Though we were pretty disappointed with December’s futuristic racer Low Grav Racer 2, it wasn’t long before the App Store received another offering in this fantastic genre. Speed Forge Extreme is far from perfect, but it is one of the better futuristic racers to be released in a while.
The first big success that Speed Forge scores is in its control sensitivity, which was by far our biggest complaint about Low Grav Racer 2. The tilt control is never so touchy that you feel out of control, but it’s enough that you’ll be able to turn on a dime if you need to. Racers are still encouraged to take smart turns, though, as huge turns will slow you down dramatically.
Don’t be fooled, this is not an X-wing.
It’s not the racing that slows down Speed Forge, though. The gameplay is fast and very fun, but the rest of the game slowly unlocks after every race. Unlike most arcade racers, Speed Forge doesn’t give you everything right out of the gate. Each aspect, including cars, tracks, and weapons, is unlocked one race at a time.
On one hand, this is an engaging way to keep the player racing, and to reward them after every victory. But on the other hand, it also means that it’s going to be hours before you get to see what the game is really like. The opening level is just a straight race to the finish line with no boosts or weapons, which is a far cry from where it ends up. It’s just a shame that you wont even be able to tell whether or not you like the game until you’ve invested an hour or more into unlocking items. We hold that a genre like the futuristic arcade racer should be fun right out of the gate.
Lock on and unload.
We also weren’t particularly fond of the moments when the game switches from a Wipeout-style racer to an arena shooter, like a lower quality Twisted Metal. The gameplay isn’t entirely poor, but the levels are far too small, and the graphics aren’t detailed enough to make this type of play possible. Every ship blends into the background of the walls so completely in some levels that it can be difficult to see where your enemies are. And by the time you do find an enemy, it’s usually too late to lock on.
For the most part, the graphics in Speed Forge Extreme are impressive. All of the ships look very distinct, and each level uses a unique aesthetic and setting.
Speed Forge Extreme makes some mistakes, sure, but it gets the most important parts right. The racing is executed properly and makes for a satisfying experience. It’s also free of many of the frustrations that come with similar games on the iPhone.