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3DS  header logo

AiRace Xeno


For: 3DS

No breathing space

Product: AiRace Xeno | Publisher: Qubic Games | Format: 3DS | Genre: Racing | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
AiRace Xeno 3DS, thumbnail 1
AiRace Xeno is the sequel to last year's against-the-clock 3DS space racer, AiRace Speed.

There are nine sci-fi themed levels to turbo-charge your way through, two different game modes (Time Trial and Survival), and three different jets.

First things first. AiRace Xeno is a very good looking game. The environments are smooth, crisp, and richly detailed, and there are some impressive lighting effects too.

The notorious jaggies that plague other 3DS games are also surprisingly rare. And despite all this glitz, the game rarely suffers from frame-rate drops - even at the highest speeds.

Shiny

The sound is less impressive, however. The background music is dull, repetitive electronica, and there's no way to turn it off.

There's also very little aural feedback. Your ship makes a slight windy sound when you use your thrusters, and that's it. You don't even get an impressive explosion when you inevitably crash at top speed.

Luckily the gameplay makes up for the rubbish noises. AiRace Xeno is a challenging game that demands very precise control. Thankfully the handling is more than up to the task.

You should definitely use the 'button mode' control method over the stylus though. The game is designed around the Circle Pad, and using a stylus to move is sluggish, imprecise, and frankly awful.

Your jets come equipped with all the typical trimmings: a brake, a nitro-boost, and the ability to barrel roll. Mastering the use of all three is the key to success.

The only major complaint about the game stems from its longevity. It's just too short. You can see all there is to offer in each of the nine levels in about an hour or two.

Yes, there are achievements to unlock, and getting the gold star on certain levels is no mean feat, but the game still feels a little sparse.

Space spice

Multiplayer would have been a fantastic addition. Racing against friends and foes would have more than made up for the single player mode's lack of variety.

But that lack of variety runs through the game. You'll often see recognisable areas recycled in later levels.

Some of them do tweak things around, though. Corners you used to be able to take at top speed drop obstacles in front of you, and once open straights narrow to tight gaps.

The jets suffer from a similar fate. They might look different, but all three handle in remarkably similar ways.

Despite this, AiRace Xeno is a fun and forgettable one-evening affair. And if you take a real shine to it, the achievements, gold stars, and leaderboards will keep you playing for a good while.
 
AiRace Xeno
Reviewer photo
Glen Fox | 2 July 2014
A fun, gorgeous, and well put-together space racer that, despite lacking features, is an absolute bargain for those who take to it
 
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