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iPhone  header logo

Speed Forge Extreme

For: iPhone

Far from F-Zero out of ten

Product: Speed Forge Extreme | Developer: Ratsquare | Publisher: Chillingo | Format: iPhone | Genre: Racing | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Speed Forge Extreme iPhone, thumbnail 1
Brave are the films, TV shows, albums, and games that leave their best until last. People rarely have time to get beyond the opening few minutes of anything these days, which puts Speed Forge Extreme at something of a disadvantage.

Like a racer stalking at the back of the grid until the final corner, this is a game intent on delivering the goods on its own terms. That means Speed Forge Extreme seems a little unspectacular at the start.

Tilt for victory

More F-Zero than WipEout, the game sees you taking charge of an assortment of hovercraft (better ships available as you progress) battling it out across a score of futuristic tracks. No multiplayer here - it's all about unlocking stages sequentially with wins.

The default controls are straightforward: automatic acceleration and tilt steering. In fact, Speed Forge Extreme boasts surprisingly responsive tilt controls - deft enough to assure that your vehicle doesn't ping-pong down the track.

In much the same manner as Mario Kart, various weapons boxes litter the track, missiles, mines and lasers all gradually unlocked as you move from course to course. The decision to provide weapons incrementally is an odd one, though their use during races is of greater concern.

Overly forgiving

If there's one area things are off-key its the effect such weapons have. Should you deplete your craft's health either through crashes or being fired upon, you explode and disappear from the track for a few seconds only to appear again moments later, any weapons you had intact again.

What's more, if you happen to be on a clear stretch of track, this has little effect on your progress - any momentum you had stays with you, the game simply wipes you from the screen for a moment.

It's a factor that plays out more heavily in the game's arenas, where racing is cast aside in favour of a good ol' frag battle.

The challenge here is to take out a set number of foes before any of your rivals reach the magic number. However, these arenas are too bland and small to really offer much. You end up running around in circles chasing enemies who seem to be doing the exact same thing - it's like a dog chasing its own tail.

Right at home

If this is the game's Achilles's heel, then the races - especially the latter ones - are its strength. The course designs steadily improve from one to the next with the addition of boost pads, shields, and repair junctions that fix up your ship mid-race, contributing to a series of thrilling contests.

All such elements are par for the course for such racers and, on the whole, this isn't the most original of packages - the mere concept begs, steals, and borrows from the leagues of space races that have graced consoles over the years.

However, despite the odd fault here and there, Speed Forge Extreme is actually a racer that feels entirely suited to iPhone, rather than the result of a conglomerate of fudged controls and design concessions. Far from perfect, then, but it still manages to secure a podium finish.
Speed Forge Extreme
Reviewer photo
Keith Andrew | 22 December 2009
Despite not offering anything revolutionary and lacking multiplayer, Speed Forge Extreme manages to do something even more impressive: feel entirely at home on iPhone
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