Games for the Weekend is a weekly feature aimed at helping you avoid doing something constructive with your downtime. Each Friday we’ll be recommending a game for Mac, iPhone or iPad that we think is awesome. Here is one cool enough to keep you busy during this weekend.
Repulze ($2.99 Universal) is more than a racing game with insanely fast courses, upgradable hovercraft and challenging obstacles — and those hovercraft are equipped with weapons. In what plays out as a roller derby style of fighting, you can either race ahead and avoid the fight entirely, or lag behind and take your opponents out one at a time.
There are three different control settings to choose from. The first set of controls are easy enough to understand: tap right to go right and tap left to go left. There is also a tilt-to-steer setting that uses the device’s accelerometer and a back-and-forth slider control that is accessed in the center of the screen. Going right or left is the easy part, what takes a little getting used to is the fast-paced graphics and knowing exactly when and how far to go to the right or to the left in order to maximize your speed potential.
Each course will take a few passes to learn where the obstacles and various power-ups are located. Along the tracks are energy gates that you pass through in order to gain energy during the race. These energy gates are color-coded indicating their polarity. Your hovercraft switches between red and green energy polarity throughout the race. When your hovercraft requires red energy, it is important that you avoid the green energy gates. If you happen to hit the wrong color energy gate, your speed will decrease. Hitting three consecutive power gates of the same color earns you a booster. This adds to the challenge of each as achieving some of the more demanding record times requires you to earn every possible booster in the race, without hitting the wrong color power gate even once.
There are three different phases to choose from when you start the game. Phase One is considered the boot camp level. There are nine gravity-defying tracks and six hovercraft to choose from. Here your biggest challenge is to avoid hitting the walls while going as fast as you can. This is a great place to start as you can get familiar with the various hovercraft and get into the groove of the game’s racing style. In Phase Two the game introduces Wildcard Gates and Toolkits. Wildcard Gates instantly grant you a power booster and change your hovercraft polarity. Toolkits are collected and spent to power up your hovercraft. In Phase Two additional vehicles are on the track as well. Phase Two is basically an advanced version of Phase One, with new tracks to explore.
Phase Three is where your hovercraft gains weapons and the additional vehicles on the track are hostile. With plasma canons and rocket batteries your hovercraft becomes an instrument of destruction. There are no additional controls to learn as your weapons have an automatic targeting system. You just need to control your hovercraft and keep it steady long enough for the targeting system to lock on to its target. You are also warned when an enemy hovercraft has you in its sights. Your screen starts flashing red, alarms go off, and if you don’t respond quickly to the threat, you may get incinerated.
As you win more races, you will increase in rank and earn badges. Your rank determines which hovercraft you can use and your badges unlock additional tracks. Each hovercraft is upgradable as well. You spend the Toolkits you collect. The power ripper power up is the only power-up available in Phase One and Two, as they are not battle courses. In Phase Three, you have access to the Plasma Canon and Rocket Battery power-ups.
The graphics are extremely smooth for a racing game that moves so fast. The gravity-defying tracks that the hovercraft races on really add depth to how you approach each track. Keeping your hovercraft from bumping into the walls while at the same time earning the much-needed energy gates makes each course a real challenge to master. This weekend is a good time to brush up on your hovercraft skills, and take on the challenge of battling other hovercraft in the futuristic world that is Repulze.