New Star GP Review: Old-School Arcade Fun

The market is full of high-quality, realistic racing simulators that capture the essence of racing on a track, but arcade racers are a little more up and down in quality. With that said, New Star GP is a game that feels fresh while still bringing a classic vibe to the track, and it ultimately ends up near the higher end of that quality scale.

I also have to admit that I am a huge fan of New Star games. Truthfully, I am delighted that New Star Soccer on iOS doesn’t track your playing time because I’m positive I’d be embarrassed by the hours I’ve dropped into it. So when I heard that the same team had developed a game based on Formula 1, my interest was immediately piqued.

After spending some time with it, I have to admit there’s a lot to like about New Star GP. So much so, that even the issues I have with the game don’t seem that important.

An old-school feel, but not dated. Image via New Star Games

What I Like

Pretty much everything, honestly. New Star GP is just fun, there’s no doubt about it. There’s no faffing about with tuning every little detail of your car, you grab your controller, you pick your car, and you get onto the track. The only thing you need to worry about is which of the three tire choices (Soft, Hard, Wet) you want to use, and how much fuel you want in the tank.

The racing is enjoyable too. With arcade-style racers, it’s easy to find yourself just zooming past your opponents with ease, but in New Star GP, the other drivers are competitive, and they don’t want to give up their position without a fight. It leads to really competitive racing, especially on Pro difficulty.

Even the tracks themselves are remarkably realistic. I was able to tell which track I was racing on in every single one, with sections of the track included to make them feel familiar. From the iconic Senna “S” at Interlagos, Brazil, to the sweeping downhill hairpins of the Hungaroring in Budapest, New Star has really captured what makes these tracks recognizable.

A pink and blue car driving down the Senna S at Interlagos in New Star GP.
The Senna S takes pride of place at New Star GP‘s Brazil track.

As for the career mode, it is addicting. I stormed through a 10-race Championship season in a single night, upgrading my car and pushing it to the limit every chance I got. Throughout your journey, you’ll create rivalries with your fellow drivers, who will race you harder and make challenges in a desperate attempt to beat you. Nigel Mawson was my arch-nemesis in the 1980s season and more than once he made my life miserable with late lunges and aggressive defense.

The most important thing, however, is that winning a race in New Star GP feels satisfying, and in the end, that’s what is most important for me in a racing game. I rarely came away thinking that I hadn’t earned a win, and that feeling kept me going back for more.

What I Don’t Like

As much as I enjoy New Star GP, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things that could do with some fine-tuning. As much as I praised the AI for creating tense and competitive races, they do go too far fairly regularly and end up racing like they have a death wish. I regularly find myself being pushed off the track when trying to overtake on the straight, the AI regularly weaves across the track like a snake to stop you from getting past, and generally would rather crash you both out than let you take their position. Tone down their aggressiveness just a touch, and I think they’d be perfect.

The menus can also feel a little clunky and could do with some refining. This is especially apparent in the game’s perk system. Players can assign perks that are unlocked through staff members, but figuring out how to apply them, and how to get perks from different team members was not intuitive, with the option to change team members down at the bottom-left and the perks in the top-right. I had used the menu at least five times before I figured it out, but all it really needs is to be retooled to make it more obvious.

My main gripe, however, is that there’s no online multiplayer. I think New Star GP would benefit greatly from this, as I could see myself and a bunch of mates causing mayhem in a racing game like this. It’s a major absence, and what stops it from being really perfect in my eyes.

The New Star GP perks menu.
I found the Perks menu tough to figure out.

Bottom Line

In the end, though, those little annoyances fade away when you’re in a tense battle for the lead, and when you cross the line after a win, they’re not in your mind at all. This game is arcade racing at its best, and while I know that’s not for everyone, there’s something truly nostalgic about this game while still feeling like a fresh take on the genre.

I can’t recommend trying New Star GP enough, and I know I’ll be going back to it even after this review is finished, which I think is the best review I can give it.

  • Release Date: March 7, 2024
  • Platforms: Steam, PlayStation Store, Xbox Store, Nintendo Switch eShop
  • Price: $29.99, £24.99