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3DS  header logo

AiRace Speed

For: 3DS   Also on: iPhone, iPad

Slipstream 5000

Product: AiRace Speed | Publisher: Qubic Games | Format: 3DS | Genre: Racing | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe
 
AiRace Speed 3DS, thumbnail 1
Older readers may remember NGEN Racing, an early-ish polygonal racer featuring air-based vehicles.

To a man obsessed with futuristic racers in his younger years, it was a tantalising glimpse of truly "3D" racing. It hinted at the thrilling possibility presented by polygons: complete freedom of movement in a realistic near-future.

This never happened, of course. But that hasn't stopped Qubic Games taking another swing at the woefully under-represented aircraft racing genre. And by jove, it's got the formula right.

AiRace Speed is a good, if somewhat light, downloadable driving diamond for the future-racing fan.

3D racer

You pilot a futuristic-looking aerial vehicle in an effort to get through a course in as fast a time as possible. Built primarily around time trials, the game's structure makes for a solitary experience of you and your reactions against the course and its hazards.

However, once you've finished a race you can go online and compare your scores with other competitors around the world.

As you'd expect from an aircraft, you can increase and decrease altitude, roll the craft left and right, and control the yaw. Handling is twitchy, but once you've become comfortable with it this sensitivity is a blessing, as your ability to quickly manoeuvre is frequently tested.

You have access to unlimited boost, which hurtles the craft forwards very quickly. You'll need to use this feature to attain the fastest times, but should you collide with any object in the environment head-on your craft will explode, and you'll be sent back to a checkpoint.

There are multiple routes you can take through the levels too, and finding out which route works best for you is essential.

There aren't too many courses on offer, nor many types of gameplay, but what's here is strong. The Survival races, where you fly down a long tube endlessly to see how far you can make it without losing all three lives, are an excellent addition to the time trials - though, again, these are criminally few in number.

Take me down to Mute City, where the grass is non-existent and the girls are 8-bit-y

The landscapes (they can't really be called "tracks") that you race through are deserted, with only automated machines remaining as they go about their pre-programmed tasks.

Though the world is lifeless, it's far from dull or devoid of movement. Courses stretch out into the distance and then start to twist and turn, becoming increasingly claustrophobic as the tunnels narrow, before your craft bursts through and you find yourself in a large generator room buffeted by the turbines.

It's a pity, then, that major sections of the courses are recycled wholesale, and it's even more disappointing that there's no sense of identity to the locales. You might not think that's important to a racer, but the very best in the genre are always memorable for their locations - you'll no doubt recognise names like Mario Circuit, Autumn Ring, and Altima VII.

For the most part the game engine does a good job of rendering the world and the craft you fly in. The framerate can vary wildly when large objects need to be shown on-screen, but it always remains smooth enough to not affect the gameplay.

AiRace Speed represents a good few hours of gaming. It'll take you a couple of hours to unlock everything, and a couple more to get every gold star. It's a game built around time trials, so get used to replaying the same content, but it definitely inspires that compulsion to want to do better.

AiRace Speed is top fun for the WipEout crowd, and worth a look if you're into racing games in general. The controls take a little getting used to, there could be a lot more content for the price, and the presentation isn't quite there, but this is otherwise a very enjoyable, very unusual spin on the racing formula.
 
AiRace Speed
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 23 October 2013
Temperamental controls and B-grade visuals aside, this is a lovely little downloadable racer with a surprisingly compulsive time trial format
 
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