Expansion Pack –
Last fall QubicGames released AiRace Speed to the 3DS eShop, a sequel to a couple of DSiWare racers. With its low price point, solid use of stereoscopic 3D, and highly competitive leaderboards, this futuristic racer stood as a sleeper hit for Nintendo’s downloadable service. Now, about nice months later, QubicGames has released AiRace Xeno as a standalone title but is basically just an expansion pack to AiRace Speed – which isn’t bad by any means.
Outside of a handful of new tracks, Xeno plays, looks and feels exactly like Speed. Vehicles all handle the same and the player does not even have the option to switch between them, the opening FMV is recycled (but still looks really good despite lacking 3D support), and the menu system, UI and even the loading bar are salvaged from the first eShop title. Yeah, it is a little disappointing to see so many reused assets but given the low price point I am actually ok with this. Not sure why this package of new tracks was not released as DLC instead of a new title but Xeno is the same quality of AiRace Speed and still works just fine as a standalone download.
Unlike pretty much every other racing game, Xeno and Speed are purely a single player experience. With no option to upgrade or swap vehicles, attack enemies with power ups, or even run over speed boosts, this 3D tunnel racer is built around track memorization and shaving that half second off your total time. Most tracks only take around two minutes to complete which makes the online leaderboard functionality even more competitive. The friendly in-game interface also keeps track of the player’s speed and distance to the finish and a lenient checkpoint system keeps the inevitable high speed crashes from being too frustrating.
Besides being a somewhat limited single racer experience, unlocking content is a bit of a chore. In order to unlock the next track, a specific medal, bronze, silver, or gold, needs to be obtained. Using this format requires some mastery, patience and dedication to see everything there is to offer but furthers the quest to earn a higher rank on the leaderboards. However, some players might not have the dedication or skill to unlock the final few tracks. A couple dozen built-in achievements are also available but only rabid fans will aim to unlock them all even though it is still a nice touch and adds a small amount of replayability. Luckily, seeing your rank on the online leaderboards is just a button press away and uploads instantly.
The kicker behind this sequel is the low price point. For a meager $2.49, this is worthy of a purchase even if you are remotely interested in racing titles. Unless Nintendo makes a new F-Zero on 3DS or the Vita sees a new Wipeout, this is probably one of the best ways to get your high speed racing fix, and all for a low price.
On Par With: AiRace Speed
Play It With: the 3D slider cranked to the max
Also Try: Star Fox 64 3D
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com