AiRace Xeno (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Jacob 20.06.2014

Review for AiRace Xeno on Nintendo 3DS

AiRace Xeno comes from a series of racing games that originally started on Nintendo DSiWare - AiRace Tunnel and AiRace - before making the jump to 3DS eShop. Xeno is the second game to be released on Nintendo's current handheld and brings with it some serious speed. QubicGames might just have an answer here for F-Zero fans long neglected by Nintendo.

AiRace Xeno demands much of the player - lightning reflexes and second nature mastery of the simple racing controls. However, once those things come it gives vastly in return. It's one of those rare experiences that could only be this good on Nintendo's handheld, with the 3D cranked all the way. In a word, AiRace Xeno is exhilarating.

It's a feast for the senses and instantly immersive; players may find themselves ducking out of sheer reflex after a near miss at 610 MPH. It is the sort of title that can be recommended for every 3DS owner just so that on occasion they can take it for a spin to feel their adrenaline pumping, and at $2.50 there is little excuse not to take the plunge.

Controls are straightforward: move the craft with the analogue stick. Technically that's the only thing needed to play as the racer self-propels without the need of a button press. However, one can nitro forward at significantly higher speeds with the A button (playing with the nitro on the entire time is the best way to experience this title) or brake with the B button for more control. The left and right shoulder buttons allow rolls to either side.

At this speed crashes are inevitable. In the beginning, the player may crash a dozen times a race, but this is never too annoying as the game uses a forgiving checkpoint system. The player will be back on the course racing within seconds. As the player's proficiency improves, they will find that the crashes become rarer until even reaching the level of finishing courses with nary a collision.

Screenshot for AiRace Xeno on Nintendo 3DS

With this rising proficiency comes better racing times - players will see the medal they have earned for each race go from bronze, to silver, to gold as the seconds come off the clock. Medal collecting in these races is for more than just bragging rights; good trials are needed for further tracks to be unlocked. In addition, the game features online leader boards, so beyond just besting personal times, players can see how they stack up against the rest of the world. Xeno also features achievements that record the usual sort of things: laps completed without crashing, time played, and so on.

Now that it is established that AiRace Xeno is sublime, it is time to cover the aspects that aren't as stellar. For one, where are the other racers? The player is entirely left alone - there's no GP mode, no multiplayer, and no AI opponents. There's only time trial and on one track; an infinite drive mode that tests survivability rather than speed. In this way, the game sort of feels like a tech demo.

The game also advertises three different vehicles, but there really is no choice in the matter as it is tied to the level. Fall in love with one and want to take it for a spin on a different track? No can do. Though, to be honest, anyone will be hard pressed to tell the difference between the racers, with them all handling nearly identically. A little more variety would have been nice!

In addition to the limited mode choice, track selection isn't very large either. There's only nine to go through, and while each one is well made and possesses its own unique challenges, they don't take long to master. Obstacles in each track are also often reused, lending a sort of "haven't I crashed into you before?" feel, even when on a new stage. The content is definitely on the lower end of the scale, but then that's what makes the price fair.

Ultimately, AiRace Xeno leaves gamers wanting more - a good thing for QubicGames. It has another budget-priced title in the eShop called AiRace Speed, but it would be much more compelling to see what the team would be capable of with a larger release. Add in a GP mode with other racers, plus a robust multiplayer suite, and there could be a legitimate hit here.

Screenshot for AiRace Xeno on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

AiRace Xeno is rather short on content, but what little is here delivers a real punch. This is a pulse-pounding twitch racer that flies fast and smooth, delivering exhilarating fun to 3DS owners. At $2.50 there's little reason not to give this one a download unless totally averse to the racing genre. Here's hoping that the QubicGames team grows more ambitious and delivers a full retail title in the near future.

Developer

Qubic

Publisher

Qubic

Genre

Driving

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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