AiRace Xeno (Nintendo 3DS) Second Opinion Review

By Stephan 06.07.2014 2

Review for AiRace Xeno on Nintendo 3DS

The concept of AiRace Xeno is simple: race against the clock through sci-fi 3D tunnels. Press A to go faster, B to go slower, but the only way to really play is to go faster! The AiRace series often gets compared to F-Zero, but that doesn't do the game justice. The only thing the two have in common is racing in space; AiRace is different enough to be its own successful series. Racing fans that played the previous 3DS game, AiRace Speed, will know what to expect. Xeno has new levels, but other than that doesn't really add anything new. Newcomers will be in for a sweet ride, though. Following on from the original US review, get ready for the European perspective in this C3-2-1 special: Cubed3, 2 reviewers, 1 great game!

After mastering the controls, it is awesome "don't blink, don't think" racing action. At the best moments, the game feels like replaying epic escape scenes from Star Wars. Each of the nine levels consists of several laps, with every lap having multiple save points. Scraping along the wall isn't a big issue; the biggest danger is crashing into an obstacle. A crash puts the race ship back at the latest save point and adds a three-second penalty to the timer, and with each new lap, the ship's speed increases a bit.

The game looks gorgeous, with beautifully carved levels, and the 3D effect makes everything even prettier and more immersing. The game also has touch controls, but they are so unresponsive that it's a mystery why they were added in the first place.

The difficulty is just about right as well. Bronze medals aren't too hard to get after just 10 minutes with the game, and then after having played a level several times it makes it rather easy to get a silver medal. As for the gold medals, they do provide some extra challenge: even constantly boosting and no crashing do not warrant gaining the coveted gold medal. One of the levels included is an 'endless' level, and here it is not a race against the clock, rather a survival mode. With every lap, the speed increases, and the goal is to survive for as many kilometres as possible. It's a nice concept, yet it would have been nice if all levels came with an 'endless' option.

Screenshot for AiRace Xeno on Nintendo 3DS

After getting gold medals, the online leader-boards give reason to replay the levels for even faster times. The game also has fun achievements like "Fly 120 seconds with the nitro constantly running and without crashing" and "Complete five full levels without touching any wall."

Even though the game does what it wants to do, there seems to be something missing. The world can feel dead and empty; it's Star Fox without the shooting, it's F-Zero without any opponents. That's the biggest problem with AiRace Xeno: racing against the clock gets repetitive after a while. Those moments that feel like Star Wars don't happen quite often enough. The game would greatly benefit from something simple as racing against other players' ghosts, whilst a multiplayer mode would have been even better. Perhaps that can be included in a future instalment, QubicGames?

Some notes for people who already played AiRace Speed: this game feels more like an add-on than a true sequel. A big change is the lack of moving objects in the levels. Speedhad rotating and moving elements that could cause frustrating crashes, whereas this game removes them, which makes for a less random and more streamlined experience overall.

Screenshot for AiRace Xeno on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

AiRace Xeno is a solid game from developer QubicGames. It comes with good graphics, tight controls and, at times, some really thrilling racing action. However, the racing aspect alone feels outdated. There is definitely a feeling that something is missing in the game. Saying that, players who are more than satisfied with the Time Trial-only nature of this are certainly going to be in for a treat, all for the very pocket-friendly price of €2.49/£2.29.

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   

Comments

My first C3 review! Smilie

Smilie Congratulations! It does sound like a great racing experience, and much better than the twitch-fest of AiRace Speed, which was just too unforgiving at times.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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