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Neon Wings: Air Race Review

Official Score

Overall - 20%

20%

While the aerial movement of Neon Wings: Air Race helps this title stand out, its poor implementation hinders its balance when all is said and done.

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Futuristic racing action may have died with F-Zero and Wipeout (god rest their souls), but Fubenalvo and SXtheOne are looking to keep the spirit alive with their new title Neon Wings: Air Race. Should players hit the synthetic skies, or is this racer a clunker?

Neon Wings: Air Race Review

Most racers have players squarely on terra firma; even F-Zero keeps things grounded with floating ships. However, Neon Wings puts some air beneath each ship’s wings, allowing players to maneuver in the Y-axis as well as the X. One can use a keyboard and mouse setup to get around, with players controlling the yaw and navigating the space.

Unfortunately, the execution of this principle leaves something to be desired. Rather than using something more akin to the control scheme found in a first person shooter, movement here is largely relegated to the mouse. There’s simply too much assigned to one particular spot, and as a result it becomes a jack of all trades and master of none.

After players choose from one of 12 different pilots and name their fearless leader, players are able to hit the skies and see these controls firsthand. Races are what you’d expect from the genre; with six participants at any given time, it’s up to players to make a set amount of laps and come out on top. A single trail guides racers along, providing guidance and a little speed boost if one sticks close to it.

However, things quickly begin to fall apart once races start. While it’s nice that portals are on the track that serve as checkpoints, simply pressing the wrong button can automatically reset players to a previous point unintentionally. In addition, the rubber banding of this game is done to an extreme; it’s not uncommon to see somebody from far behind jet forward to the front of the pack near the end of a race. It just doesn’t feel fair, and no amount of practice can make up for it.

Things get that much more dicey when Neon Wings’ items are thrown into the mix. Much like Nintendo’s Mario Kart series of games, players are able to grab different power-ups from boxes on the track. Players can grab a nitro for extra speed, an automated homing missile, a power-up that drops three mines, and a shield that provides partial protection. Not much balance was put into this weaponry; missiles are far too powerful for their own good, with them locking on to our targets 100% of the time. There is a random box that features a repair tool and other bonuses, but it just isn’t enough.

Players can choose from a Time Trial, a Tournament, a Single Race, or can walk through the hangar, but most races play out the same. There’s a distinct lack of polish throughout, and while there might be options like different ship tiers and reverse track layouts to choose from, it fails to make a lasting impression.

While the aerial movement of Neon Wings: Air Race helps this title stand out, its poor implementation hinders its balance when all is said and done.

This review of Neon Wings: Air Race was done on the PC. The game was purchased digitally.
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Casey Scheld

Casey Scheld has more than 15 years of experience in the gaming industry as a community manager, social media director, event specialist, and (of course) gaming editor. He has previously worked with gaming start-ups like Raptr, publishers like Konami, and roller derby girls at PAX West (check out Jam City Rollergirls)! Gamers Heroes is a passion project for him, giving him a chance to tap into the underground side of gaming. He is all too eager to give these lesser-known heroes of the indie space the attention they so rightly deserve, seeking out the next gem and sharing it with the world. Previously making appearances at events like CES, GDC, and (the late) E3, he is all too happy to seek out the next big thing. For those that want to talk shop, send over a tip, or get an easy win in a fighting game of their choosing, be sure to check out his social media channels below.

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