Almost by default, futuristic racers are lustrous things. For this, we can thank a combination of exhilarating speeds, curvaceous and desirable vehicles, rollercoaster-style courses, and speaker warbling soundtracks. Itâ€™s no surprise that numerous consoles launched with a futuristic racer â€“ theyâ€™re ideal showpieces.
Repixel8â€™s Gravity Chase ticks most of those boxes. Vehicles get up to top speed quickly while handling is appropriately arcade-like, the bespoke trance soundtrack is worth turning the volume up for, and despite the racers competing in converted service and transport vehicles â€“ a neat backstory expanding touch â€“ the majority are suitably sleek.
Races take place both in and astride boost pad-laden twisty tunnels, with gravity physics playing a part should you dare to travel along walls and ceilings. There are no full GPs to play through â€“ just singular races, each with a trio of race types (arcade, combat, and elimination) which last a few minutes each.
Winning races bestows XP, which in turn unlocks more tracks. The track selection screen shows which race types per track youâ€™re yet beat, which helps with the sense of progression. The same goes for the ability to upgrade craft, with most hitting their maximum capabilities quickly.
Despite Gravity Chase being a quasi-sequel to 2019â€™s Velocity G, it has a few odd omissions. Highly notable is the lack of a mini-map. This means when youâ€™re in 2nd place, itâ€™s often unclear whether youâ€™re tantalisingly close to overtaking the race leader, or if theyâ€™re so far ahead youâ€™ve no chance.Â Neither is it clear how far away you are from the pack when trailing behind in 8th place. This wouldnâ€™t much of a problem if the visibility of other racers was clear, but theyâ€™re usually lost amongst the glowing boost pads, neon light strips and other trackside detailing.
Combat races are a little lacking too. If youâ€™re expecting a tactical assortment of WipEout-style weaponry, then youâ€™re in for a disappointment â€“ vehicles are merely equipped with a homing shot, ammo for which must be collected prior. Thatâ€™s to say, thereâ€™s a single weapon type that doesnâ€™t take long to master. Considering combat races only make for a small part of the experience, this isnâ€™t too damaging overall though, and it can be satisfying to take down several rivals during a single race.
Elimination matches are the most challenging, and eventful, of the three race types â€“ when racing on smaller tracks, the vanilla arcade mode can feel considerably light and low on thrills, with races over before the pack has even had a chance to spread out.
While it doesnâ€™t have enough features to rival the likes of Wipeout Omega Collection and Pacer, at Â£9.99 itâ€™s still a serviceable enough budget option. Itâ€™s easy to pick up and master – with the easier difficulty setting keeping frustration levels low – and the rate at which new tracks unlock means usually after 2-3 races thereâ€™s something new to tackle. Split-screen play is a welcome addition too, even if the fun it provides is all too fleeting.
Gravity Chase is out 21st January on Xbox One, Xbox Series, and PC.