PS5/PS4 Review: Rider’s Spirits

Can this retro racer topple Mario?

The original Rider’s Spirits was first released on 1994 exclusively in Japan. Now this timeless racing classic is finally available worldwide for the first time. Play head to head against the computer or locally with a friend and compete in a wide variety of racing tracks and game modes. Choose from an array of wacky racers, each with their own unique attributes, and show off your riding skills. And if things get ugly, use all kind of crazy items in order to get advantage and be the first one to cross the finishing line!

Rider’s Spirits looks a lot like the original Super Mario Kart. Looks are one thing, but is it more than just an imitator? I suspect you already know the answer, but it’s not a terrible game by any means…

It’s actually quite a challenging racer, but you can save anytime…which does make things slightly easier. Having said that, I did struggle with some of the tracks as the AI opponents would lay down smoke mines that made the screen go black for a few seconds. There doesn’t seem to be anyway for you to obtain items to use during the Rider’s GP mode, which makes the AI using the smoke mines seem a tad unfair…

You can boost a few times a race, as well as do the traditional kart drifting and so on. There are other modes like Battle Race, Chicken Run and Endurance that are pretty fun. You can also play these either with AI or against an opponent locally. It would have been nice to see some online mode, but I can’t say I’m surprised for it to not be included.

The visuals are a product of the time, but they do have some charm to them. It won’t stand out or be as memorable as the likes of Mario Kart, but it does a good job overall. The soundtrack is also pretty decent.

The Verdict

The curiosity of an 1994 racer that was never released outside Japan seems to be the major drawing point, but Rider’s Spirits will scratch that itch for those who love Mario Kart clones. It’s neither good or bad, it falls somewhere in the middle.

Score: 7.0