Game review by Steve Cullum
Game – AiRace Speed
Version – 3DS eShop
Rating – E for Everyone
Original Price – $4.99
Obtained – Review Copy from QubicGames
Following up on the original AiRace for DSiWare, QubicGames brings the speed this time. In AiRace Speed, your objective is to finish each high-speed track as fast as you can, all while avoiding obstacles and crazy turns. The question, though, is if it has what it takes to keep you coming back for more.
Story and Plot
As with many games in the racing genre, there is not really a story here. You are the pilot of five high-speed jets, and it is your objective to fly them as fast and accurately as possible through 18 courses. Not only is it your goal to complete them, but you also will want to get your fastest time, because you will be matched up with your friends and others online (with leaderboards that refresh very quickly). It does not stop there, though, because there is also a list of 42 achievements to earn throughout the game. In the end, I am glad there is no story to muddy the waters. This is the type of game where I want to get in and start racing against the clock, and I am thankful QubicGames did not add extra fluff where it was not needed.
Gameplay and Controls
Racing games usually lack in story, but one area in which they must accel is the gameplay and controls. AiRace Speed does that well, and it keeps it simple. As stated earlier, your goal is to get to the end of each track. How do you do it? You will control your aircraft in a third-person view with the Circle Pad or the Control Pad. The A button gives you a constant nitro boost, while the B button puts on the brakes. The L and R bumpers will let you roll your jet to each side. Like I said, the controls are simple, and that is a good thing. This puts more of the focus on perfecting your flying ability instead of learning complicated controls. You may also use the touch-screen controls, but I felt more comfortable using the buttons. They felt very fluid, and I did not have any issues.
The name of the game is Speed, and that is exactly what you are trying to do — speed through the track. There are some check-points along the way, so if you crash, you can respawn. Keep in mind, though, that a crash equals a three-second time penalty on your overall time. If you do not think it is worth it, you can restart the entire track very quickly. In fact, that is another positive element of speed in the game. There are basically no load times. If you want to restart a track, you will be right back at the beginning in no time.
Graphics and Sound
After looking at the previous AiRace game on DSiWare, Speed steps it up significantly. The shadows and textures look very good in both 2D and 3D. There is something to keep in mind, though. The game looks much better in 3D. In fact, it allows full submersion within the game, as you really get the feel of flying through these tunnels at a high speed. Unfortunately, though, as with many racing games, you might have a tendency to turn your 3DS or move it slightly as you speed through the tracks. When you do this, the 3D does go in and out of focus, which can cause you to crash. If you race in 2D, this problem goes away, but it is harder to tell depth. So, I recommend trying to stay as still as possible, and play it in 3D. There are a few bits of information on both screens, as to provide you with your time, progression, and health, but you will not find yourself looking at that, because you want to keep both eyes on the path ahead.
The music and sound for AiRace Speed fit very well. The music is a collection of tunes that make you feel as if you are in space. In fact, I would compare it to something like Metroid. You may not get the same eerie feeling of solitude, but there is a similarity in the style. All the sound effects are top-notch, as they complement the music to create a feeling of flying through these tunnels at high speeds. While the 3DS speakers do a good job, I highly recommend grabbing a pair of headphones while playing AiRace Speed for full immersion.
Final Score: 10 out of 10
If you are in the mood for a high-speed jet racer, then look no further than AiRace Speed. You will soon find yourself saying, “Just one more time,” over and over again as you try to beat your own, friends’, and others’ best times. Download it today, because you will not be disappointed.
+ Simple controls.
+ Immersive 3D graphics and sound.
+ Online leaderboards that don’t take forever to refresh.
+ No fluffy story.
- Only 5 jets and 18 tracks; I want more of this goodness.
AIRACE SPEED TRAILER