Re-Volt is a racing game in which players take control of a variety of remote controlled cars (24 in total) and race them on 14 tracks featuring realistic environments such as museums, toy stores, gardens, and suburban neighborhoods. Like many similar games, there were powerups your car could collect to either give yourself an advantage or slow down an opponent.
The game features six different single player game modes:
The player completes multiple races in order to unlock the next three tracks, earning points towards a total based on their finishing position in each race. Although you have a fixed number of laps to race you are allowed to choose the difficulty of the game. There are four different championships to beat: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Each victory in a championship unlocks new cars and the next set of tracks.
In this mode you can drive the tracks reverse, mirrored or both at the same time against the computer AI.
In this mode, there are no opponents or obstacles, and the player is free to drive around the track at his or her leisure. There is a star hidden in a hard-to-reach location of each level. Collecting these stars unlocks more vehicles.
This mode gives the player a set challenge lap time to beat. By attaining these challenge times, players unlock new cars.
The stunt arena is a map exclusive to this mode, and features a loop, many jumps, and a large halfpipe. There are twenty stars hidden throughout the map, and the Clockwork Carnage mode is unlocked when all of the stars have been collected.
In Clockwork Carnage, the player races against twenty-nine other AI opponents. Every player uses the same small, very light, wind-up car.
Re-Volt has thirty-four cars (not counting custom cars) in the PC version of the game, all with different attributes and sorted into five classes, Rookie, Amateur, Advanced, Semi-Pro, and Pro. As one completes challenges for specific levels of tracks, new cars are unlocked. For instance in order to unlock all of the Advanced Cars, a player must complete the Silver Championship, find all of the practice stars in the new tracks in the championship, and place first in a single race on each one.
While there is a large variety of cars in the game, one car is particularly notable for being the best, namely the Pro car Toyeca. In multiplayer matches and overall, Toyeca has the best combination of speed and handling, and is unquestionably the best car to use. This has led to the other cars being completely ignored for the purposes of competitive multiplayer.
The multiplayer mode in Re-Volt consists of two modes, Single Race and Battle Tag.
In Battle Tag mode you start in one of four Arenas, which are reworked versions of the single player maps. The goal in this mode is to obtain a star, which is placed on the map. Every player has a countdown timer, and when one player has possession of the star, the timer counts down. The winner is the player who manages to keep the star until his or her timer runs out. Other players can take the star away from you by bumping into you. Your position on the map is given away on the other players' HUD as long as the star is in your possession.
Single Races are just like the races in single player mode, with the computer players being replaced by human players. The player limit on the console versions is four players, while the PC version allows for up to twelve player races. On consoles the game is played via split screen, while on PC one can play the game via TCP/IP online or in your local network. Microsoft's Zone service as well as the GameSpy Arcade were alternate ways to play this game online.
The PC version of the game is notable for the plethora of custom cars and levels that have been created by the fanbase using the in-game tools (which include a custom track editor and a hidden in-game editing tool) as well as PC modeling programs. A small community has developed dedicated to creating completely original cars as well as repaints of the cars in-game, as well as levels that, in some cases, have been created from scratch.
During the development of Microsoft's online gaming platform Xbox Live, Re-Volt was the first game to be playable online. The game was accessible for Microsoft executives and the press to demonstrate the new service, including competitive online multiplayer and voice chat.
With the five year anniversary of Xbox Live in 2007, Microsoft released an official farewell tribute to Re-Volt on its homepage.
The license and publishing rights to Re-Volt were bought in 2006 by the Canadian game publisher Throwback Entertainment. The publisher also confirmed that a next-generation version of the game is to be expected.
Big Bit released a port of Re-Volt to iOS. Nick Baynes of Big Bit initially hinted at a launch of the port in the weeks around September 2012. "Re-Volt Classic" for iOS was released on October 4th, 2012 with support for iPhone and iPad.