The online patch has now arrived on Nintendo Switch! I’ve been playing it for a few weeks now, and thought it was a good time to do another writeup on it with the game currently on sale in Nintendo’s eShop Multiplayer promotion. You can read more about the game itself in my previous writeup here, but this one will be strictly about the online. Who’s ready to drive safely and considerately into the first corner with me? Nah? Okay well, I’ll spend the next few paragraphs catching you up.
In the brand new “Online” menu addition you have options for Quick Race, joining a friends race, and custom cups with your own set of rules. Apart from custom cups with 1 person, the most success I’ve had in finding games so far has been the Quick Race event. This is a randomised series that can give you any kind of mode, track, or car. It’s quite a fun format and forces you to adapt to new cars and tracks constantly, which can turn the tables and bring about new winners each race. It’s quite a nervous run to the first corner when you’re not sure how your car is going to control. I’ve found a lot of success braking slightly earlier while everyone goes wide off the track.
The online is quite feature-rich, but an odd thing missing is the ability to add people or block people. For some reason, nobody you play online with shows up in “recently played with” list on the Switch itself. Do these people really exist? Is this just a simple oversight from people making their first online Switch game? There is however a nice feature some other games don’t have, the ability to name yourself in the game. Instead of quitting to the main Switch menu you can just do it in the game without rebooting everything. I’ve seen some people get creative and make their name their Switch friend-code. Yep, there’s more than 10 characters allowed too, exciting times.
Online racing is limited to 8 people per lobby but it has been nice to see people from so many different countries, as your flag is displayed next to your name. I’ve had some lobbies where all 8 players were from different countries, it feels pretty wholesome. I haven’t seen many other genres of videogame bring vastly different people together like this.
I’m not tryna brag with those points…. it just happens when you play a long session. You start at 0 when you enter the lobby and just accumulate them until you stop playing. All they really do is decide your grid position, which admittedly helps to avoid crashes on the first corner. Another tip is that you’ll get a better launch off the start with traction control off. With the Pro Controller’s 100% throttle it’s a little hard to control corner exits, but I find the slower cars the most manageable and worth the good start.
In terms of lag I haven’t had too many issues, just a couple of cars like THIS that jump around, and one or two disconnections.
It’s been smooth for the most part and the biggest challenge is just giving other drivers space and avoiding crashes. Please brake at the first corner and drive respectfully… it’s very easy to crash into people and proves nothing but your lack of skill. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having a good crack as well.
A bizarre feature that seems to break the space-time continuum is the ability to use 3 rewinds per race. Wait… rewind time in real-time with other players online, how is this possible? It simply acts as a way to “reposition” your car a little bit further back with all four wheels on the road. You will lose quite a few seconds of time, but it’s worth it to keep your car on the road in one piece. I mostly use this just to get rid of any damage caused in a crash, and it’s especially helpful in the first corner. I didn’t actually know this existed for a few days and mostly try to avoid it, but it’s definitely better to use this than sit out of the race. Most of the Quick Race events have damage turned on which would be a disaster without this feature.
The crowds are out in full force for the 2020 season, it’s a nice way to pretend that the world is functioning. Grid Autosport initially came out in 2014 on older platforms, then was released again on Switch last year by Feral Interactive who have taken the game to new heights. One of the nicest things about the online is the balance, I’m just a medium-skilled racer myself and I’ve managed to win a lot of races, and occasionally raced some people who wiped the floor with me which I respected. GRID Autosport now includes support for Labo, the Hori Switch racing wheel, as well as the GameCube controller for analog throttle. Unfortunately it doesn’t show you other’s people’s assists or control methods online with a gold wheel like Mario Kart, but the options are plentiful.
GRID Autosport was already worth buying for the single player variety and Switch optimisations, but now the online mode has really delivered something special. If you like realistic racing this is the best racing game on Switch. It’s a complete package now and I hope to see more people of all skill levels online. If you want to see more footage I captured an hour of gameplay here, and feel free to drop by my stream at twitch.tv/grubdog. This appears to be the last update for the game, but with a fairly cheap price, great gameplay, potential physical version on the way, and an active community we can keep it going. Keep your foot on the pedal and stay in the fight, you got this.