Low Grav Racer in Review – F-Zero meets Roadblasters meets Need for Speed

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My experience with racers goes back to the original F1 Pole Position, a game which eventually burned out my Atari 2600. I graduated to Battlecars and a much-needed upgrade to the first handheld 16-bit system, the Atari Lynx, and have been trolling last place in racing games ever since. Just last week, I got onto a kick of playing racers again with the recently released Future Racer and have since been looking for a do-it-all racer. Low Grav Racer is a pen-knife among iDevice race games: fast and smooth, it feels like a racer, but adding to the thrill, it supplies you with guns and a determination to inflict damage.

I want to first thank Assyria Games Studio – this isn’t their game, but without the chance to preview Future Racer, I would not have climbed the fence to what I feel is a superior game. What kept me from checking this game out earlier, however, amounts to the childish instinct to judge a book by its cover – I don’t like Low Grav Racer’s its icon. Petty I know, but the App Store is riddled with awful games and I have become a selective surfer who often shuns offerings which don’t meet my fancy.

Here’s to throwing instinct out the window! Low Grav Racer is a graphical tour de force. Sure, there are better looking games on the system, but few that play as smoothly or with as much precision. Even with six ships jockeying for first place amidst explosions and hypnotic overhead 3D objects, Low Grav Racer is a frames per second marvel. Remember your first glimpse at Sega’s . Similarly, its sound is good – mostly. The music isn’t the top-notch techno seen in Future Racer, but it is appropriately fast, catchy and not overly repetitious.

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Where things start to go south is sound effects. They are a throw back to the 80′s, if more advanced. Beeps, boops and swishes can roughly be translated into powerups, crashes and missile fire. Other than that, neither iTunes playback or selection is available to the player so you are stuck with the decently arranged soundtrack. Is there anything to complain about? No, but after experiencing the stunning visuals, the perfunctory sound effect library is disengaging.

Games are rarely, if ever reliant totally upon their graphics and sound (Unreal 2) and I can confidently say that Low Grav Racer is a damn fine game where it counts. There are loads of powerups, 6 competitors, two viewing modes (ship view and cockpit) and a focussed racing engine. The last element is comprised of basic racer niceties like selectable view modes, smooth frame rate, and a racer guidance system. Low Grav Racer isn’t a realistic racer by any stretch of the imagination. Thus, the addition of gutter guard-like control system which won’t allow you to go against traffic is a great idea, especially after inhaling a missile up the backside!

Speaking of missiles, there is really only the homing sort which blows up the backside of your enemies. You can also drop mines and other than that, bump competitors out of the way with your shields, but by and large, the powerups are ‘generic’ if I can apply the word to a game which takes its design cues nearly completely from previous greats.

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The AI are bloody deamonic. Controls are a bit touchy, if I may say so – extremely sensitive and at times, hard to control. The deamoniac competition, however, has no such problems. I am not a talented gamer – you can mark my words on this one – but I have eventually beaten every racer I have played. Low Grav, on either difficulty setting, alpha (easy) or beta (hard), is a nightmare. Any small mistake will keep the other six ships on your tail, or out in front: spots they hate to relinquish.

So what else is there to say? In the genre of 3D F-Zero wannabe’s, there are few contestants, 2 of which I have spent hours on. Perhaps they are the only ones as of now, but only one really shines and that is Low Grav Racer. Look at the iTunes’ raves – they are spot on. Low Grav Racer is a more fully realised racer than many before or after it and even though it suffers from a cheating AI system and lacks iTunes playback, it rocks. Great graphics, great fast gameplay, and a hell of a lot of fun. At 2$, it is more expensive than Future Racer, but while Assyria Game Studio’s game is a decent racer, Low Grav Racer is a worthwhile grab.

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App Summary
Title:Low Grav Racer (V 1,4)Developer:Cobra Mobile
Price:$1.99App Size:25 MB
  • Great graphics
  • Decent soundtrack
  • Smooth FPS
  • Goodly number of powerups
  • Sense of speed is top notch
  • AI is too good
  • No iTunes playback

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TouchMyApps loves race games probably almost as much as it loves the iPhone itself. We never write in hyperbole, so trust our judgement about the below games ;)
Future Racer Preview – Real Racing in Review — Artificial Life and Red Bull Racing — Need for Speed Undercover in Review

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