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Night-Runners Prologue demo is a stylish throwback to PlayStation racing classics

Restore your feeling

A dodgy character calls to offer to clear your debits if you lose a race in Night-Runners.
Image credit: Planet Jem

I've entered a stage in my life during which I have enormous nostalgia for the PlayStation era, and most of that nostalgia is focused on racing games and drum and bass. Enter Night-Runners, a racing game set between 1990 and 2009, scored by drum and bass, smeared with VHS filters, and just for good measure, set on and around the expressways of Tokyo.

There's a Kickstarter for the project now, but also a substantial prologue demo on Steam that's worth your time.

This trailer will tell you everything you need to know:

Night-Runners Prologue trailer.Watch on YouTube

There are plenty of retro racing games around, but few that feel as simultaneously fresh as this. The expressways you're driving around are an open world, with challenges undertaken in order to climb the ranks of illegal street racing, improve your reputation, and pay your debts to some shady characters.

It goes so far as to let you walk around on foot at times, either to talk to other racers or to customise your car - which also requires maintenance and upgrading if you're going to remain competitive as the different kinds of races become harder.

I admit, I'm here mostly for the atmosphere. The obvious point of comparison is the Tokyo Xtreme Racer series, which was likewise about street racing around Japan's capital at night. I think you can also think of it as an after-dark spin on the more popular Ridge Racer, though.

You can head to Steam to download the demo for free now. If it's appealing, you can back it on Kickstarter. They're aiming to have the game complete by May 2025.

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