Circuit Superstars: The Best Racing Fix on Nintendo Switch?

Circuit Superstars Grid Touring Cars.jpg
Image credit: Original Fire Games

Ever since its 2021 release, Circuit Superstars has looked like the perfect pick-up-and-play racer with a healthy pinch of sim racing elements added. Most players agreed: The game would be a great fit for the Nintendo Switch - two years later, Circuit Superstars races onto the TV/handheld hybrid console alongside an update and brand-new Top Gear DLC.

The charming graphics and top-down gameplay might make Circuit Superstars look like a rather casual game - and it can be that, but also much more engaging depending on the settings. Tire wear, damage, fuel consumption and different characteristics for each vehicle add considerable depth to the experience. And to be fast, nailing each corner's apex is absolutely crucial, so there is more sim in the game than first meets the eye.

With the update to v1.5 released alongside the Switch version, the car count has increased to 17, including anything from a retro muscle car, prototypes, vintage and modern F1-type vehicles to even racing trucks and dirt sprint cars. The same number of locations are available, including various different layouts for many tracks, meaning players should not get bored anytime soon - especially since developer Original Fire Games is working on future DLC packs.

Circuit Superstars Nintendo Switch Gameplay 2.jpg

Full throttle, no compromise: Circuit Superstars has arrived on Nintendo Switch.

However, if you already know the game, you probably know all of this already. How does Circuit Superstars master the transition to the Switch, then? Simply put: it pulls this feat off remarkably well. There may be some visual limitations due to the capabilities of the Switch hardware, but those are only noticeable if you are actively looking for them - you can then spot some pixelated shadows and the lack of anti-aliasing, but those do not detract from the gameplay.

The game runs smoothly both in handheld mode and when using the dock to play on a TV, which was not an easy feat to achieve, as developer Alberto Mastretta stated on Twitter, calling the process "very educational." He also went into more detail on the making of Circuit Superstars in general in the first episode of the "The Heart of Game Dev" podcast.


One of the things the Switch version could have been caught on the back foot with is the application of throttle and brakes. Since it is important to modulate both instead of applying them fully all the time, these are mapped to the analog triggers of Xbox and PlayStation controllers by default. The Switch controller does not have these triggers, though - but they still work relatively well for this purpose. Even better: Players can also use the right analog stick to accelerate and brake, which makes for much better car control after a short adjustment period, especially for rear-wheel drive vehicles.

In short: The Switch version of Circuit Superstars is everything the PC, Xbox and PlayStation versions are - namely incredibly good fun. Online play works flawlessly and supports crossplay as well, meaning the Switch version is just as capable as the others. As a big plus, you can take it anywhere you want. The author of this article certainly has a new favorite racing game on the Switch.


v1.5 and Beyond​

With v1.5, Original Fire Games has brought in new content, specifically the Top Gear Stig Challenge DLC with various wacky challenges at the Top Gear Test Track, and several fixes and adjustments to Circuit Superstars. You can find the full list below.

Circuit Superstars Version 1.5.0 Patch Notes​

  • New layout: Thunder Point Club
  • Added support for the Top Gear Stig Challenge DLC
  • Added a new vehicle class option: "Dynamic". When Dynamic is chosen, human players may choose any vehicle. AI drivers will match the vehicle classes chosen by humans.
  • Improved handling of analog steering inputs when using car-space controls.
  • Improved the color picking experience in the Garage.
  • Increased the number of customization slots on drivers and vehicles from 5 to 10.
  • Wall riding penalties are now applied when crossing the line even if the wall ride has not yet stopped.
  • Fixed a bug that could prevent certain online functionality from working.
  • Added an initial loading bar.

Interestingly, OFG has already announced the contents of the upcoming update to v1.6.0 as well. While not yet clear when this update is going to drop, players can look forward to new DLC cars, a free roaming replay camera to allow for better screenshots, a custom AI feature, and more that you can find in the list below.

Circuit Superstars - Version 1.6.0 Patch Notes​

  • New Cars as DLC
  • Free play has all the options available on Custom Lobbies and no longer has settings hidden in a sub menu
  • Made the players off the podium follow order from left to right
  • Moved the quali start further down the track for a shorter warmup
  • Made post race screens longer (1 more second) per community request
  • We added the full race standings with a toggle (Tab on keyboard, left bumper on gamepad)
  • Shortened the respawn delay from 1s to 0.75s
  • Shortened pre-race grid shot from 12 seconds to 9.5
  • Changed the wear value adjustments from 25% increments to 5% for more granularity and to help organizers design events more thoroughly
  • Local races now have a prompt to continue or save & quit.
  • Additionally, this shows that free play is also getting saved progress, so players can now make custom tournaments that they play through multiple sessions
  • Positions gained / loss visible on race standings and tournament standings table
  • Best lap time indicator added to the race results
  • All 3 colors of the driver's car are now shown on the race results
  • We have been working on a free roaming camera feature on Replays for all of you content creators. We know you've wanted to freely move around the tracks of CS and craft the coolest shots and photos imaginable.
  • We have a new Custom AI difficulty feature, that can make them faster than Superstars, and we also have a new AI modding tool, which you'll be able to use to create your own AI rosters.
    • This is a new system that aims to improve the player experience by adjusting the AI skill in real-time based on how well human players are performing in a race.
    • Depending on the human player's standing on a race, the AI will make an adjustment to either slow down or speed up, increasing the chances that humans will have AI competitors close to them through the race. The system is highly active in lower difficulties where player skill can vary widely in a short amount of time, and it is inactive in the higher difficulties where it is expected that player skill is a lot more stable.

Your Thoughts​

How do you feel about the Switch version of Circuit Superstars? Are you looking forward to taking the top-down racer on the road with you? Let us know in the comments below!
About author
Yannik Haustein
Lifelong motorsport enthusiast and sim racing aficionado, walking racing history encyclopedia.

Sim racing editor, streamer and one half of the SimRacing Buddies podcast (warning, German!).

Heel & Toe Gang 4 life :D

Comments

To be the best "racing fix" on the Switch, ones need to be better than Mario Kart or to be a full fledged simulator. This game is kinda ok... would be better if played on a chase cam, because top down view after the 80s is something pretty outdated
 
Premium
Oh wreckfest is on the switch Metla? I got this game for the Steamdeck but never really could get into it, looks nice and fun enough but I prefer the chase cam as in Art of Rally!
 

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