VSR Void Space Racing

Void Space Racing (Switch) Review

Game: Void Space Racing
System: Nintendo Switch
Developer/Publisher: Sonka
Age Rating: 3+ (EU) / E (US)
Price: £8.99 | €9,99| $9.99
Release Date: 20th July 2018

Review Code kindly provided by Sonka

Racing like you’ve never known it before!

Tracks? Gravity? Friction? Not in Void Space Racing!

VSR screenshot 1

Gameplay & Controls

In Void Space Racing (VSR) you simply race, unlike the game Orbital Racer (which VSR is based on) there is no simulation option or action option for controls/game physics, no first person view or even weapons; it’s a racing game pure and simple.

You have single player, local multiplayer and time trial mode as well as a “How to play” mode.

Single player has three difficulty settings of easy, medium and hard and there are eight courses in total. The player is required to come first on a course to unlock the next course – winning on any difficulty will unlock a course.

Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads!

There are no tracks to stay on during races, only rings to fly through. There are two arrows to help guide you to the rings: the red arrow points to the next ring to fly to (which will also be in red) and the green arrow shows you where the following ring will be (handy for judging where to turn next).

You can miss a number of rings during a race, if the maximum miss amount is reached; the player has no choice, but to fly through the remaining rings to be able to finish the race.

Besides courses to unlock, the player can also unlock different space crafts; three types in total but each type has eight different colours to choose from. Depending on what colour and type of craft you choose, the pattern of the colour will also change.

Multiplayer can be up to two players playing locally; but no more than two and no online option. Local multiplayer is perfect for the Switch, sure an online option would be great, but for the price; I think it’s reasonable :).

VSR screenshot 2

Time trial mode has local and online leader boards. Local leader boards display your best times for a course, while the online leader boards will display where your best time ranks against others online – it’s a nice little online feature and gives the player an incentive to do better. Missing a ring in time trial will add a penalty of +1 second to your time.

How to play mode has two parts: part one tells you the controls and gives you the freedom to fly around, part two explains the interface and lets you practice flying through rings. It doesn’t give you tips on how to do, well, anything really – which adds another layer of difficulty. Trying things out for yourself is a must, although the controls are straight forward; mastering the space craft with the game’s physics can take time and may frustrate some players to begin with (don’t give up!)

Which way is up?!

In most racing games, turning/drifting around bends in a track is very important. In VSR, it’s about tilting the craft to the right angle, rotating the right way, as well as braking at key points (timing is critical). When new to the game; best to just focus on getting through the rings, as well as timing the brakes right to quickly adjust where the craft is heading.

The way the crafts are designed; there is no “right” way up for the craft to be. Rotating the craft does have it’s advantages, however, I found it was more useful in later courses; mainly on the hard difficulty or for cutting a few seconds off in time trial.

VSR screenshot 1

Graphics, Designs & Soundtrack

The graphic style leans more towards realism and the main objects are rendered in 3D. The textures aren’t overly detailed and are rather flat in places, but as it’s a racing game; you aren’t going to be hanging around staring at what’s around you – so it’s all good.

Void Space Racing’s courses are simplistic in design with typically a centralised area to fly around – some levels have more than one object which changes things up a bit and keeps it interesting. Considering how the player flies through rings in space; less is a good thing.

The creators have designed the courses distinctive enough, that no two courses are the same – with a nice “bonus” course that is very different from the rest (which is brilliantly colourful).

The space craft designs seem to be taken from Orbital Racer. They may have a few tweaks along with the colours/patterns and new names, but they are very much the same in terms of their form.

I do like the space craft designs, especially with the choice of colours and patterns – as well as the nice “Skyforce” name and symbol they have added (I love games giving nods to other series).

If you like electronic music you will likely enjoy VSR’s soundtrack. I felt the music added a bit of an atmosphere on certain courses, while others added to the thrill of the race – enjoyable throughout and fitted the courses brilliantly.

VSR screenshot

Additional Comments

There is no story or scenario, so there isn’t a great deal of text to read – let’s face it; we just want to get in and race anyway 😀

Keeping my thumb on the acceleration button and making quick turns, while only tapping the brake button; made such a difference when racing. If your timing and angling is right, it can be such a game  changer – I managed to play through all the courses on medium (minus the first course) winning first time when I stopped rotating the craft and focused on the timing and angling. I didn’t start rotating the craft again until after playing through all the courses (as I was a lot more confident with the controls and where to go by this point).

Overall Opinion

VSR is (as the title states) a space racing game; nothing more, nothing less – but it’s great fun with a good soundtrack to match.

Considering it’s based on Orbital Racer, the developers could of easily of included a lot of other features from that game. I’m glad they didn’t, I find it refreshing to have a racing game focused on the racing aspect with no hidden short cuts or weapons to help gain an advantage.

Perhaps it would of been nice to be able to choose a pattern and a colour separately, but it is only cosmetic and choosing a colour is a good feature in itself – everyone likes a bit of customisability.

VSR screenshot 4

When I first played VSR I called it a marmite racer. I got the feeling that people would either love it or hate it, as the initial hurdle of getting used to the controls and the game’s physics may not suit everyone.

I think the tutorial could be better considering it’s very different to a lot of racing games. A good tutorial would help many people adjust to the game a lot easier and quicker, allowing them to enjoy the game itself rather than getting to grips with controlling the craft.
Emphasis on timing the brake and angling the craft (to make quick turns) would be a good thing to teach beginners before rotating the craft.

I really enjoy Void Space Racing a lot, but the tutorial is lacking a bit and they can still add more to it to make it all the more brilliant – so it gets an “I like it” rating from me.

Certainly hoping for more Void Space Racing in the future!

I like it!

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