Aug 16, 2013
Picture the futuristic racer Wipeout, with its high-speed hovercar racing, boost pads, and items to make for an intense racing experience with a dash of combat mixed in. Now picture Gradius. The classic 2D shoot-’em-up with its difficult-to-traverse paths, and unique weapons powerup system. Mix the two, and that’s what Delta-V Racing is. It’s Wipeout gameplay and aesthetics in a Gradius world. And it’s just crazy enough to work.
Seriously, playing the game, there’s no better way to describe it than that it’s a literal combination of the two games. This doesn’t mean that it feels like a rip-off of either: the combination makes it feel unique, and like a really clever idea. There’s the movement feel of a 2D shooter, with constant acceleration forward, but the lap structure of a racer. The powerups are standard combat racing fare: forward-firing missiles, reverse-firing mines, boosts, etc. But the game borrows the Gradius powerup cycling, where running over another item pad goes to the next item in the sequence, presumably a better one, unless it’s the last item cycling back around to the first! This familiar element adds a layer of strategy to the game that fits perfectly.
The controls are a solid effort, with a 1-to–1 offset vertical sliding system, where sliding up and down the left side of the screen moves the ship, and tapping on the right side will use an item (or if tapped at the start, will launch a starting-line boost). This works well, and is helped by a cursor indicator showing where the ship will be going, which is great for quick sliding movements. Have faith in the cursor! Splendidly, there’s the ability to use an HID gamepad to control the preceedings as well, which is great too, as later levels demand precision.
Delta-V integrates in Google Play games services for achievements, leaderboards, and even a ghost racing feature where players can take on the fastest time of opponents in their circles. I’m glad to see developers using the games services in such unique ways.
This is well worth checking out for fans of shoot ’em ups and futuristic racers, as it combines the two genres deftly. I had a ton of fun with this one, even in later levels where the challenge ramped up.