Speed Forge Extreme, Chillingo’s futuristic high-speed combat racing game, has recently been released in the app store. Its terrific visuals, smooth feel, and enjoyable gameplay make this a game not to be missed.
Speed Forge Extreme finds you on Mars in the year 2142, engaging in illegal races through abandoned factories and back alleys using heavy-duty hovering craft typically employed in mining. You’ll need to do whatever is necessary to outgun and outplay the other vehicles to take first place. Vehicles take on damage as they collide with other racers or scrape along the walls on wide turns. Bang up your vehicle enough and you’ll explode. A quick respawn in the location where you crashed will have you back in the hunt in no time. There are weapons to pick up along the way, including guns, homing missiles, and mines. Used effectively, you can cruise to victory or destroy your opponent as he nears the finish line, preventing his victory and securing yours.
There are 6 vehicles available, most of which are locked at the start. Twelve tracks and 4 arenas await you (most also locked) with treacherous twists, turns, and drops offering challenging gameplay. Arenas offer battle plays, where the first to 10 frags wins. There are three difficulty settings (easy, normal, hard) which we found to be pretty well balanced. Easy mode resulted in first place finishes for the first few courses, while Normal typically left us in the middle of the pack by the end of the race. With some practice and newly unlocked equipment, we should be able to improve our standings and move forward.
The graphics are beautiful, offering a great industrial feel to the abandoned factories with shading and lighting effects. The sense of speed is also very strong, aided by the motion blur option enhancements on the 3GS. You can almost feel the air cushion, which serves to keep your craft afloat, as well as slow you down when “power-sliding” around corners. The audio is decent, with some upbeat techno tracks to pump you up for the exciting racing within. Sound effects are good, too, especially when you’re scraping against walls and such, but we’d like to hear more from the actual hovercraft itself. They are awfully silent. The controls are great, offering 5 different options, including many combinations of tilt and touch steering, manual acceleration, manual brake, auto accelerate, and analog control. You’re sure to find something that works for you. We preferred the auto acceleration and tilt to steer the best. Sensitivity can be adjusted if desired. The craft responded well to our input and all movements were smooth sailing.
Our biggest issues were with pick-ups, level maps, where and how you respawn after exploding, and the menu system. It is not evident whether you were successful in snagging a weapon pick-up as you hurtle by, with no indicator sound or visible signs that we noticed. A simple sound effect would suffice There was no map of the level to indicate upcoming turns or positions of opponents. This made traversing the levels somewhat difficult at times and should have been a no-brainer, as this is a standard feature in racing games. If you explode while crashing headlong into a wall, you will respawn in the same orientation, immediately banging against the wall and incurring more damage to your vehicle. We’d rather be respawned in the middle of the track or, at the very least, along the side facing in the direction of the flow of traffic. This is quite frustrating as it is. The menu system is a bit confusing, too. It’s often unclear whether you should swipe or tap to change options, and selecting an option can be a bit murky, too. The images of the selectable craft and levels are on a static-burdened screen, but it’s not clear why. We’d rather have a crisp, clear look at our options. This was sort of an odd choice.
Otherwise, there is a lot to like about this game. Replay value is moderate, as the unlockable craft offer a different experience on levels where they were previously unavailable. The gameplay is fun and engaging, enough so to create a desire to pick it up and play now and again. Adding some sort of global leaderboard/achievement system should be a major addition in a future update. Available for $2.99, the price is right for this enjoyable 4-Dimple speedster.
Speed Forge Extreme gets our AppSmile 4-Dimple rating:
iPhone App Reviews: Speed Forge Extreme Not To Be Missed,