Published on September 27th, 2013 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
AiRace Speed Review
Claustrophobia is something I don’t dabble in. It makes me get panicky, and I can’t stand not being able to escape small enclosed spaces. Getting the hell out of there as fast as possible then becomes my MO. With that in mind, AiRace Speed satisfies both the need to escape, and to high-tail it out of there.
Platform: Nintendo 3DS (eShop)
Release Date: September 20, 2013
Review Notes: A code for the game was received for review purposes.
For fans of games like Wipeout and Hydro Thunder, you will find similarities in style in AiRace Speed. The ship in which you are zipping through tunnels in resemble those of Wipeout. Even the hovering style in which it is done is similar. If it’s speed you’re looking for, then there is hope. Much like Hydro Thunder, the game trains you to not just go fast, but fly through at turbo speeds through the entirety of the race. In fact, it’s almost essential.
The biggest difference is that AiRace pulls off similar racing elements and does them flawlessly in 3D. There are few games that can match this graphical prowess on the ‘3DS console, but this racer seems to pull it off with ease.
So, how does AiRace differ from other racing titles out there? Well, there are a few things which make this a different style of speeder. For starters, there aren’t any other opponents in the game. Instead, the biggest challenge is you. Your skills will determine if you can make that hairpin turn or avoid that bowed archway. You must do so to complete the given track and do this with a winning time. Other hindrances come in the form of land obstacles. From broken blast doors, to hammering pistons, there are many ways to destroy the perfect run you were lining up.
The racing itself is pretty straight forward, literally. Flying through the tunnels can come in the form of a straight sprint or a lapped race. The curves and snake-like turns will bring you back to the beginning, most times, and ready for another lap. Most times it feels as though you are speeding through tunnels until a 90-degree turn is needing to be made for a shortcut. This probably sounds a lot easier than it actually is.
There is an array of options to make sure that you can control your experience in any way you see fit. Moving your ship is done with the swivel pad or the use of the stylus. However, the stylus option was nowhere near as responsive as ye’old button controls. The ‘L’ and ‘R’ shoulder buttons allow you to tilt your ship for necessary sharp maneuvers. The ‘A’ button is your turbo while the ‘B’ button is used for air brakes.
The game is fast, and if you don’t think you are going to crash, you will. Many times. Many, many times actually. The game docks you three seconds for each crash, unless it is a distance run. In this case you are given a limited amount of lives and must travel the designated distance in order to win that metal. So, a bronze may have you travel 150-miles, while obtaining a silver medal might be 250-miles. As you travel further there are tighter spaces to squeeze through and come out unscathed.
Much like any other racing title out there, AiRace hosts a variety of vehicles. Each vehicle, or ship, has different attributes. These are similar to other racers being that they vary in speed, agility or shield. Ships are not chosen but designated by level. The shield also plays a part in the level. As you hit the sides of a tunnel your shield lowers in power. Going without hitting anything will allow it to regenerate. Dropping the shield will leave you to explode and start over. And, if you are in a pinch for time, might throw more than just the race. And, my ‘3DS is now cracked.
Keeping with the game’s fast pace is its soundtrack. The game features upbeat digital jams that carry you along through your space race. This was one are that further showed off the games polish. Beats were different, catchy, and didn’t become annoying after countless hours of playing.
Other aesthetically pleasing elements to the game can be found in multiple departments. The graphics of the game look sharp and damn near perfect. The game shows off smooth textures when barreling down shaped tunnels, and opens up into detailed space haul interiors. The game also features achievements and online leaderboards.
After playing through the game for some time, it’s hard to say there are any gripes or complaints. New levels are unlocked with more medals earned, even giving the game higher replay value. It almost reminds me of the very under-appreciated title, Nano Assault.
AiRace Speed is a fast paced and fun game. There are plenty of challenges throughout the game, whether those are the obstacles or beating your best time.
Medals are earned and they unlock new levels. There are also a variety of ships and different attributes for each of them. So, the experience doesn’t stay the same through the course of the game. This will also help out considering the game is perfectly polished visually, and plays in 3D quite well. To help you out, there are also a variety of button configurations, but the stylus option isn’t the best in the world.
AiRace Speed is one of the most solid Nintendo 3DS titles to hit the eShop. And, for $4.99, it’s a steal.