Right then, I think it’s time for a change. While you all will no doubt be waiting with baited breath for my next Farm based game review, I thought I would throw you all a curve ball or hover curve ball (ok not as good as it first sounded I’ll admit) with my next review for Aero Racer! Aero Racer is a top down racing game from Halfbrick Studios, that is available as a PlayStation Minis title that can be played on your PS3, PSP and of course, most importantly, the PS Vita.
The game offers 4 modes of play. Party mode (which I will explain further down), Quick Race, Grand Prix and Campaign. Starting off with Quick Race then, you are able to choose from all the tracks that feature in the game and start up a single race against 3 A.I. opponents. You are able to choose your track and the difficulty which ranges from Easy through to Insane. Grand Prix however allows you to choose a grand prix from a choice of 4. Each grand prix has a set amount of race tracks and you face off against 3 A.I. opponents over the course of the grand prix, again you can choose a difficulty setting depending on how brave you are feeling! Campaign though is where the real meat of the game is and I would recommend you start here!
Campaign mode initially gives you a chance to learn the ropes and get used to the handling of the craft with a few fairly basic challenges, however these progressively test your reflexes and skill with a variety of challenges ranging from checkpoint races to drag races against the A.I., timed events and more besides. The challenges also allow you to practise and perfect one of the games main points, wall grinding! Wall grinding allows you to gain a short temporary boost of speed (so long as you dont hit the wall while attempting to pull it off) and drifting around corners close to walls can offer you that tiny edge against your opponents who are definitely no slouches by any means. Races are fast and short which suits the portable nature of the PSP and PS Vita. While mistakes can break your race, the short tracks mean it can all be forgotten about and put right in a matter of seconds!
Controls are simple enough, as you use either the D-pad or either analogue stick to direct your craft any of the face buttons or shoulder buttons to propel yourself in your chosen direction. It is a flexible system that allows you to use any button that you may be used to using for racers in general, which means it is easy to pick up and get going.
The soundtrack is vibrant and consistent and the sound effects all help to convey the science fiction theme. Graphics are pretty simple but are vibrant, sharp and suit the overall theme very nicely indeed.
Multiplayer is supported in the form of Party play which can be played by up to 4 players and is done in a turn based way that allows you to pick a track and the 1st player sets a time on that track, every other player then battles to beat that time and each player is allotted 3 lives in order to do so in a knockout competition. While there may be no multiplayer grand prix mode, it is nice to see multiplayer in some form in a minis title than not at all!
My own thoughts were skeptical to start with, I was not convinced that there would be much more than a handful of tracks and a short campaign with maybe a couple of Grand Prix, what I got however was a big shock and a pleasant surprise. The variety and depth on offer is surprising to say the least and the challenges throughout the campaign are… well… challenging! The handling does take a little while to get used to, but it is well worth the effort!
Overall then I was extremely pleased with the overall package. This title has more depth and variety than you would expect at first glance and the learning curve makes sure that while it may be easy enough to get around the tracks, you never quite feel you have mastered all there is to offer. Bye Bye spare time! Easily recommended to everyone!
At A Glance
- Title: Aero Racer
- Publisher: Halfbrick Studios
- System: PSP Minis
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: No
- Online Multiplayer: No
- Local Multiplayer: Yes
- Memory Card Space needed: 29Mb minimum