(3DS eShop)

SpeedX 3D (3DS eShop)

Game Review

SpeedX 3D Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Damien McFerran

Speed demon

There's always the temptation to be a bit snobbish about games that are ported to traditional consoles from smartphones. Given the enormous success of "casual" experiences on mobiles, many dedicated gamers view even the best titles as vapid, shallow experiences — a perspective which is reinforced by the hordes of clones and rip-offs which plague smartphone app stores.

So when Gamelion proudly states that SpeedX 3D has sold in excess of 10 million units across Symbian and Android, it perhaps doesn't generate the kind of amazement they were expecting from sceptical 3DS owners. However, after spending a few minutes in the company of this fast-paced piece of software, excitement levels are bound to rise steadily — this port is arguably far superior to the mobile originals from which it was spawned.

Don't expect any kind of plotting or story with SpeedX 3D — all you need to know is that you're dashing down a tunnel and need to avoid oncoming obstacles. These take the form of square blocks, pyramids and columns, some of which seem to have a life of their own and move around the landscape, presenting an even sterner challenge to the player. You can spot when these hazards are about to appear, as a coloured trail appears on the floor of the tunnel, giving you enough warning to move out of the way.

The act of hurtling into the unknown is exhilarating in itself, and SpeedX 3D does a great job of creating the sensation of pace and acceleration. It also possesses a mischievousness tendency to mix things up; at certain points you'll notice that the tunnel splits along one side, opening itself up to become a flat landscape. At other times, it goes in the opposite direction and inverts the tunnel completely, creating a tube along which you continue to race along at breakneck speed — a similar situation to the one witnessed in the N64 classic, F-Zero X.

Along the way, you'll spot special tiles on the floor which offer up bonus items and shield power-ups. The former come in different varieties, the most useful of which is an earthquakes which destroys all on-screen obstacles, giving you a temporary breather. You'll also cross lines in the course which trigger events, such as Gravity Well (which makes it harder to control your movements) and a black out (which inverts the colour of the tunnel). Your shield can be charged through four levels, each of which is good enough to absorb a single collision. Even if you're savvy enough to avoid hitting anything, your shield gauge slowly depletes over time, so you'll need to make sure you keep gliding over the shield pads to keep yourself fully stocked up.

Visually, SpeedX 3D is pretty humble. The 3D graphics are quite basic, and suffer from a short draw distance. The twisting nature of the tunnel means that this is disguised quite well, but there are times when you can actually see the track being rendered in front of you, and objects suddenly loom out of nowhere — especially when the course begins to undulate wildly. Another downside is the frame rate, which feels like it could be a lot smoother. When there are a lot of objects on-screen simultaneously things can become a tad jerky, but thankfully it's never dramatic enough to throw you off your game or impede your progress.

While the core graphics could be improved, the use of 3D is beyond reproach. It might sound like an exaggeration, but SpeedX 3D is one of the most effective uses of the 3DS' auto-stereoscopic screen that we've seen so far. The sense of depth is truly striking, and contributes enormously to the game's impression of speed. Dashing in-between the various on-screen objects is genuinely thrilling, and there's a tangible buzz to be had when you narrowly avoid impact after impact.

While the 3D improves immeasurably on the original mobile version, it's perhaps the controls which prove to be the biggest enhancement. The smartphone editions utilised a motion-based control system, which worked well to a point but lacked the precision required for some of the more challenging levels. On 3DS the tilt mode remains in place, but it's wisely not configured as the default control method — that honour goes to the circle pad. This interface is far superior to tilt control and lends the player a more convincing degree of command over their movement.

With multiple game modes — each of which offer a slightly different perspective on the same basic gameplay concept — as well as selectable difficulty, SpeedX 3D is equipped with enough variety to keep you coming back for more. The allure of beating your best scores in each of the modes maintains your interest, although it would have been nice to have the ability to share your best achievements with other players online.

Before we wrap up, a special mention should also go to the hypnotic music, which suits the trance-like nature of the gameplay down to the ground. The tunes aren't what you'd call memorable, but they fit the on-screen action like a glove.


SpeedX 3D is proof that quality games are quality games, no matter what their origin happens to be. Although the frame rate could be better, the impression of depth and speed is amazing, and the use of 3D incredibly effective. To top it all off, the inclusion of traditional pad control means that this version of SpeedX 3D is more intuitive and enjoyable than its mobile forerunners — in fact, it's quite possibly the best iteration of the game yet seen, and a highly recommended download for your 3DS.

From the web

User Comments (52)



RR529 said:

From what I've heard on the forums, this was bad to mediocre. Glad to hear something good about it. I might check it out if it comes Stateside.



6ch6ris6 said:

kinda confused. saw a review from n4g (or something like that) which gave it a 0,5 / 5 !

but the people who already played it and submitted there opinons on the eshop say it is awesome. most people rate 4/5 or 5/5

think i will be downloading this, because airrace tunnel from dsiware doesnt control so well with the circle pad



Retro_on_theGo said:

What the? This is the exact opposite of Waltzelf's score. D:
Good review though. I think I just won't buy this.



