Despite fan pleas, Bandai Namco refuses to greenlight a new Ridge Racer game. Depressingly, we haven’t had a new mainline game in the arcade racing series since Ridge Racer Unbounded in 2012. And that was a Ridge Racer game in name only, with Wreckfest’s Bugbear Entertainment taking the series in a new direction with takedowns and destructible environments.
Ridge Racer 8 was once rumoured to be in development before reportedly being cancelled. With no new Ridge Racer game in sight, a solo indie developer has created Midnight Challenge as a modern homage to Namco’s beloved arcade racer.
Midnight Challenge demo out now
Inspired by classic ‘90s arcade racers, Midnight Challenge is the work of solo indie developer CometTheRobot. Currently in beta, the project is still early in development, but you can already play it. A playable demo lets you race the Downtown Loop track, but you’ll need an X-input controller to play it.
From the footage shown, Midnight Challenge looks like a promising Ridge Racer homage. It's still at an early stage of development and needs some refinement, but the blocky visuals emulate the look of low-poly PS1 games, and the illuminated tunnels look straight out of Ridge Racer.
As for how the cars drive, the drifting mechanics are inspired by the original Ridge Racer and its arcade-only sequel, Rave Racer. We’ll be keeping an eye on Midnight Challenge’s progress and look forward to seeing how the finished game pans out.
You can download the Midnight Challenge demo here. Since Midnight Challenge is in beta, CometTheRobot warns to "expect bugs, glitches, the odd crash, and possible memory leaks."
Back to the ‘90s
Midnight Challenge isn’t the only indie project in development as a tribute to classic ’90s arcade racers. If you prefer Sega Rally over Ridge Racer, Over Jump should be on your radar. Whereas Midnight Challenge features retro-style graphics, Over Jump is dubbed as an unofficial remake with modern visuals powered by Unreal Engine 5.
Midnight Jump and Over Jump don’t have release dates yet. But if you need your retro racing fix, the Virtua Racing-inspired New Star GP is hitting the grid in March.
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