Air Race Speed: Futuristic jet racing with stellar controls

Air Race Speed screenshot

Air Race Speed is a high-speed jet racing game with a futuristic theme. Travel through 36 different tracks in what looks like some sort advanced science lab or factory using one of nine vehicles. Compete with yourself to beat your own high score each time or challenge friends. The game includes multiple controlling options and an important speed boost toggle to cut down on time and improve your ranking. Air Race Speed is available universally for iPhone and iPad for US$2.99.

The detailed graphics falsely give the perception that Air Race Speed is a sophisticated game with a thick storyline and varying functions, but it's actually quite straightforward. When you start the game, you get to choose your preferred track and jet. At the very beginning, only one of each is made available so you're forced to follow along and complete tracks to unlock new ones and eventually unlock the other jets as well.

Air Race Speed screenshot

I love that the game gives you the option to use either on-screen controls or tilt. People tend to prefer one or the other and sometimes developers don't have a nice fluid tilting mechanism, but I'm happy to report that's not the case in Air Race Speed. I usually prefer on-screen controls for this reason, but tilting the phone was so much fun thanks to its responsiveness. Plus, the removal of on-screen controls means there's more room to view the playing environment.

The object is mainly to make it to the finish line for each track as fast as possible, beating any previous records. Once you make it to the finish line you automatically unlock the next track anyway. Air Race Speed is one of those games that doesn't necessarily need a concrete reward to be entertaining, because I personally just found gliding through the various tubes at lightning speed fun on its own.

Air Race Speed screenshot

Your speedometer is on the top right. Generally, the very first "Fall Leaf" jet flies at around 115 mph. When in speed mode, it easily excels past 400 mph, but be cautious that the speed boost comes with a lacking ability to control and maneuver your jet. Each vehicle has ratings on a one to five scale for speed, nitro and handling. The Fall Leaf, as the beginner jet, aptly scores just a one for each of these.

To unlock other jets, you need to collect certain numbers of stars. You get up to three stars per race based on your performance, similar to Angry Birds.

Air Race Speed integrates with Game Center for achievements and challenging other players. Other than that, there's really not much more to Air Race Speed. That's not a bad thing -- in fact, I found that the opposite is true.

Air Race Speed screenshot

Air Race Speed manages to be an exhilarating racing title without useless complexities and controls. While bells and whistles appeal to a certain gaming demographic, the best games are ones that are elegant just by successfully executing all of the basics. Air Race Speed is a superb example of this. Grab it for $2.99 in the iOS App Store.