Anti­gravi­a­tor

WHERE’S MY FIRESTARTER? TWISTED FIRESTARTER?

PC & Tech Authority - - CONTENTS - DAVID HOLLINGWORTH

Anti­gravi­a­tor is one of those games that wears its heart upon its rac­ing sleeve, and that very de nitely be­longs to Wipe­out se­ries of games made pop­u­lar on var­i­ous PlayS­ta­tion it­er­a­tions – a game that hap­pens to be that rare rac­ing game I am madly fond of. And while Anti­gravi­a­tor may not bring much new to the genre, it’s as close and lov­ing enough re­make that it’s easy to sink some time into.

Would I play it a lot, though? It’s great in short bursts of in­tense rac­ing that are guar­an­teed to – let me check my wrist – yes, de nitely get­ting the old pace rac­ing. But the game lacks some of the depth that al­lowed “just one more race” in Wipe­out to turn into all night, Red Bull-fu­eled gam­ing ses­sions.

The big­gest is­sue is the way Anti­gravi­a­tor’s powerups work. In many sim­i­lar rac­ers, powerups are var­ied and of­ten re­quire ex­cel­lent tim­ing to use well – un­less we’re talk­ing Wipe­out’s Quake, in which case

re away and watch the chaos hap­pen! Anti­graviotor’s powerups are called ‘traps’, and are of­ten much more en­vi­ron­men­tal in ef­fect, plac­ing some­thing on the track that you or other play­ers have to avoid. Us­ing one shields you for a mo­ment, so you can charge on through your own rock­slide, but they’re kind of lame – they’ll gen­er­ally just slow you down and a skilled pi­lot can eas­ily dodge most of them. Plus, you only get them for a lim­ited time – if you’re un­lucky to pick one up and there’s no one around to use it on, you lose it.

This sys­tem force you to con­sider traps not so much as strate­gic as­sets, but ran­domly ac­quired bursts of chaos that you pretty much use as soon as you get one, and that takes a layer of chal­lenge out of the game.

Thank­fully, the meat of the game – the rac­ing – is just ne. Con­trols are won­der­fully pre­cise, and you can even play pretty well on key­board. A con­troller is bet­ter, but you’re not go­ing to feel pe­nalised if you lack one. The game also doesn’t have a hard limit on how fast you can go, and not only are there the usual ac­cel­er­a­tor pads paced through­out each track, you can also pick up ex­tra boosts to use as you see t. By com­bin­ing a pre­cise rac­ing line and stack­ing on speed boost pick­ups, you can achieve some truly lu­di­crous ve­loc­i­ties that can put you way out in front of the pack.

But this in­tro­duces its own chal­lenge – the faster you go, the less time you have to re­ac­tion track con­di­tions, Anti­gravi­a­tor doesn’t al­ways tele­graph up­com­ing turns, while some sec­tions of track curve out and down, mean­ing you can barely see any­thing ahead. This is a game that will re­ward track mem­o­ri­sa­tion, es­pe­cially if you’re play­ing on­line with oth­ers.

As well as on­line play in three dif­fer­ent modes, there’s a rather vanilla sin­gle player cam­paign where you need to place rst in each of four races be­fore you progress to the next league. There are fteen tracks all up spread around var­i­ous dif­fer­ent worlds, though the ad­mit­tedly at­trac­tive back­grounds are pretty hard to pay at­ten­tion to when you’re blast­ing along an out­wardly curv­ing piece of track at over 500mph. Each track can be raced in re­verse, so there are 30 tracks in to­tal, which is not bad, and there’s enough vari­a­tion to keep rac­ers on their toes.

Anti­gravi­a­tor is cer­tainly not bad, but it doesn’t get fair above the bar of a pas­sion­ate homage to be­come a great game in its own right. And for the rel­a­tively cheap ask­ing price on Steam, that’s no bad thing. It’s fun, but far from es­sen­tial.

KEY SPECS

Genre: rac­ing • De­vel­oper: Cy­ber­netic Wal­rus Pub­lisher: ICE­BERG IN­TER­AC­TIVE • Plat­form: PC; PS4; Xbox One www.anti­gravi­a­tor.com

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