Air Race Speed (iOS) Review

By Lex Firth 27.09.2014 1

Review for Air Race Speed on iOS

The AiRace series has admittedly flown under the radar of many Nintendo gamers. First released as the small-scale AiRace Tunnel in 2010 on DSiWare, and later expanded in the same year as AiRace, it was received warmly, but didn't manage to set Nintendo's digital distribution platform on fire. 2013 saw a 3DS sequel that substituted the realistically-styled planes for a more futuristic aesthetic in AiRace Speed, followed by 2014 entry AiRace Xeno. It's the third version that comes to iOS a year later, with a moderately changed name. That's not all that's changed - there are more tracks than the original's 18, and motion controls serve to shake up the action. Does this make for an essential purchase in the way that the series has failed to do since its DS origins? In a word: yes.

Air Race Speed focuses more on the "speed" aspect of the title rather than the "race," as players attempt to fly various spacecraft through unpopulated obstacle courses at breakneck pace in what can best be described as a 31st-century Hole in the Wall. The game's basic premise is unchanged from the 3DS version, with developer QubicGames' philosophy being to simply expand the amount of content on offer. Thankfully, with the original already being a pleasant product, this has enjoyable results.

Rather than be restrained by the 3DS' Circle Pad controls, this edition features motion controls - the spacecraft moves with a tilt of the device, and it works fantastically. An on-screen joystick is also an option, but causes the view of the playing field to be obscured and is much harder to control - the motion controls are much more highly recommended. With fluid movement and constant automatic recalibration, it never feels like the game's fault, but rather the player's when the craft is sent hurtling straight into a wall.

Screenshot for Air Race Speed on iOS

Speaking of crashing, players can expect that to happen a lot - Air Race Speed doesn't go easy on anyone, especially not completionists. While some may be content to adopt a "Sunday driving" approach, floating through the twisted tunnels and avoiding the torrents of obstacles at a leisurely pace, QubicGames has other ideas, keeping later levels locked until the right amounts of stars (obtained by completing courses within time limits) are reached. To do this, players must make good use of a turbo button that takes the spacecraft from a manageable stroll through space to an uncontrollable blur of action, creating an interesting gameplay dynamic: ease off the acceleration and reach the goal without unlocking later levels, or fly through the stage at the risk of crashing and incurring time penalties?

There are plenty of reasons to try earning these stars, too. Masochists will be delighted to know that there's a wealth of vehicles to be unlocked, each one faster and harder to manage than the last, while stars also allow players to enter bonus levels, sending them into specific craft to fly through rings in order within an allotted time - a simple task on paper, but one that ultimately leaves the craft flying wildly all over the playing field and more often than not straight into a wall. At the end of each of the three "tiers" of levels lies an endless stage which, though difficult, is where players will spend the majority of their time and ensure that this stays on the device's home screen for as long as possible.

It's difficult to fault Air Race Speed at all. While it wins no points for originality and is virtually identical to its 3DS cousin, save for a few extra stages, it does exactly what it sets out to do. While it can sometimes be too frustrating for its own good - especially after finishing a three-minute course only to find that the end result wasn't fast enough to unlock the next stage - it's an entertaining, addictive, and well-presented experience that doesn't deserved to be overlooked.

Screenshot for Air Race Speed on iOS

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

If Air Race Speed was good on the 3DS, then it's fantastic on iOS - Apple device owners owe it to themselves to pick this one up. Charmingly simple but deceptively addictive gameplay with a gorgeous lick of paint over the top, QubicGames' efforts have made the leap from console to mobile with excellent results. While owners of the 3DS version may be hesitant to pay the extra entrance fee just to sample a small handful of new levels, newcomers to the series will find a lot to enjoy here.

Developer

QubicGames

Publisher

QubicGames

Genre

Driving

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

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

This is fantastic to see! I love the AiRace series. I wonder if they changed the name for iOS to make it more recognisable that it's Air Race rather than AI Race - Artificial Intelligence Race??

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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