Repulze is a sci-fi hovercraft racer that certainly tries its best to nail down the visual stylings of the PlayStation classic WipeOut. Without a doubt, it’s a great-looking game and has an excellent sense of speed, along with some tweaks on the genre that help give it a bit more identity. The game takes advantage of its touch screen platform with solid and sensible controls, and a design philosophy that encourages short bursts of play.
Repulze offers up nine different tracks and six mean machines to test out. As usual, only a couple of each are available at first, and more are unlocked as you collect badges. The whole focus of the game is on completing specific achievements on any given track. These might include crashing fewer than three times, hitting specific time goals, or matching the red and green energy polarities properly.
In the future, traffic will be eliminated.
Polarities hold a particular importance in the game. There are red and green force fields all over the track. Running through the proper polarity color earns the ship an energy boost– get three boosts and you earn a turbo. Hit the wrong polarity and the ship suffers a serious bout of deceleration. It’s an interesting wrench to throw into standard racing and works for the most part.
The problem with this system (and the game in general) is that this polarity gimmick is actually taking the place of competition. While later tracks throw in the occasional slow moving bus or something, there are no other racers on the track. It might simply be due to technical limitations of the game’s 3D engine, but still makes for a serious oversight.
Fog, however, will not.
Thankfully, Repulze does look beautiful. The tracks range from sci-fi cities to the Martian landscape and are all impressively designed. Billboards and periphery background activity mirror the console game Repulze is trying to pay homage to, and the pulsing techno soundtrack works well.
The game can be controlled with either arrows on the bottom of the screen or through the accelerometer. Both work, though we had to tweak the sensitivity of the motion controls to get them to feel stable, and ended up using the touch controls anyway. Tapping the screen activates the boost power as well.
The developers have already announced that updates are on the way (called ‘phases’ in this case) that will add even more racing modes, but as is, Repulze is a fun and challenging racing game. While the lack of any competition– be it AI or human– is a noticeable flaw, the rest of the game is exceptionally well made. The price is also a steal for such a gorgeous game, making it worthwhile for racing fans.