Low Grav Racer

Low Grav Racer is a game from , originally released 31st December, 1969

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Low Grav Racer Glides Onto App Store

Cobra Mobile’s Low Grav Racer is on sale for $5.99 on the App Store, and Cobra’s Mark Ettle sent us a big batch of screens, a press release, and some video to mark the occasion.

From the press release:

“…On initial launch Low Grav Racer will feature 12 planet based tracks with additional new tracks being added to the game over the coming months.

Set in the far future, mankind has spread throughout the solar system, terra’forming planets and moons such as Mars and Titan and edging ever farther to the depths of space. The spirit of the Wild West is alive and well in this new frontier however, so is the profiteering and the danger. The largest of the independent Space Corporations have developed a number of extreme ‘˜space sports’ for entertainment and gambling; Low Gravity Racing is the number one sport. It is a dangerous but speedy way for brave or just plain crazy pilots to make a name for themselves and get rich quick.”

And the trailer:

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Low Grav Racer Review

We have always thought that racing games peaked with the SNES. That may sound outrageous, but for us, racing games are best when they’re simple and arcade style. We love Gran Turismo, but we’d much prefer to play Burnout. It’s sort of like realism in first-person shooters–sure, you’d like a little true-to-life action, but when it comes down to it, it’s always nice to find a health pack. So when we started up Low Grav Racer, a futuristic racing game in the mold of Wipeout and F-Zero, we were excited. We thought we’d find a new favorite… but instead, we just got frustrated.

You can pick two classes of racing in Low Grav Racer, Alpha and Beta. You also get 3 ships per difficulty level to choose from, but they play almost exactly the same. The difference between Mario and Donkey Kong in Mario Kart is much more substantial than the change here. There are 12 courses to race on, either in a single race or a competition circuit, and you have to finish in the top three to keep playing. It takes a while to work your way through the Alpha circuit, but the Beta level doesn’t seem that much harder. It’s a diminishing return if we’ve ever seen it.

Our major complaint with Low Grav Racer is its overly sensitive, unadjustable controls. The accelerometer-based steering for the floating vehicles feels incredibly insubstantial. Before the race, idly turning your iPhone swings your ship around like a top. While accelerating that responsiveness dims a bit, but if you get hit by a missile in the middle of a turn and don’t get your iDevice straight by the time the explosion subsides, you’ll hammer your ship into the wall. We don’t know for sure, but we feel like a responsiveness setting in options would resolve most of this.

Also, a certain lack of refinement is evident during race combat. Each track is littered with powerups–missiles, mines, shields, boosts–and they all help you out a great deal. However, their prevalence also means you’re punished for racing well. Take first place in the last half lap of a race, and you will be DESTROYED by missiles from last place. We mean it. At one point, before slamming the home button in disgust, we were hit seven times in a row while in first place; the final five shots hit us when we were already motionless. This is certainly an asset when you’re in fifth or sixth, because it ensures you’re competitive in a lot of races. However, if you play Low Grav more than a few times, you’ll start learning to hang back in fourth and wait for the powerups to come. That is not how a racing game should be played.

Let no one say Lov Grav Racer isn’t pretty, though. The graphics are finely textured and speedy, and the ships themselves look great. The backgrounds are evocative and beautiful, all Martian red and asteroidal purple. The menus also have a neat computerized look to them. We found the music and sound effects to be forgettable; we simply turned them off after a while.

At the end of the day, we just can’t recommend spending the $5.99 on Low Grav Racer until some of this stuff gets fixed in an update. The presentation is very cool, but the gameplay doesn’t keep up, and we didn’t want to keep playing it. There are too many other great racing games on the App Store right now for less.

Low Grav Racer First Look

Mark Ettle of Cobra Mobile–the dev behind Numba and Mouse About–dropped us a note pointing to video of the company’s latest project, Low Grav Racer.

This futuristic racing game has been compared to the Wipeout games, which we think is appropriate, but we think the trailer also has shades of F-Zero and even Star Wars: Racer. Have a look at the trailer and judge for yourself:

A press release is going out with more info next week, and we’ll post it as soon as we get it.