Title: AiRace Xeno
Reviewed by: Aaron Matthew Holmes
Release: June 12th, 2014
• Take the challenge – fly extreme speeds across 9 adrenaline-fuelled tracks
• Stunning environments packed with challenging obstacles, tunnels, shortcuts and more
• Take control of one of 3 high-speed, futuristic jets powered with advanced technology
• High-performance graphics and immersive 3D effects that put you in the middle of the action
• Compete against fellow competitors around the world in online leaderboards
• Fantastic replay value with special achievements to be unlocked
• Fourth game of the successful and highly rated AiRace series
Continuing in the AiRace series, Xeno is the latest game from Qubic Games. Xeno is a fast-paced single-vehicle racing game that has the player racing through various maps with treacherous turns, obstacles, and various other hazards. Xeno has increased in map difficulty from AiRace Speed for those who are familiar with the title.
AiRace Xeno features 9 new maps for players to race through with 2 endless maps. One thing I noticed between both Xeno and Speed is that Speed has 18 levels to play through, compared to Xeno; this cuts the replayability significantly for players who had enjoyed Speed and its larger array of maps. QubicGames has, however, noted that this is basically the sequel to Speed and that the price is lower than that of AiRace Speed.
Also from what I’ve played of a single endless map, it feels as if it is the exact same map looped until all lives are lost, this could be a fluke, however. The Endless maps from Speed, though, felt a lot more entertaining and challenging, and ever-changing as they were randomly generated as the player flew further and further in to the level.
One thing I’ve noticed between both AiRace Speed and Xeno is that both their cinematic trailers and even opening videos within the game are nearly identical, only difference is logo and gameplay footage used (The reason behind this is explained by QubicGames later on in our interview with them at the end of this article!). Both games apparently have an issue with sound being distorted both through system sound and with headphones; the sound distortion is only noticeable as the volume is turned up higher. It is possible that it is just a clashing of the music, ship engine, and other various sound effects causing what sounds like a distortion, but we will update this if QubicGames can confirm the issue themselves.
It seems as if QubicGames has been unable to verify the sound issue, which means it may be a local problem on my system. Regardless, the sound issue doesn’t deter from my overall enjoyment of this title and hope that others enjoy it just as well!
Overall thoughts on this latest and last title in the AiRace series is that it definitely continues in the extreme racing conditions of the past games, but, with no easing up for the newer players who pick it up for the first time. While Xeno isn’t going to hold back for first time players, this title does bring the urge to replay the tracks over and over until you can master them and get that Gold medal and feel a sense of relief.
For a total of $2.49 in the Nintendo eShop, Xeno is at least worth playing for fans of the series, and for those who are seeking a new a new challenge.
I got a chance to interview QubicGames on their last title in the AiRace series, I hope you all enjoy reading this short interview!
Q. The last game you created, AiRace Speed, had 18 levels for the player to race through; this was an incredibly fun amount to have and really increased the replayability and overall enjoyability of the game. Why did you choose to have Xeno only include 9 playable maps?
QG: Indeed, AiRace Xeno has half less levels than AiRace Speed and also costs half less ($2,49 instead of $4,99).
There are two reasons for this choice:
First of all, for the people who haven’t played AiRace Speed, we wanted AiRace Xeno to offer a similar experience but for a smaller price, to increase the appeal and the chances that new players will get their hands on the AiRace series. Then, if they like the game, they will know that they can pay twice more for AiRace Speed without hesitating, because they’ll enjoy it for sure as well.
Secondly, for the people who have played and enjoyed AiRace Speed already, we wanted to deliver them new content but we decided that it wouldn’t be proper to create as many tracks without changing the gameplay. That’s why we think that giving new levels and a similar gameplay for a small price is a good offer, better than keeping a bigger price.
Q. Between both Speed Intro Cinematic (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFGdB_V4BDo ) and the Xeno (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ooxtrac3Ub8) the cinematics are identical aside from the logo and gameplay graphics. Was there a reason you kept it to the same cinematic with minor changes?
QG: This intro cinematic is a very high quality movie on which a lot of time and expertise has been spent. For a smaller game like AiRace Xeno, we decided that we wouldn’t have a new movie created with as much care. So we could have either created a new movie of lower quality or kept the same intro as AiRace Speed for everybody to enjoy, even people who don’t own AiRace Speed. We took the second option.
Q. The Cinematic includes a female character, yet when playing the games, there is no character select or character introduction. Is there a story behind this mysterious female? What is her role?
QG: In this movie http://youtu.be/Ooxtrac3Ub8 we decided to include a character to carry more efficiently the message that players will be controlling jets throughout the game, as pilots. Also, it shows the futuristic environment and fits with the fact that the game has great visuals. That’s the role of this mysterious lady. Then it’s up to the movie watchers to imagine a story behind. Nothing’s set and the imagination is free!
Q. Is there any story element to the AiRace series? i.e. why the player must race through these maps to achieve the fastest time? Or is it simple in that it’s all in the sake of having a fun game to play? And what was your original inspiration for the AiRace series? How has your original concept for the series evolved from idea to final project?
QG: There is no story element inside the series and it is definitely all in the sake of having fun!
I can describe here the process of deciding upon this kind of gameplay and how the ideas of new and different games for the series originated.
After making C.O.R.E. for Nintendo DS we wanted to develop a different kind of game, and for DSiWare, to be published digitally this time. So we thought: what is really optimal for this handheld device? The console is great to take away with you and play when you have some time in transports or in waiting queues for example. So it’s great to be able to play just a couple of minutes and still feel like progressing. That’s why we found out that racing games are very appropriate for DSi, because you can race and pass the finish line on just one track and then close your console if you don’t have more time.
Then the idea of planes came after wondering what could bring something original to the system. At that time, almost no games could let you race in the air. We were also influenced by the game Plane Crazy.
That’s how AiRace originated.
Then, let me explain you how AiRace: Tunnel was created. At first it was supposed to be a bonus mode to AiRace. We wanted to give a solo challenge with a good sense of speed. That’s how the ideas of tunnels came to life. But in the last moment we decided to divide the games into two separate products.
And the result is that AiRace: Tunnel found a big success on its own. It provided players with a fun and interesting gameplay experience.
That’s why we have decided later to bring to the 3DS a new AiRace game following the concept of high-speed racing through tunnels with a sci-fi environment. And AiRace Speed was born.
Afterwards, it was time for AiRace Xeno, and the answer to the first question of this interview explains why.
Thank you for the interview!
Thank you, QubicGames for taking time to answer our questions! We look forward to future content that you come out with!