Yasume said:

So what exactly are those multiple game modes? Are there levels to complete as well or is it just 1 level that loops? (Not a fan of games that are endless)



Dazza said:

I have to say I'm really enjoying this personally. It's hypnotically addictive. A real bargain given the low download price.

Great review @Damo



TheConsiglio said:

I'll get this and Vectorracing when they come to U.S.
Know wheres word of that atv game on 3ds.



C-Olimar said:

This is brilliant! If you liked AiRace: Tunnel, you'll enjoy this. Lots of content, great gameplay and 3D, bargain price, what's not to like? One of the best value 3DSWare!



dirtyplastic said:

This is really good, and at £3 it's a must have! Good games are pants on phones or tablets, due to lack of proper control. Put the same game on to a consol and there much better......... well maybe not angry birds!



MarioMario said:

I love this game on my iPhone and I always thought it would be cool to see it in 3D. I hope it comes to the US soon



RupeeClock said:

Seeing as it's just £2.70, I may give it a try after all.
I could use some arcadey fun sitting on my SD card.



Geonjaha said:

@Retro_on_theGo - Subjectivity, bro. :3
I've downloaded the game and I think it's quite neat so far.
Havent gotten into it that much but from what I'm seeing its well worth the cheap asking price.



Henmii said:

A 8?! This doesn't look good (or speedy) at all! Besides, it's from Gamelion! They aren't very good! I think I'll pass!



Mk_II said:

waited for this review before i purchased it and i am not disappointed. It is indeed very reminiscent of F-Zero X in a simpler, trippier but ultimately good way. And at only 3 euro, its a steal



kuroneko said:

I bought AiRace: Tunnel a few days ago and find it quite addictive, will probably download this soon especially since it's only £2.70!



luminalace said:

I have got it and I am starting to like it more and more! The early levels are really easy but as the action speeds up, so does the thrill and sensation of speed! It's only $4.50 (Australia) and unlike anything else I've seen as far as 3DS Downloads in the eShop.



RupeeClock said:

I gave it a try...what a waste of money.

This isn't a very stimulating game at all, the use of sound effects and music is shockingly bad.

The least you would expect is some sort of sound-effect as you pass by a block, but not even that. As you play through the stages you just have to keep listening to the same single audio track over and over.

It is actually a surprisingly un-stimulating game, as you just keep gliding side to side and avoiding the pacing of blocks. If that's all you're going to do, the sound effects and music should've done so much more to add to the experience.
What good is it if I dodge the obstacles but never actually feel that?

Speedthru Potzol's Puzzle is in very much the same vain of this, speeding down tunnels and avoiding collisions, except that has so much more going for it! The careful execution of maneuvers, changing paces, rewards or lack of for better performance, invigorating use of sound effects and music to stimulate your senses, and so on.

SpeedX is FAR from an 8/10.




Its best with the 3D on and using the circle pad even thou I downloaded it for the motion control. Its very enjoyable and a solid 8. Not a 9 by any stretch though. Recommended.



Kifa said:

I've read the review and felt intrigued. Then I headed over to eShop and watched the 3D video for the game. And... Well, I can't see why it got 8/10. Aside from simplistic gameplay (which may appeal to someone, it's a matter of personal taste) the game looks terribly bad, the music made me want to murder someone after a minute, and the framerate... Oh, the framerate! This isn't even the acceptable minimum of 30 frames per second (framerate is crucial in such games), it's much worse than that, which for a game with so simple graphics is unacceptable and is the best evidence of how hastily this port was made. As for 3D - on the video it looked like absolutelny nothing special, certainly not the "one of the most effective uses of the 3DS' auto-stereoscopic screen that we've seen so far".

I'm steering clear (cough) off this one - even AIRace Tunnel seems a better "obstacle course" game than this. Plus - it's cheaper and runs at 60 frames per second (on a DSi). Duh.



kawka said:

And you judge the framerate looking at a youtube video? Without acrually buying the game? clap clap clap...



Kifa said:

Yes, I judge game's framerate by it's video. What is wrong with that? If they can't even record it properly (and I doubt that 3DS has trouble displaying at least 30 FPS), I have serious doubts about the game itself. If there are no framerate issues in the game itself, that's great, but you can't expect me to buy it without checking how it moves before. And video is the only way in this case (no demo), so if it's bad, the game is considered bad automatically.

And besides - kawka, who said anything about Youtube? -_-' I used eShop, and I stated that clearly.



theblackdragon said:

@Kifa, et. al.:I do believe everyone should be aware that kawka is in fact Marcin Moys, head of production for Gamelion Studios.



