AiRace (DSiWare)

Game Review

AiRace Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Jon Wahlgren

Bet you can't deduce what this one's about

The first time we entered the AiRace universe, if you will, was through the simple and fun 200 Point DSiWare tidbit AiRace: Tunnel. While it was a satisfying arcade flight experience, it felt more like a bonus mode that was chopped out of a larger game. AiRace is that larger game. With more aircraft, actual stages, cups, multiplayer and the whole shebang, Qubic delivers the game that Tunnel only hinted at.

Instead of squeaking and squeezing your way down numerous barren tunnels, AiRace opens up the skies for competitive events with a few weapons thrown in. The original track count is modest, with a mere six themed after typical gaming conventions like ice, industrial, jungle and so forth, and to help flesh the count out the game offers mirrored versions of these. We found the tracks to be quite well-designed with multiple (and secret) paths, risky placement of bonuses and plenty of sections to put your piloting skills to the test. Mirroring them won’t fool you into thinking those tracks are all new, but thanks to smart course design they still feel fresh.

Not so fresh are the items and weapons. Flying through a big blue AiRace logo begins a kart racer cycle-through that will net you either an offensive, defensive or boost item. The offensive arsenal is made up of standard missiles as well as things that look like switches and loop-de-loops, but hitting an opponent just seems to make them blow up no matter what you throw their way. One nice touch here is colour-coded pickups on the bottom screen, so you basically know when to hit the button to get what you want without having to take your eyes off the action up top.

And the action looks good, too; breaking away from the drab two-coloured courses in Tunnel has let Qubic flex their design muscles and 3D engine. The end result is smooth, detailed and attractive with nary a hiccup when six planes are cruising on screen with weapons flying everywhere. The music, however, will get on your nerves as the game includes only one song used in races.

Just as in Tunnel, there are two types of control: button and touch. Opting for the latter has you using the stylus as a flight stick of sorts and it works well enough, if a bit looser than using the D-Pad to navigate. Considering the amount of steep turns you'll have to make we'd suggest sticking to buttons, but it's all a matter of preference really.

Despite the somewhat small track count, there’s quite a bit of content here. Winning races, blowing up opponents and hitting rings during races will net you cash to upgrade or unlock the nine available planes across three classes, and there’s an extra fly-through-rings mode too. We would’ve liked to see more, though; while the racing is done well, some variety would’ve gone a long way. If you can scrounge up DSi-owning friends with their own copy of the game, the six-player multiplayer is a nice way to get some more mileage out of it.


AiRace looks good, plays great and stands out from the other DSiWare racers (or DS, really) in more ways than just choice of vehicle. A few more modes or tracks would have been nice, but considering the 800 Point asking price it's not a bad deal at all, especially for anyone who is sick of the road and would rather take to the sky.

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User Comments (27)



KrazyKain said:

disagree about the controls, touchscreen FTW, but you DID say it was a matter of preference .... looking forward to this game, love tunnel



cheapogamer4life said:

Think I might have to DL this title today as I finally finished up Asphalt 4 this weekend and those other racers dont look like their worth the NP.



Linkgamer said:

this game is awsome!!!! i played it i loved it

hint: if you press select when playing the game you can scroll through the music. this also works with airace tunnel.



ToastyYogurt said:

@Linkgamer: What do you mean that it "works with AiRace Tunnel"? Do you mean that it's included in the game, that your data from tunnel gets transferred to this game or that you can (somehow) play with people that have only AiRace tunnel?

I liked Tunnel and thought it was pretty fun, but I don't think I'll get this one because the only multiplayer it has is with people that own the game, and I only know 3 other DSi owners, all of which might not get this game.



ViperGoMega said:

I think I'll probably get this! It's cool that the paths aren't always clear or straight forward and it looks like fun to have to turn sideways to fit in a narrow gap! looks like it has good graphics and is an overall good game!



Kyloctopus said:

This game does look fine and I did get tunnels and I know what you mean by "Pressing select" also the graffix remind me of Star Fox's and 1 or 2 of the planes do too. NL should give this a 10/10.



Gogata said:

Got this today. It is really awesome and the EU price drop was perfect for me . With the price drop I would give this an 8.5 from what I've played so far and for 800 points I agree with the score you gave it.



IanUniacke said:

I can't say I agree with this review. I mean, I would give it an 8/10 for depth of content, but the controls are terrible. I feel like most of the time I'm struggling more against the controls than the game, which is the exact opposite of what you want from a dsi game. Touch controls are unplayable and button controls work to an extent but still feel clumsy.

Also the different weapons in the game seem mostly indistinguishable. Why have multiple weapons when they all equate to basically hit the shoulder button to blow up one of the planes?



KrazyKain said:

@20. IanUniacke

dude the controls are perfect, ESPECIALLY the touch controls. Very smooth. I do agree about the missiles though, theres the slow down missile, but everything else results in blowing them up.

it cost me 500 points, so... is it cheaper in europe?



xAlias said:

Might take me some points from me debit carrrrd and buy this later on



salty1264 said:

@21 europe is 500 also for me 800. I got this and tunnel and there both must haves



Colors said:

I'm confused. is the name supposed to be a mash-up of air and race, or air ace?



MechaTurles said:

I still really enjoy this title, the frantic open-air action really gives this game more depth than other racers. Traditional racing games like Need For Speed, Ridge Racer, even the legendary MarioKart series, all feature vehicles glued to the tarmac most of the time, reaching for the sky briefly after traversing a ramp, and plummeting back to earth.

Airace also has the shortest tutorial I've ever seen, since the controls go as far as steering, accelerating and using weapons. However, this easy-to-use control scheme provides a thouroughly enjoyable playing experience.

Many a race has begun with the occasional bit of push and shove, causing planes to veer out of control wildly and blow up all around you (if you aren't a victim!) Some the items are original too, besides the obvious missile, sheild, and speed boosts. There is a variety of different ways to cause your enemies to plummet to their doom, missles now do an array of malicious things to enemy planes, causing them to slow down, reverse their control scheme mid-flight, or simply (my favourite) cut their engines completely!

My favourite part of this game is that despite the numerous objectives and races you have to do to unlock things in-game, there is very little stress. Normally, racing games would have some people crushing controllers with bare hands if certain objectives seemed impossible. Airace's best element (in my opinion) is the crashes. Yep, the crashes. Because instead of ranting and raging at pixels, you're laughing and almost always cringing at the spectacular plane wrecks like if your craft has it's entire left wing snapped off, goes into a crazy barrel roll, and lands with a satisfying crunch.

An all-round fantastic game in my opinion, definately worth getting whether it's 800 or 500 points.



Jono97 said:

Aw...... would it be cheaper to buy an eshop card in EB games? I hope it will I found found some games that I really want which will leave me to $0 credit.. Yes, this is one of those games.

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