your pods, purchase a pit droid or even select a different driver/vehicle. The game also features over 20 circuits to race on. They will vary in length, but some of the longer ones can feel tedious and endless. For those who worry about repetitiveness, I’m happy to report that circuits look and feel different.
Obviously, being a game that originally released in 1999, you can’t expect it to live up to today’s visual expectations. The fresh coat of HD paint makes it brighter and shows the game in all its blocky goodness. The soundtrack is a true Star Wars score; tense orchestral music. So if you’re not a Star Wars fan that’s looking for a sci-fi racer, you might not appreciate it as much as a Star Wars fan.
Despite showing its age, Star Wars Episode I Racer is a competent and decent racer even as we’re jumping next-gen. Xbox players craving a sci-fi racing game akin to the F-Zero series can pick up this little gem to compensate although it might be too easy. Despite thin replay value, it’s surprisingly deep and easy to pick up. I definitely recommend this game.
- Easy to pick up and play
- Surprisingly deep for an older game
- Ice surfaces