Futuristic racers were all the rage back when I was growing up in the 90s. Games like Wipeout, F-Zero, and Forsaken were popular titles, with fast machines in futuristic locales. The genre has even had a bit of a return with the Fast Racing series on the Wii U and soon to be Switch as well. LifeSpeed was an interesting title because it was built with the New 3DS in mind, and is exclusive to this version of the console. Does the risk pay off with a quality title?
LifeSpeed is a futuristic racer that pushes a story mode pretty heavily. The government has become corrupt (surprise!) and you are part of a resistance that gets things done by racing. Different people from various planets take place in a Grand Prix that turns into a game of survival pretty quickly. It’s not a fantastic story, but the way it’s presented in a nice comic book style gets the job done.
When you first start a race, you will notice that there is nothing to indicate controls, which is pretty odd. I looked for a menu and never found one, only to realize after a few races in the Story mode the game starts to tell you the controls. Shouldn’t you have told me this before I started racing?
Your ship is constantly moving, so there’s no button for acceleration. Instead, you focus on steering the ship, firing weapons, flying through rings to acquire weapons and speed boosts, and avoiding projectiles from the other racers. Once you adjust to everything, the controls feel a bit like Diddy Kong Racing’s flying mode, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
LifeSpeed is a solid looking title, with ships clearly defined and some race courses (mostly the city ones) looking very pleasing. Weapon effects are a bit paltry, and some of the courses blend in together way too often, but the game moves at a brisk pace without a whole lot of slowdown. The game has a good sense of speed as well. The 3D effects aren’t very imposing, and I mostly played with the slider rather low as I didn’t feel it added anything to the game.
One of the main problems with the game is in the audio department however. Music tracks, while decently composed and a few being catchy, tend to be way too short, causing a noticeable “looping” effect that is really distracting. Sound effects for your ship are nearly non-existent, even when you turn down the music considerably. Your ship hardly makes a noise as it blasts through the courses, and it’s a really strange omission.
Aside from the story mode, which is a decent length, there is also Single Race, and Championship mode.Single Race has you picking a character and a course, while Championship mode has you picking a character and going through a series of races. These races give you points, which you can then upload to an online leaderboard system.
The game doesn’t offer any multiplayer, which to me is a must in any racing game. It extends the life of the game beyond the single player. A simple race mode for online competition would have been a nice addition, and I feel that the game sorely misses that aspect.
If you are a fan of Wipeout-style games and own a New 3DS, LifeSpeed is a decent option for you to pick up since Nintendo will never put an F-Zero on the 3DS. The poor audio, lack of online multiplayer, and confusing first few races are a bit off putting, but the racing mechanics are solid enough to keep the game fun.
- Nice Visuals
- Solid Racing Mechanics
- Online leaderboards
- Sound is subpar
- No online racing