ToxieDogg said:

I'm enjoying it, it's a lot of fun for what it is and I'm really glad I gave it a chance. Had the price been £5 or more, then you'd really start thinking more about it's faults, lack of music variety, etc. But for only £2.70, it's a bargain with potentially a heck of a lot of playtime in it. I agree with the score of 8, though that's partly taking the low price into account.



bezerker99 said:

The allure of beating your best scores in each of the modes maintains your interest, although it would have been nice to have the ability to share your best achievements with other players online.

^ This is why I downloaded it for FREE on my droid phone - the mobile version has online leaderboards...oh, and it's FREE



Bankai said:

Oh wow. I think that Gamelion fellow signed up on my website to call me a "hater" too over my review.

Not the most intelligent response there from the developer.



sillygostly said:

@Kifa: The videos provided on the eShop are rarely (if ever) recorded at 60fps. This is done to save money on bandwidth and to make videos quicker to download. Take Mario Kart 7 for instance; all of the videos appeared to have been shot at 30fps (or less!) while the game comfortably handles 60fps without any lag.

Considering the relative complexity of Mario Kart 7, SpeedX 3D should easily handle a framerate of 60fps or greater.



Kifa said:

@theblackdragon - Woa, thnks for the heads up, didn't know that...

@sillygostly - Still, this does not convince me to buy the game. Screenshots and videos that are supposed to demonstrate the game you are considering buying should be attractive and convince you to get the game. If they fail to demonstrate the key aspects of it as they should (and in case of this game the video clearly does fail because of the framerate, which is, as I've said, essential for games like this), it should not come as surprise that people are turned off.

And yea, Mario Kart 7 is a good example here, though in case of this game there was plenty of video material available that showed game running very smoothly. In case of SpeedX 3D - I went to Gamelion's website and fired up the video there, about which Kawka was so enthusiastic as to clap his hands. The framerate of the game is as bad as on eShop one, but the overlay text and other stuff appearing at the same time is... silky smooth. Go figure...



RupeeClock said:

It's almost as though Kawka is denying that the game has a poor framerate for a game that emphasises speed, ya know?



TheAdza said:

I bought it. I hate it. Mainly for the bad frame rate. Inexcusable in such a basic looking game.



Parasky said:

If the developers are doing that to a review site, they might as well hold a sign which says "Hey, we want you to lose all respect for us!"



TheDreamingHawk said:

I was going to buy this when it hit NA, but seeing the ignorance of the visiting Devs... (According to LCS) I'm ignoring it. Hello Vectorracing!



Chris720 said:

@kawka: "And you judge the framerate looking at a youtube video? Without acrually buying the game? clap clap clap..."

After reading that comment from the Head of Production for Gamelion Studio's, I'm definitely not being this game... bye bye.



Infernal_Monkey said:

I thought SpeedX 3D was rubbish. The frame rate crushes any real sense of speed (it appears silky smooth during the brief 'black out' mode, but once the basic textures kick back in, the game goes to hell again).

The graphics are EXTREMELY poor in general, which makes the frame rate even more confusing. The game is in desperate need of some anti-aliasing. And 'tunes' as mentioned in the above review? No. There is only one song. One awful song in the entire game. If you've seen the game's trailer, that's the entire soundtrack. It never goes away.

SpeedX 3D has potential, but it's obvious Gamelion really rushed this. It's fun for a few minutes, but then has nothing else to offer.



OskarSwierad said:

"that SpeedX 3D has sold in excess of 10 million units" Has it? Or rather it was downloaded 10 mln times? The game is free on Android.

"this port is arguably far superior to the mobile originals" Why? It's the opposite sometimes - the sense of speed is worse and it lacks the online high score ranking. Tunnel textures are jagged, while it doesn't happen on Android. So - still FAR superior?

Poor review.



Undead_terror said:

Im still getting this game, looks like a good time waster and stuff.@kawka you guys should make a zombie survival game for the eshop >:3



grumblegrumble said:

Got it today, played it, love it Whoever says this game sucks is, imho, off their rocker lol For the price, it's a great game... The graphics are intense and nice on my XL, very vivid and fun.. I like the soundtrack. This is a perfect 'time-waster', also a great game to show off the 3DS capabilities. Frame rate is perfectly fine. 8/10 from me, too!



WaveGhoul said:

man, you love everything hehe
I'm not too sure about this one...But Knowing me i'll take the plunge,
and give it a try...in the oh so distant future. But eh, the negativity
surround the lack luster frame rate is a bit of a turn off for me.



mayhem13 said:

Boy nothing splits reviews quite like 3DS eShop games. I found it quite fun and addicting a game. I think it comes down to one's taste. I thought I would hate it and for the first 2 or 3 levels I did as it was painfully simple. Then it starts showing the challenge and the cool effects. I didn't really notice the framerate, I'm not a guy who really cares about 30fps vs 60fps anyway. If it was really important, I would have noticed. I didn't notice Graphically it's simple, I think that's the point. You are buying for the gameplay. If it is your cup of tea, you'll be happy. If not, why are you even reading this. OlympicCho , the moment your review said this game runs like a turtle, I ignored your review. You clearly are holding a grudge over something.

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