Xtreme Air Racing
Judging by the popularity of Formula One, there’s plenty of interest in watching rich blokes racing round and round in big meaty machines. But the Ferraris and Williams of this world are like lawnmowers compared to the souped-up WW2 planes that are used on the Air Racing circuit. You might not have heard of Air Racing, but it really does exist and Xtreme Air Racing (XAR) is a serious attempt to simulate the sport itself.
The game’s structure is pretty much the same as any other racing game, except with planes. You can enter a single race, a whole season, play against friends in multiplayer, or you can just practice on any of the courses. XAR features five areas including Reno (where the real races are held), and over each area you can attempt courses of varying difficulty. Again, like many other racing games, the harder courses only become 'unlocked’ as you win races.
Pass Me The Spanner
The planes themselves are a pretty meaty bunch, and tend to be heavily-customised WW2 types like Mustangs and Corsairs. You may have already flown these planes in other sims, but without armour and weapons, and with lots of enhancements and a racy colour scheme, these babies can go. Before you enter a race you get to customise settings like the type of engine, the propeller size and the gearing ratio, and at higher levels these modifications become essential if you’re going to win races. After taking what seems an age to load, the in-game graphics turn out to be a mixed bag. While the planes look suitably sleek and shiny, and the terrain is well suited to this kind of game, from a distance it all looks pretty average, with big slab-sided mountains and none of the smooth rolling hills found in the likes of IL-2. But there’s plenty of ground detail that flies past when you’re down low, which for the purposes of XAR is where it matters.
A Day At The Races
The races themselves are pretty exciting, and zooming around at about 30ft while being buffeted around by the slipstreams of the planes in front is a real struggle. However, it’s not as hard as it could be. At lower difficulty levels it’s way too easy to win and before long, the races start to get repetitive. Obviously, these arguments also apply to other racing games, but at least with cars you’re constantly struggling to keep the thing on the road. XAR lacks this constant interaction with the environment, although some of the later courses have obstacles to fly around.
Moaning aside, Xtreme Air Racing is still quite a laugh. If you like prop planes but you’re tired of combat, you might enjoy playing a flight sim where having your opponents behind you is actually a good thing.
Download Xtreme Air Racing
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP