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. It’s no surprise that numerous consoles launched with a futuristic racer – they’re ideal showpieces.
Repixel8’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 – a neat backstory expanding touch – 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 – 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 you’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 2019’s Velocity G, it has a few odd omissions. Highly notable is the lack of a mini-map. This means when you’re in 2nd place, it’s often unclear whether you’re tantalisingly close to overtaking the race leader, or if they’re so far ahead you’ve no chance. Neither is it clear how far away you are from the pack when trailing behind in 8th place. This wouldn’t much of a problem if the visibility of other racers was clear, but they’re usually lost amongst the glowing boost pads, neon light strips and other trackside detailing.
Combat races are a little lacking too. If you’re expecting a tactical assortment of WipEout-style weaponry, then you’re in for a disappointment – vehicles are merely equipped with a homing shot, ammo for which must be collected prior. That’s to say, there’s a single weapon type that doesn’t take long to master. Considering combat races only make for a small part of the experience, this isn’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 – 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 doesn’t have enough features to rival the likes of Wipeout Omega Collection and Pacer, at £9.99 it’s still a serviceable enough budget option. It’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 there’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.