By Jeff Neuenschwander / November 20th, 2013
|Platform||Nintendo 3DS, iOS|
|Release Date||NA, PAL: September 19, 2013|
|Rating||ESRB: E; PEGI: 3; ACB: G|
Have you seen the movie Talladega Nights? Near the end of the film, Will Farrell’s character, Ricky Bobby, gets ready for his big return to NASCAR, but is having issues with the design on his car. His assistant decides to scrap having any sponsor standing out, puts the word “ME” on the front of the hood and—more importantly for this context—the phrase “I Wanna Go Fast” on the back.
I want that phrase on my 3DS. Why? Because of AiRace Speed.
AiRace Speed is a racing game where you pilot various planes through levels that usually have different paths to travel through. If you beat the clock as you race to the finish line, or go far enough in a level, you will unlock the next track. However, once you get to the higher levels, you will need to earn Silver and Gold stars to access the final tracks. It took me a little over 7 hours to unlock the final level.
There are two types of levels that appear in AiRace: the time trial and the untimed distance levels. The time trials are your standard “beat the clock” type levels. And it’s in these levels that you’ll be offered different paths that will vary in difficulty. And unless I’m mistaken, the green and blue paths are easier with yellow and pink being paths of higher difficulty but with the potential of a faster time if successfully navigated. After one lap, the plane will increase in speed. If you crash during these levels, you will be reset at the last check point and given a time penalty (3 seconds early on; 4 seconds in the Silver and Gold star levels).
As for the distance levels, these are basically an on-rails stage where you continually move forward and dodge anything that comes near you. After about four miles, the plane will increase in speed on its own, and you will have to move quicker to dodge. Crash once, and you’ll be reset at the last checkpoint. Crash three times, and the run is over.
I found the levels to be well-designed. The time trial levels were creative with certain hazards in the track, like a giant turbine that would push you certain directions. I also enjoyed the risk/reward of the different paths, allowing you to either fly through one path fairly easily at high speeds or risk a penalty with the more difficult path to get a better time.
There were a couple of issues. First of all, the distance levels seem boring in design. I have no problem with going in a line, but they only use a small handful of obstacles in these levels. It can get challenging as speed increases but I wish there was more variety in these levels, like having to navigate past a turbine or going through an optical illusion where the entrance to a tunnel seems like it’s moving.
Second, the game feels like it’s missing something in the levels. Perhaps, if there was something like a racing with other players element, like in the Time Trials in Mario Kart 7, or maybe if there were a few more levels, this wouldn’t be as much of a problem. But right now, it seems a bit bland.
There can also be an issue of wanting to select different planes for stages, but that’s a very minor complaint, in my opinion. The planes are predetermined beforehand for the level but they will suffice to get the Gold star.
Moving on, if you’re wondering how the game controls, AiRace has good control–assuming you don’t use Stylus Mode for steering (man, that was sluggish). For Button Mode, you move back and forth with the Circle Pad, accelerate using the A Button, brake using the B Button, and tilt the plane using the L and R Buttons. Turning may seem a bit stiff, but is manageable for a couple of reasons. One, you can hit the brake and turn easily. Two, you’re not penalized much for scraping the wall a little. However, if you scrape the wall too much, your plane will be destroyed, and you will start back at the checkpoint.
As for the speed, it’s definitely there. This isn’t a game that throws the word “speed” in the title for giggles. You hit that A Button, and you’ll go flying (in a manner of speaking; technically, you’re already flying in the game). It definitely gives off the feel of going fast.
Graphics look great. The planes look amazing. I can’t recall anytime I had an issue with framerate. And, if you’re looking for a game that really takes advantage of the 3D features, turn on the 3D, and go accelerating throughout the entire level. It’s amazing.
And, I may as well talk about the music. It’s nothing that really stands out, but those beats really work well with the context of the game. I was definitely grooving while I was going through the levels.
Overall, AiRace Speed is a fun game that feels like it’s missing one thing. Whether it is more levels or a Time Trial race with other players is up for you to decide. But, aside from that, this is a well-made game with good controls, a great feeling of 3D, some good techno beats and a feeling of speed that will make anyone say “I wanna go fast!” If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, I suggest you do so.
The Review Copy for AiRace Speed was provided by the publisher.
AiRace Speed is $4.99 on the eShop and also has a demo available.
AiRace SpeedNintendo eShopQubicGames