Air Race Speed is the most recent attempt at the futuristic racing scene. The game challenges you, a brave new pilot of the futuristic ships to go faster than any human before.
The setting and idea holds promise but unfortunately the execution falls short of what could have been the next Wipeout-esque game on Vita.
The game tasks you with completing each tack within a certain time limit, the faster you go the more stars you earn and the more you unlock. It’s simple and unfortunately betrays otherwise good gameplay, actual racing or other game modes would have helped bring more life to the game but alas time trials will make up the bulk of your experience.
Once you are on the tracks themselves the controls and mechanics are nice and simple allowing you to focus on the piloting, you can steer using either the sticks or utilising the motion controls. Using the motion controls felt overly sensitive and lacked the refined control necessary to navigate the tighter parts of the track.
The tracks themselves are wonderfully designed, offering multiple routes with some great opportunities for thrilling manoeuvres, nothing beats making snap decisions swerving to avoid certain doom whilst travelling at insane speeds. It’s here that the lack of racing in the game hurts most, I can’t help but feel that racing against actual opponents on these tracks would have created some intense fun moments.
Despite the limited gameplay, the game does offer plenty of content to make up for it, with 36 tracks, a selection of ships to master and plenty of times to beat. You’ll be spending plenty of time in later levels trying to find the optimal route to shave off those precious seconds. As well as the traditional timed stages, there are other special stages that alter the challenge. Some simply require you to survive increasingly difficult tracks in an endless runner type mode whilst another mode requires you to fly through checkpoints requiring more precise piloting skills.
Moving on from the gameplay the presentation is rather plain, certain portions of circuits quickly become long repetitive tunnels occasionally broken up by more interesting locales. The graphics suffice but with the wonderful tracks of Wipeout as a benchmark we know we can get better. It’s clear this was game designed for phones first. The soundtrack is as you’d expect for a futuristic racer, bass heavy electronic soundtracks. It’s not unbearable but not very memorable either, it does the job of backing the high-speed action.
Air Race Speed attempts to bring its take on futuristic racing to the Vita, whilst the well-designed tracks and straightforward gameplay are worth a look the game is let down by a lack of compelling gameplay options, for a game called Air Race Speed there isn’t a lot of racing to be found here.