Thursday, March 30, 2017

Lifespeed Review (New Nintendo 3DS)

Written by Patrick Orquia

Game Title: Lifespeed
Publisher: Wee Man Studios
Developer: Wee Man Studios
Release Date: Feb 02, 2017
Genre: Arcade, Racing
No. of Players: 1 player
Price: $5.99 on the New 3DS eShop (currently on sale for $3 until May 16, 2017)
Platform: Nintendo New 3DS systems only

This game was first announced in 2015 and after some months of delayed, it is finally released last February, exclusive to the New 3DS system. It is developed and published by Wee Man Studios, and promises to be a heart-pounding fast racing game inspired by F-Zero and Star Fox. Like F-Zero, the ships race through tracks with wild twist and turns that encourage the player to go as fast as possible, and like Star Fox, the ships do not only race on the track, they are free to fly around in any direction albeit in a closed tube… and it allows you to do barrel rolls. This game design and is quite interesting and not a lot of games mix the game elements of F-Zero and Star Fox quite successfully.

The game provides the following game modes: Story, Single Race, and Championship. There also four difficulty modes: Rookie (play with slow ships and easy opponents), Intermediate (play with normal ships and normal opponents), Professional (play with fast ships and normal opponents), and Chosen One (play with fast ships and hard opponents)

The story of the game goes like this (presented at the start of the Story Mode of the game): “One thousand years ago, a Great War threatened to engulf the galaxy. The United Government was formed to stop the impending Armageddon. Now there is a new genocide called Lifespeed. Instead of war, disputes about resources and survival are settled on the track. Each rider is forced to compete for their planet's survival and for the chance to become Archon. You are Cypher Reid.” Basically the plot of the Hunger Games, but instead of the players killing each other on the field, they try to beat each other on space racetracks.

Story mode is short and presented in comic book-styles panels that are not really that interesting, but the races between the panels teach the player the basic of the controls, HUD, and other gaming elements encountered in the game. The way they are presented is not very engaging and the tutorials are presented without pauses in between. You blink and you miss them. Add the questionable track design choices and not-too-intuitive game controls, the learning curve for the game is quite steep and will require a few races to completely learn, even on Rookie difficulty.

Single Race mode allows the player to choose a character and track to race in. There are 10 characters with varying stats and 8 tracks of varying difficulty that are available at the start of the game. Each race has 3 laps, and at the end of the race, the score of the player is shown and compared to other characters, and then to other players online. There are no multiplayer modes, though.

The Championship mode allows the player to race multiple times in a row on random tracks on each race. The same rules from Single Race mode apply on each race. I’m not quite sure how many races in a row a player will have to play, because I have to quit after the first race. There are no pauses between races and the game doesn’t tell you how many races to play or the tracks to race in.

This game takes time and dedication to learn the ins and outs for each race, and depending on the playing skills and patience of the player, it has the potential to be a really good racing game. Just don’t expect it to be as good as Mario Kart 7, because it is most certainly not as good as that game, graphics- and gameplay-wise. Overall, this game is good at the price point that it is sold at. If you want a decent F-Zero- and Star Fox-inspired racing game to pass the time and you have a bit of eShop credits to spare, go download and play this game.

  • Good bang for buck with the price point that the game is sold at
  • Good graphical design and use of stereo 3D effects
  • Decent soundtrack
  • Provides a good challenge even at the lowest difficulty

  • The game takes more than a minute to reach the main menu from boot up; I’m not sure if the game tries to connect to the internet during this time and if it does, it doesn’t say so explicitly
  • The story of the game is forgettable
  • Doesn’t allow you to save your progress in Story Mode, and makes you start for the very beginning if you decide to quit it at any point during it, but it allows you to skip the videos that you have already watch.
  • Questionable track design elements that makes the race frustrating at times
  • The ship accelerates automatically and the game doesn’t allow you to go much faster than what you would want to
  • Game control is not very intuitive and thus makes the learning curve for this game very steep and will require a few races to completely learn, even on Rookie difficulty.

SCORE: 3/5 barrel rolls