Space Race 3D Review, It Is No Wipeout

Space Race 3D

First, you may be wondering why am I reviewing a generic racer like Space Race 3D? Well, simple, to alert you to games that look great but are not worth your time unless you are a die-hard fanatic of the genre. Sadly, Space Race 3D falls into this category. What looks great in the gameplay video on Google Play, in the pics, is not so great once you load it up and start playing. It doesn’t even look that great either. The original Wipeout on the Playstation One looks, plays, sounds, better.

Space Race 3D gives you four planets to race on. Each of these planets features individual race courses and missions which include circuit races, takedown, and time trial affairs. Now, keep in mind, most of these courses you can literally fly right off as you are in a very light vehicle (or gravity means little on these planets).

While racing around the tracks you will quickly notice that Space Race 3D doesn’t look that great. The craft you are piloting don’t exactly handle great either – too touchy and much like Wipeout, once you get the ping pong effect going in a level, it is tough to correct and get out of.

Let’s discuss those graphics a bit. The floor of the track you are racing on looks good. Too bad it flies by so fast you won’t have time to really notice it beyond the start of the race. The craft you are piloting or racing against are also well represented in the game – again, you will not have much time to enjoy the graphics of either.

If just good graphics in two areas were what made a great game, then Space Race 3D would be considered quite good. Unfortunately for Space Race 3D, there is more to a good game.

The graphics of the planets you are racing on are often nondescript and plain. Even when there are objects right up on the track, they are plain and not all that interesting. The backgrounds in Space Race 3D remind me a lot of MegaRace (3DO and PC) from the early 1990’s (Wipeout debuted in the mid to late 1990’s for those keeping track). Objects that are close to the track are bland looking – lacking any detail to speak of. Everything seems to be either shiny metal or wireframe in appearance. Both don’t bode well for creating a graphically impressive game for players.

MegaRace had an excuse to fall back on for using this metallic looking backdrop – everything was pre-rendered Full Motion Video – your job was to simply react to the video playing. Space Race 3D is a 3D game with your view on the environment shifting as you moved around in it. Now, you may be thinking that means Space Race 3D has a tougher time on its hands to render all those graphics in real time. Sure, it does. The thing is, there are plenty of better looking and better playing hover craft racing games available on Google Play, that also do it in real time.

I am not trying to knock Space Race 3D but when their Google Play preview video is all one to two second clips then you know something is wrong.

Controlling your craft is a little daunting to figure out at first. I seriously contemplated quitting more than once when I first started playing Space Race 3D. Press on either side of the screen to make your craft move that way. There is a boost and a brake (yes, your craft is auto propelled down the track). That is all you get for controls. I prefer to be able to control my speed, but I guess there is an argument here that most gamers simply hold down the speed button, rarely using the brake. Space Race 3D simply forces you to do it the other way around.

Another problem I have with Space Race 3D is, well, the combat. It is clear they are going for an action element here, but it fails rather horribly. Again, keeping with the counter productive angle, you are not given offensive weapons. Instead, your only offense is to either ram opponents from the side or slam on your break as they come up on your back side (a red triangle alerts you of their position).


Why?

If you are going to offer combat in a racing game, then at least make it a strong element of the overall game. Space Race 3D’s combat element turns a racing game into a “slam on your brakes simulator”. The problem with this mechanic is, you will constantly be giving up positions to opponents because you missed them when slamming on the brakes.

Sense of speed is another killer for Space Race 3D. While I am on a 3DO kick with references here, let’s discuss one game that also had a severe problem conveying speed to the gamer. Need for Speed by Electronic Arts. Everything was off too far from the road, like Space Race 3D. Although I must admit, Kill Some Time Games’ take on racing does have a better sense of speed, just not enough. Everything is off too far, and the track twists and turns are too gentle to cause much concern – if the controls were better.

The sense of challenge I get from Space Race 3D has more to do with the controls being too sensitive. Not exactly the best control scheme for a hover craft racing game. I get that they attempted to make the ability to fly off the track a feature, but it just comes off as a bad design choice in my eyes.

Space Race 3D is completely free to play though so it has that going for it. There are no In App Purchases, just advertising everywhere between levels. If you are looking for a free hover craft racing game, and you are a die-hard fanatic for the genre, then you will probably get some enjoyment out of Space Race 3D. For everyone else, I cannot recommend this one.

Space Race 3D by Kill Some Time Games
Platform: Android (Ascend XT used for review)
Genre: Hover craft, racing
In App Purchases: No, just ads
Rated: E for Everyone
Available now on Google Play

Carl is a portable gamer (mainly PSP and Android) currently getting his butt handed to him in MIniclip’s Beast Quest on Android. Got a cool tip or inquiry about Gaming on Batteries? Contact Carl and he will be in touch ASAP.

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