This futuristic racer is an indirect sequel to 2019â€™s Velocity G. It comes from the same developer (repixel8) but is suitably different enough, in terms of new mechanics, that simply slapping a â€˜2â€™ on the tile would no doubt confuse fans of the original. Or at least, lead to a bout of head-scratching.
Tunnel racing is the order of the day. Not just zooming through twisty tunnels, but also astride of, allowing for 360-degree gravity-defying races. Halfpipe style tracks add further variety, with the edge of the â€˜pipeâ€™ causing significant damage to your craft should you get too close.
While navigating tunnels, the idea is to try and stick to the highlighted race line while hitting boost pads, avoiding red pads that cause deceleration, and trying to resist the temptation to spin around the tunnel â€“ which results in becoming spun out. Hitting several boost pads in a row commences a combo, and the proficiency in which the deceleration pads are placed makes keeping a chain tricky.
Weapons feature too, although the fact that just one type features â€“ a homing projectile â€“ suggests the developers wanted to keep the focus on racing. Itâ€™s also a tad tricky to tell when hits have landed, which makes combat less satisfying than it couldâ€™ve been.
Although it doesnâ€™t feature full GPs, thereâ€™s still plenty of stuff to work through â€“ new circuits are periodically unlocked as your rise through the ranks, and each course has three modes to tackle, including elimination races.
Vehicles, which are intended to resemble not specialist racing craft but everyday transport and service vehicles, look appropriately weathered and worn. Winnings can be used to improve handling and balance, with smaller craft soon hitting their upgrade limits.
Developer repixel8 is well-versed with racing games, this being their specialist field. As such, it doesnâ€™t come as a surprise to find the basics present and correct â€“ itâ€™s possible to get up to top speed quickly, circuits have plenty of slippery bends, and the handling is pleasingly arcade-like.
We also approve of the fact that basslines kick in just as the announcer finishes off the starting grid countdown – a benefit of having a bespoke soundtrack.
Launching 21st January on Xbox One, Xbox Series and PC, Gravity Chaseâ€™s neon-drenched vistas should help banish the January blues. Look out for it.