Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
iPhone Integration [rating:5/5]
User Interface [rating:4.5/5]
Re-use / Replay Value [rating:4.5/5]
Developed by Polish-based Rat Square and published by Chillingo, Speed Forge Extreme is a polished futuristic racer which has clearly taken it's inspiration from both Low Grav Racer and Sony's WipEout franchise. Controlling various space-age hovercraft machines you race against others to win. A simple game, the app offers a choice of 6 different space-like machines in which you can race. These include: the HCM 220, HCM E2, HCM 3000, HCM 4000, X HCM 200 and the BT HCM 400. Your final choice of ship should depend on four factors. Mass, Speed, Agility and Munition. By default only the HCM 220 is available for racing with, however the other 5 ships are unlockable by completing each subsequent track.
After you've chosen your ship and track, you'll have a choice to select a level difficulty of either Easy, Medium or Hard. The game allows you to control your ship in a number of ways. By default the controls are set to 'Option 2'. This sees you controlling acceleration and braking via a analog slider located on the left of the screen. But maybe that's not for you. If not, just hit up the apps options menu and navigate to 'Steering'. From here you'll have a further 4 ways in which you can modify the in-game steering controls. Below is a description of each steering method ..
Option 1 - Choose this steering option and your ship will auto-accelerate. Steering is controlled by tilting your device either left or right and braking happens manual via a 'Stop' button located towards the bottom of the screen.
Option 2 - This steering option still sees in-game steering controlled by tilting, but both acceleration and braking are controlled via analog, manually. (Default)
Option 3 - Choose this steering option and steering is still tilt-activated but now you'll see two arrow like items on the far left of the screen. These control both acceleration and braking manually, this time by use of touch.
Option 4 - This steering option introduces the use of buttons to steer, placing two arrow like items towards the bottom of the screen. Weapons are located on the right of the screen, and braking is manually controlled via touch.
Option 5 - The final steering sees steering controlled by analog placing a slider like item at the bottom of the screen. Your ship's acceleration is automatic and braking is manually controlled via touch.
The aim of the game is to win (obviously), and you'll have to use force to achieve 1st position. In the early stages of the game when you find yourself tackling the first few tracks you might find the game a little boring, but don't let that put you off. After you complete the first track, you'll start winning weapons, and just like WipEout you can then use these against your opponents for defense.
Unfortunately, one of the downsides to the game is that it doesn't have any kind of online mutliplayer option, and so your opponents are really just made up of the games AI. Be that as it may, this doesn't seem to detract from the game. In fact, it enhances as these bots are cleverly consistent at winning .. posing a real challenge for a would-be racer.
Once weapons are introduced into the game, you'll see a new button appear on screen representing that particular weapon. In order to use a weapon in Speed Forge Extreme you need to pickup ammo for it, and you'll find this ammo scattered about the place while running your laps. once you have ammo the appropriate weapon button will light up, and then you can light someone else up, literally. Some weapons will auto-target your subject. Once you feel you're ready .. FIRE, stand back and watch the light show. Careful though, when your screen turns red at the edges that means someone is returning the favor. With no shields or force fields, you'll have to dodge those flaming sticks with all the agility your ship can muster!
Speed Forge Extreme is an action packed space-themed racer which both looks and feels the part. In my experience I really felt like I was playing a WipEout spin-off (in a good way), plus the game's accelerometer controls are the smoothest I've seen on any App Store title to date. My only reservation about the game is the lack of mutliplayer options. If Chillingo were to set this title up for online mutliplayer, I think it would only help it's replay value. As it stands though, if you're the type who like the racing genre or in fact you were or still are an original fan of the WipEout franchise, I'd definitely recommend picking this up and taking it for a spin.