Sunrise GP brings back cherished memories of one of my favourite childhood racing games, Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit. Its uncomplicated physics, blistering speeds, and nimble cornering are reminiscent of this 1998 gem.
Although Sunrise GP can’t compete with the detailed simulation provided by triple-A games like Need for Speed, its charm lies in its simplicity. As an enjoyable arcade game, it guarantees several hours of entertainment, making it a valuable experience.
Sunrise GP Provides Detailed Customisation
Sunrise GP offers three game modes: a straightforward quick race, a series of challenges, and a Grand Prix mode. The latter, serving as the primary story mode, immerses you in a competition comprising 20 races. You must secure a podium finish in each race to unlock the next one.
Given the brevity of these races, you can complete the game in a relatively short period. While I breezed through the races, I found my motivation waning towards the end as the races started to feel repetitive. Plus, the AI opponents often crashed or lagged so far behind that the challenge dissipated.
In the beginning, you can choose from three cars, but winning races will unlock more, offering a total of 21 different vehicles for gameplay. Each car comes with various customisation options, such as bumpers, spoilers, wheels, mirrors, and more. Plus, you can choose from a range of colours and decals to apply to your car, all rendered in the game’s distinctive cell-shaded art style.
This customisation feature was a personal highlight for me. However, the downside was the high cost of car upgrades compared to the prize money from race victories. I often found myself spending winnings from several races on upgrades, only to win and unlock a superior car in the next race.
Sunrise GP also provides great fun in conquering challenges and topping time leaderboards on each level. I was thrilled to find myself ranking second in a challenge and regularly among the top 10 players in some Grand Prix levels. This competitive aspect drove me to continually strive for improvement. Moreover, the quick race mode allows local multiplayer on the Nintendo Switch, providing an enjoyable experience for friendly competitions and creating memorable evenings with friends.
The Physics in Sunrise GP feel inconsistent.
Sunrise GP‘s gameplay aligns with the typical racing game formula — race to the finish line as quickly as possible. There are no power-ups or special car features, just simple directional controls coupled with an accelerator and brake. Most levels were quite easy, with the majority of my time spent accelerating, seldom braking. The game mechanics even seemed to discourage careful driving, as in many instances I could bounce off the walls and continue racing.
A significant challenge — and one of the game’s weaker points — lies in the racer AI engine. You always start in the last position, and in virtually every race, the AI-controlled cars would crash into each other right off the bat. Winning a race often hinged on navigating through the initial chaos, which made the game feel somewhat flawed. Even if I managed to escape the initial pile-up, I’d frequently encounter stalled AI racers or had to dodge erratically driven cars.
The game’s physics also felt inconsistent. There were times when colliding with another car sent mine ricocheting into the walls, while at other times, the same collision had no noticeable impact. Similarly, I could often bounce off the walls unscathed, but occasionally even a minor brush could cause my car to spin or flip — leading to a significant disruption in the race. This inconsistency forced me to be more cautious about hitting walls.
However, I appreciated how strategic car selection made a significant difference in race outcomes. Understanding the track layout and choosing the right car often mattered more than the actual racing. Deciding whether to opt for a fast car with poor cornering or a more nimble vehicle made for an interesting challenge. There was one race where, despite my perfect driving, I couldn’t catch up to the two lead cars.
“Sunrise GP is an arcade-style racing game that’s designed for easy, light-hearted fun.”
Unfortunately, discerning changes in speed or acceleration between cars proved challenging. I could visually gauge the distance closing between myself and the cars ahead, but I didn’t feel a noticeable change in speed while navigating a track. This lack of tangible speed perception contributed to the game’s lack of a polished feel.
Sunrise GP is an arcade-style racing game that’s designed for easy, light-hearted fun rather than a high-end racing simulation experience. Its charm lies in its simplicity, short races, and car customisation options.
Despite a few issues with the in-game physics and racer AI engine, the game offers an enjoyable experience, especially with the strategic selection of cars for different tracks. It’s a quick-to-conquer challenge that’s perfect for casual gamers, at the low price of US$14.99.
*Disclaimer: Reviewed on Nintendo Switch, code was provided by the Developer.