Review: AiRace Xeno

A jet lagged sequel.

By Anthony Vigna. Posted 06/24/2014 09:00 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
High speed racing.
Poison Mushroom for...
A carbon copy of its predecessor; Racing is still a solo affair; Limited game modes; No vehicle customization; Lack of content.

Last year, I was completely new to Nintendojo and wrote a review for AiRace Speed as my first published article on the site. If you’ve never played it, then picture a game that takes the aerial controls of the Arwing in Star Fox and mashes it together with the speed of an F-Zero race car. Maneuvering a really fast aircraft through tight corridors felt really satisfying in AiRace Speed, but the game suffered from a lack of variety and content. I went into AiRace Xeno thinking that it would be improved in these two areas, but I was instead greeted by a bite-sized version of AiRace Speed that changed almost nothing.

Between the similarities in the menus, HUD, controls, graphics, and game mechanics, AiRace Xeno and AiRace Speed are practically the same game. The only thing that’s really different this time around is the level design, but none of the levels differentiate themselves in any profound way and feel boring as a result. Each level is solely comprised of a set of tunnels with various roadblocks, so they mostly play the same way. Oh, and the soundtrack is now dubstep-inspired. Yay?

Because both of these games are highly similar, they both carry the same problems. For instance, the main game mode of AiRace Xeno is still just a time attack mode, meaning that you’ll always race by yourself and never directly face an opponent in the same track. While an in-game ranking system makes it fun to replay levels, being alone on a track can get dull after a few races. There’s also a survival mode in which you race on an endless track to see how long you can last, but it’s relegated to just one of the game’s stages and remains as the only alternative mode available. A little variety in game modes could have gone a long way, as this greatly limits the scope of Air Race Xeno.

The game only has three kinds of aircraft, all of which seem to control exactly the same. Not only that, but they are individually preset to specific levels, making it impossible to choose an aircraft. Phenomenal racers, like Mario Kart 8, offer tons of vehicle customization options that alter stats like speed or handling to change the feel of the game. Because AiRace Xeno lacks any kind of vehicle options, I had less incentive to become invested in the experience.

My biggest problem with AiRace Xeno is that it’s an incredibly short game. I thought AiRace Speed felt short at 18 tracks, but AirRace Xeno only managed to include nine tracks into the game. I completed AiRace Xeno in 40 minutes flat without trying to rush through it, exemplifying the lack of content put in. Sure, I could replay levels to set higher scores or try to unlock in-game achievements to extend its life, but I doubt that it would hold my attention for much longer. Even though AiRace Xeno is only $2.49, this isn’t justifiable because other eShop games like Tappingo offer hours of fun for roughly the same price.

AiRace Xeno could have been something special. The core idea of the game is fantastic and it’s a blast to pilot an aircraft an incredible speeds, but it’s ultimately a fleeting experience that’s confined to its limited features. QubicGames has an awesome concept at its disposal, but it needs to flesh it out in order to create a more complete video game.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Log In 0 points Log in or register to grow your Ninja Score while interacting with our site.
Nintendojo's RSS Feeds

All Updates Podcast
News Comments
Like and follow usFacebookTwitter Friend Code Exchange + Game with Us Join the Team!