The second I cross the starting line, the outside world melts away. My focus is razor sharp, and I need every ounce. I move up and down around the soft, rounded platforms, squeezing through tiny tunnels and hopping around moving obstacles. Luckily, the level is short and my attention pays off. I fly across the finish line just a few pixels ahead of my ghost. Collapsing back onto the couch, I allow myself the reward of checking the leader boards. I’ve jumped past two other players overall, closing in on the coveted 1st place position. I smile. Not bad.

Must be the latest Mikey Shorts game, right? Wrong. This, dear readers, is Delta-V Racing (out now, $0.99). And it’s exhilarating.

screen480x480Delta-V Racing, if you haven’t gathered from the game’s title and my long-winded introduction, is a racing game. However, unlike your standard 3D tilt-controlled fares, this takes place entirely on a 2-dimensional plane. You control your little ship by sliding your finger up and down and tapping on the screen to fire weapons or use various utilities. It’s wonderfully uncomplicated and works brilliantly.

Visually, the game’s colorfully flat look is gentle on the eyes and helps to keep things simple in the heat of a race. It reminds me a bit of WipEout, if that game was a sort of groovy comic book.

Speaking of WipEout, the gameplay in Delta-V Racing is unashamedly inspired by the PlayStation classic, with its focus on creating the absolute perfect racing line and stocking up on weapons to even the playing field. Along with the standard racing mode, there are also Elimination events where you have to asplode your opponents before they can asplode you, Time Trial and Hot Lap events that task you with speeding through a course in the fastest time possible, Sectors events which are similar to WipEout‘s Zone races, and the particularly brutal Collector events that see you racing through a track picking up spinning cubes as quickly as possible. If you miss a single one, you get extra time tacked onto your final score. Finally, there are Boss Battles at the end of each track pack which are basically the same as the standard racing but with only one, super-charged opponent.

screen480x480Now, this is all well and good, but is it actually fun? Thankfully, yes. The controls, graphics, and variety of race types will keep you coming back until you’ve completely everything the game has to offer, but the REAL fun sets in when you turn your attention to ghost racing. Holy hell, is this amazing. The game shows you your friend’s times before and after you complete a race, and pits the next best of your friend’s ghosts against you. It’s a blast watching how they do things and then either trying to emulate it or choosing a slightly different path to shave off a few tenths of a second.

Delta-V Racing is a near-perfect racing game, in the way it eschews fancy 3D graphics and instead focuses on the absolute essentials: solid controls, deviously clever tracks, and loads of competition from the AI and, more importantly, your Game Center buddies. In fact, its only flaw is that track for track and ship for ship, it’s just too damn short — and this can of course be remedied with the obligatory “Coming Soon” updates. Until then, see you on the leader boards!

iFanzine Verdict: Delta-V Racing is a near-perfect racing game, in the way it eschews fancy 3D graphics and instead focuses on the absolute essentials: solid controls, deviously clever tracks, and loads of competition from the AI and, more importantly, your Game Center buddies.