One of the unexpected gems I happened across during my time at E3 2013 wasn't a huge AAA title or even on offer at Sony or Nintendo's booths.
Instead, it was AiRace Speed
- the 3DS successor to the Pocket Gamer Gold Award-winning DSi classic, AiRace
Like the original AiRace
, the concept behind AiRace Speed
is pretty simple: you hop into a futuristic sci-fi jet and careen through a challenging tunnel full of quick turns, tricky obstacles, and - of course - walls for you to slam into.
Navigation's handled either by the slider pad or stylus - with both options working equally well.
If you've never given AiRace
's touch-based controls a go, you'd be forgiven for thinking that AiRace Speed
is doomed to failure on this front, but the exact opposite is true. From what I played of AiRace Speed
, Qubic Games once again proved that precision can be achieved through use of a stylus.
The graphics on AiRace Speed
are a complete treat as they go whizzing past your eyes, and sliding the 3D up to a comfortable level (about three-quarters full) adds a remarkable amount of depth to the tunnel-based levels.
Obstacles pop out at you with the 3D turned on, and I found myself actually leaning against curves when I took them a bit too quickly. And this was on a standard 3DS - if I ramped up the 3D on an XL, I'd probably need to tie myself to my chair to keep from falling off.
Another new addition to AiRace Speed
is the presence of online ranking via leaderboards. If you're the sort of player who obsesses about chasing down a high score, this will add plenty of replay value to a game that already looks to be quite addictive.
Although I only flew - or, more accurately, crashed - my way through two levels, Qubic assured me that they'll have have a full range of 18 unique tracks available for the 3DS release when it lands on the eShop.
Qubic plans to launch AiRace Speed
in Europe and North America simultaneously over the summer and we were told to expect a July/August release window.
Following the 3DS release, AiRace Speed
will make its way to the App Store for iOS devices.