Neon Drive presents itself as a simple arcade-style game inspired by the arcade race games of the 1980s, yet it has managed to take up hours of my life without much effort. The game description, directly from the Steam page, is intriguing enough to entice anyone who's been looking for a good arcade racing game:
Neon Drive is a slick retro-futuristic arcade game that will make your brain melt. You've been warned. From beautiful cityscapes and ocean roads to exploding enemy spaceships, Neon Drive has it all.
The game holds true to the retro-futurism style, including chrome female robots, pixelated arcade machines, and outrun aesthetics.
Each level of the game is shown as a separate arcade machine. Each arcade machine lets you play on Normal, Hard, Insane, Practice, and Free Run. To beat each arcade, you must reach the end of the level without crashing your car into the various obstacles on the course. Basic levels let you move left or right to avoid blocks in the road. Later levels put you through other tests, such as dodging traffic or blasting asteroids.
The game uses synthwave music to keep you on track to make the correct moves by timing the beats of the songs to the correct moves on the screen. It reminds me of the early Guitar Hero games, as well as mobile apps like VOEZ - repetition and staying on-beat is the only way to win.
Taking a look at the main menu, you can see that Neon Drive plays into every stereotype you can think of around retro-futuristic, synthwave arcades (in a good way).
Once you get into the first level, we see that the choice of car fits right in with the stereotypical cars of the 80s, like the DeLorean or the Ferrari F40. Each new level comes with new color schemes and cars, so you should never get tired of the aesthetic.
Personally, I love the orange and blue colors used in level 2:
If you're the competitive type and getting 100% on all arcade machines isn't enough, there are leaderboards for the regular part of the game, and the endurance game mode.
Neon Drive sits nicely within the well-founded cult genre of Outrun. Other games that I've enjoyed in this same spectrum are:
Although these games aren't necessarily in the same genre, they do have aspects that place them close enough to interest gamers that enjoyed Neon Drive:
Of course, if all you really care about is the arcade aspect of these games, you can check out the Atari Vault or any of the other classic games sold on Steam by companies like Namco, Atari. For something like Nintendo, you'd have to settle for buying used classic consoles or delve into the world of emulation.