AiRace Xeno (3DS eShop) Review
- Good sense of speed
- Very F-Zero-like
- 3D is utilized well
Not so much?
- A racing game with no real opponents
- No multiplayer either
AiRace Xeno is a fun pick-up-and-play time-attack racing game that gives off an F-Zero vibe, but lacks the ability to actually race against anybody (either real or computer-controlled).
While playing AiRace Xeno for review, I found the experience to be rather nostalgic, and I immediately felt like I was back in the 90s.
AiRace Xeno is a futuristic racing game, where you control an aircraft as you race at break-neck speeds through nine different obstacle-filled tracks. It reminded me a bit of F-Zero on the SNES mixed with the ability to fly through abandoned levels in Descent.
The sense of speed is pretty incredible, or at least it feels like what I would imagine 300+ miles per hour in a spaceship would feel like. The controls seem to work well, you can choose between buttons or touch screen controls, but even at several hundred miles per hour, you’ll need to have some pretty twitchy reflexes to avoid crashing into pillars and obstacles.
The soundtrack is also pretty nice and fits the style and genre well – sort of this electronic/dubstep style, that works well in the background and doesn’t get in the way.
Lastly, AiRace Xeno’s 3D is also well done, but like any 3D game, your mileage may vary. Typically, I like to have just a smidge of 3D when playing 3DS games, but with AiRace, I felt like it was either all or nothing, so I cranked the 3D to max. I never played AiRace for more than 10-15 minutes at a time, and never experienced any eye fatique, but I can imagine the combination of a fast-moving game and having the 3D element maxed out could give people headaches after a significant amount of time.
For all of the things I liked about AiRace Xeno, here come the hard sell: it’s a racing game, but there aren’t actually any opponents. That’s right. There aren’t any AI-controlled racers, and there isn’t an option for multiplayer. The racing element is more about beating your best time, or trying to finish within a timelimit.
The levels feel wide enough to allow for 2-3 opponents comfortably, but anything more would certainly be too crowded. Still, the fact that you’re only racing yourself is sort of a bummer. Apparently, if your friends do own the game, AiRace Xeno does keep track of your friends’ lap times, and you can compete against them – so I suppose there is that.
Replayablity wise, there isn’t a lot, but to encourage players to keep trying and coming back for more, there are in-game achievements, and of course time-attack high scores to beat. AiRace is good for quick pick-up-and-play moments, with most races only taking a handful of minutes to finish.
While I wish that there were some computer-controlled opponents, for the cost of $2.49 (as of this publishing it’s on sale for $1.69) you can’t go wrong. I could easily see similar styled games to be selling for much more. If you have a few extra dollars lying around and are in search for a new 3DS game, check out AiRace Xeno. It’s a fun, single-player racing game that makes be think back to the days of Descent and F-Zero. There is also a demo available to try – give it a shot, then plunk down your green.