AiRace Speed was a favorite of mine last year, and now the series has returned to 3DS.  AiRace Xeno is a standalone release of what was downloadable content on the mobile market, being shorter with reused assets.  The good news is it’s also priced liked DLC – at just $2.49, this makes both the perfect impulse buy and a great starting point for those interested in the series which started way back on DSiWare.

AiRace Xeno has 9 new levels to race through.  These are fun courses and they display more color, creativity, and visual diversity than the previous entry which already looked slick.  Effective lightning adds to the enjoyable atmosphere.  The design itself impresses, with already narrow corridors occasionally displaying corkscrew like construction – so much as a brush on the wall will send your craft into a whirlpool like spin!  Only one endless level returns this time, but it’s a welcome break in the action as it shifts focus from blistering speed to careful steering.

The controls remain fairly tight, which helps keep the game’s challenge from veering off into unfair territory.  Those who cut their teeth on earlier AiRace games know how intense they are – the sheer speed keeps you on your toes at all times!  Knowing when to lay off the nitro and which fork in the path to take are key elements at avoiding crashes, unlocking every track, and earning gold stars.  Are you up for the challenge?

Online leader boards have returned!  I was able to enjoy the pre-release more this time, as I was near the top ranks among those with early press codes.  I suppose I’ve gotten a bit better from my time spent playing AiRace Speed, because I don’t think Xeno is necessarily any easier.  It’s a really good game for those who are seeking both a challenging title, and one whose replay value is well covered.

AiRace Xeno is just as good as its previous entry if not better.  I enjoyed the level designs more this time, the 3 new ships are cool, and even the music (which wasn’t too noteworthy previously) has been much improved!  All this for just $2.49 – how can I not score it high?  QubicGames have clearly mastered high-speed, tunnel oriented racing.  Now how about a return to the open air racing seen in the original AiRace?

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