It looks like Star Wars and Tron had a love child, and its name is Ion Racer. This new race game from Social Gaming Network just hit the iTunes store on March 28, and it’s already garnering some very positive feedback.
What is it?
Ion Racer is a simple racing game; you against the course. There are the obligatory obstacles to avoid and some boosts along the course. Hit too many of the obstacles and you will crash and burn. Likewise, you need to hit the boosts to get the benefit. The craft you pilot looks like a cross between a light cycle and a speeder bike, and you have to navigate the craft through what looks like a highway tunnel, only with much better lighting. There are three lanes and guard rails on either side. Pilot the craft so that you collect ion energy dots while avoiding the red tiles.
Simple…just not entirely easy.
How does it work?
There are two ways to control the craft: tilt control based on the internal accelerometer, or button controls. The default is tilt control, and I found it responsive enough without being as twitchy as the button controls, which are a bit sensitive.
Either way you set the steering controls, there will be a button on the left for “Focus Mode,” which will slow the craft down so you can be more precise with your flight path, and a button on the right for “Strike Mode,” which will speed you up for about one second. The extra speed can help you achieve one of the round’s goals or allow you to crash through the red barriers without taking damage. Both the speed up and slow down options require extra energy so keep collecting those ion dots.
There are two types of blue barriers; the tile with arrows pointing towards the center is good for gaining points, and the tile with the cross is good for a shield repair on every third cross tile hit. Don’t worry about remembering how many hits you have taken—the game provides you with a status bar for your shields at the upper left. You also get an energy level indicator at the bottom middle of the screen, and the upper right of the screen provides a score display and a pause button.
The game also offers in-app purchases of “kions” with which you can upgrade your current craft or buy the next model in line.
There are three ships, but two of them are locked in the beginning. Other upgrades include a “kion” magnet, better shields, repair upgrade, etc.
Is it contagious?
Oh, yeah! I played for a while on lunch break, and 20 minutes of game play seemed to go by in 5. Why can’t time slow down when you’re having fun? The next session pretty well drained the charge on my iPod touch, so I had to wait until the next day to play some more.
The graphics are well done and the action is engaging, especially for what amounts to a simple race down a tunnel. The game changes up how far ahead you can see on the track, so you are always adjusting and reacting to what’s coming your way. I don’t know if the game developers had the cardiac potassium ion channel in mind when they named their game points “kions” but it does provide a bit of adrenaline to get the heart going. Go get the download and be the first on your block with Ion Racer.