Review: A.I.M. Racing (Steam)

Review: A.I.M. Racing (Steam)

Part 2 of my review of the 1C Racing Megapack on Steam.

A.I.M. Racing, developed by SkyRiver Studios, is a hover racer style game based on the world of A.I.M. 2: Clan Wars.  I have never seen the RPG’s this racer is based upon, so I cannot comment on the weaving of the world.  From what I can tell, they are like some kind of  “Open World” Descent.  I was all about Descent when I had my old school PSX back in 9th grade, and I love a good arcade racing game, so for me, this was enough to suck me in.  I gave it a good 2 hours of playtime today, had a blast and some opinions. (I am a Virgo after all)

HURRAY FOR OPINIONS!!! <but you all came to discuss the game, not my personality flaws 😛 >

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Good:

The game does a decent job creating a feeling of speed, and the hovercraft racing genre isn’t usually done with such large maps.  Often times the race tracks seem like corridors, so i am glad these environments really gave me the feeling of an open and treacherous terrain.

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Music is OK, kind of a Techno Rock-y/Futuristic Trance-y (IDK my electronic music genres), reminds me a lot of Dreamcast, or PlayStation Era titles.  I was good to listen to it during today’s playtime, but I would think of putting on a play list since the song variety is limited.

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Game progression is simple.  I am not big on games that slowly dish out the goodies, it usually takes too long to get something that wasn’t worth the time needed to earn it.  A.I.M. gives you new vehicles after you complete each tier in championship mode, as well as a chosen upgrade path that applies to each craft you have earned.  These upgrades allow you to tailor the ships to your playing style, and can help you make a less desirable craft faster or easier to maneuver, or make a speedy craft more durable or pack a bigger punch.  The upgrade you choose applies to all vehicles, so you don’t even have to fidget with a bunch of settings.  I kind of like the WYSIWYG vehicle selection, simplicity saves this title from becoming a micro-managing nightmare ^_^

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Bad:

Graphics are a bit outdated, the game looks like  Dreamcast or early PS2, this isn’t really a problem though.  Most people don’t have insane gaming rigs, so lower end graphics means more people can run the title.

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I didn’t care for the Power-Up system much.  Weapons, Shield and Boost pods are scattered over the course, rather Mario Kart-ish.  Often I found myself crashing or otherwise going off track while trying to obtain an upgrade, and the variety sucks.  Some are upgrades for stat boosts temporarily, others are weapons/ammo.   The weapons selection is very limited, missiles, mines and ammo packs, that is IT.  One kind of missile, one kind of mine.  At times my missiles were blue and other times they were red, no idea what the difference was.   It was almost easier to avoid weapons and just race my ass off.  This bummed me out, as I rather enjoy a Bash-n-Crash racer.

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Several times I would crash and get stuck in objects(like railings) and be forced to re-spawn, but this wasn’t constant enough to be considered a major flaw/glitch.

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Default controller setups are ridiculous, most functions (like FIRE) aren’t even assigned.  The game is unplayable until you manually set up your gamepad.  It also didn’t recognize many of the buttons on my XBox 360 USB controller.   I couldn’t find my  Gravis USB, so I couldn’t test to see if an older controller would have worked better.

Due to the obnoxious controller settings, I had to adjust for a while to get something that felt right.(took me maybe 20 minutes)  I found that it is best to leave acceleration on the joystick, if you are used to helicopter flight, this will work well for you.  A flight stick would be better suited for this game.  If you are using a gamepad, turn the sensitivity all the way down or you will be flying all over the place.

Also, after setting up my controller the menus were weird about responding to controller inputs, so I had to switch to the keyboard at times to interact with a menu.  This was an issue in 4 X 4 Hummer as well, so lets hope it isn’t a consistent theme in all five games.

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Final Opinion:

Worst thing about this game is the controls, so it is a good thing this can be adjusted.  I strongly suggest getting a flight stick, as it would make the experience significantly better.  This game was a throwback title for me, instantly reminding me of F-Zero or Wipeout.  If you liked either of those games, this game might be a fun one to tote around on your laptop.  For people with lower end machines, this game is at least good enough be worth it’s portion of the package price($4), and more than makes up for the Hummer game 😛

<insert screenshots, exit over-opinionated me>

  • allen

    this sounds like a fun title. and i could probably play it on the netbook. may be worth checking out.

    • Austin

      Sadly the game is only available in the Megapack, and that is like 20 bucks (I got mine on sale for 6) This game is one of the best in the package, but I wouldnt say it is worth 20 bucks. If you get a chance to snag it on sale, go for it. Steam does large sales around the holidays, so look for my coverage of the Xmas activity

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