App Reviewed on: iPad 3
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If speculative history has taught us one thing - aside from the threat of zombies - it’s that professional racing will stop using four-wheeled vehicles and move on to gravity-defying hovercraft. Repulze marks developer Pixelbite’s (Reckless Racing) own take on the idea. It’s a world filled with impossible racetracks and space-age racers tearing around on angles that just might make gravity feel a tad impotent. It’s also a world with very little life in it.
Repulze is more-or-less a typical futuristic racer complete with corkscrew tracks, hovering vehicles, and a slick and future-y looking UI. Players guide their chosen craft (up to six are unlockable at different ranks, each with multiple color schemes) along using either virtual buttons or tilting to steer, and attempt to drive through a series of colored polarity gates (green/red). Hit three gates of the assigned color and get the ability to boost for a limited time. Hit the wrong gate and lose a little momentum. Precision and timing are essential when it comes to fully utilizing gates and boosts, as well as coming in under the medal-earning time.
Repulze is a good looking game, with plenty of little advertising details sprinkled throughout the tracks and nary a framerate hitch in sight. The way the tracks loop and turn, combined with the overall sense of speed, come together nicely as well. I could almost feel the G forces, especially with the iPad’s comparably large screen. The game also makes use of a constantly progressing player profile that gains experience from just about every possible action and unlocks new craft and colors at a fairly steady pace.
I did have a few issues at first with the controls, though. The virtual buttons are a little touchy but they can be adapted and adjusted fairly quickly. The tilt controls, on the other hand, really need to be fiddled with. Still, there’s a workaround for almost anyone. A much more significant issue for me was the lack of any other racers in this racing game. Oh sure, there’s another vehicle in some of the screen shots but that’s not a competitor as far as I can tell. It seems like more of a pace car. Or a moving obstacle that gets in the way from time to time. Aside from that, every track is totally barren. Not being in direct competition with anyone or anything takes a good deal of the fun out of racing.
Repulze is a slick futuristic racer with some spotty controls that (thankfully) can be fine tuned to fit just about anyone’s needs. However, anyone who also needs real competition will find nothing but disappointment when they realize there aren’t any other people or AI racers to take on. Conversely, people who love time trials will probably get hours upon hours of enjoyment out of it.