Air Race Speed in Review – No Opponents But Still A Blast

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Typically I’m not a big fan of racing games that don’t have bullets flying and power ups galore, and it’s even less likely that I’ll play such a game when there are no opponents to be found.  There are certainly exceptions to the rule, however, and Air Race Speed has become one of them.  Despite often being frustrating, what makes this shine are the tracks, and with 36 of them it should take you a while before you’ve either mastered them or gotten bored.  It might not have all the bells and whistles like ammunition or car upgrades, but it manages to get the adrenaline pumping, and that’s the best thing that can be said for a racing game in my opinion.

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The goal of Air Race Speed is simple: get the best time you can in each of the 36 different tracks the game provides.  Sounds easy enough, but I guarantee the tracks will do everything in their power to make sure you don’t complete your mission.  Every track is full of twists and turns, and many of them have mini-mazes, which I personally despise mainly because I can’t navigate them quickly and I can never remember the short path to take through them.  Thankfully no matter how often you crash you can simply continue to try and beat the track.  The problem is that every time you crash you’ll be taken back to the last checkpoint you cleared, AND 3 seconds will be added to the clock in addition to the time you’ll have to make up flying part of the course over again.  3 seconds doesn’t sound like a lot, but when your ranking is based solely on time every second matters.

To control your craft you just tilt the device, and if you want to go faster you can hit the boost button.  Boost is unlimited, but sometimes you might find it too difficult to navigate a particular area if you continually depress the boost button.  On the other hand, if you avoid it in hopes of having much better control of your device, you could have issues making the times necessary to earn more stars.  There is a calibrate option though it doesn’t really seem to do much, and other than deciding to use the boost or not there are no sensitivity options that I’m aware of.

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There are currently 3 tiers of tracks as well as several bonus levels.  Each track carries a 3 star ranking based on time, and unlike many similar games you can definitely complete a course without earning any stars.  This is okay to unlock additional tracks, but if you want to earn better ships you need to get as many stars as you can.  The last level of each tier is endless, and instead of ranking based on time you rank based on total distance travelled in one run.  You get three lives on these levels, but it appears that only your highest distance of the three is used instead of a sum of the runs.  On the bonus levels, not only are you ranked on time, but in order to successfully complete each level you must fly through all the rings on that level.  There are 40 achievements to earn, and there is actually an individual leaderboard for every single course in the game.

The visuals are just as amazing as the track designs themselves.  I was flying through one of the most recent ones I unlocked and there were scorpions floating in some of the tubes!  Of course you have to be careful because if you spend too much time admiring the scenery you’re bound to crash.  Even the ships look really good, though I wouldn’t say there is anything overly exciting about their designs.  The sound effects are pretty much limited to crashing and the sound of pillars smashing together every once in a while.  A little more ambient noise might have been nice.  The music is decent for what it is, but however you’d describe the style doesn’t really suit me, so I keep it on more so that I can have noise than anything else.

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I like racing games, but typically the ones that attract my attention let me blow things up or lay down some cool power ups.  Air Race Speed is definitely an exception to that rule, and despite having no one to race against in the game I find myself easily hooked every time I launch it.  The visuals are top notch, the tracks are varied and sport some excellent design, and the three star ranking system gives you reason to keep coming back for more.  If I can’t destroy stuff while I’m zipping along the track, this is the next best thing.

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App Summary
Title: Air Race Speed Developer: QubicGames
Reviewed Ver: 1.1 Min OS Req:  iOS 6.0
Price: $2.99 App Size: 245.03MB
  • Lots of well designed tracks
  • Plenty of achievements and leaderboards
  • Excellent visuals
  • Good music if you like the style
  • No way to really tweak the controls
  • Nothing to race against or blow up
  • Lackluster sound effects

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