Impulse GP is one of the most exciting racing games to land on iOS in a long time
Price: $2.99 / £2.29
Size: 88.5 MB
Developer: EcoTorque Systems
Impulse GP is a space-age racer featuring zero-g motorcycles that whizz around various tracks, which come complete with loop the loops, multiple types of boosts, and increasingly dangerous obstacles. The influences appear to nod to futuristic racers of earlier consoles, like Wipeout, or F-Zero X. Though in remembering those games, it’s amazing to see how far we’ve come when it comes to gameplay. Impulse GP takes the mechanics of those games but looks far far superior. And remember how fast those games were? Impulse GP is faster, once you master the boost that is.
The impulse refers to the key boosting mechanism of the game. You’ll stand little chance of making it through to unlock the next level if you don’t perfect your time on the boosting strips. These are green blocks on the track – hold down the Impulse button and let go when the counter gets to 100% and you’ll speed on ahead as the screen blurs and the visuals dissolve slightly. But it’s a fine window and too early or too late and you shudder slightly as others overtake you. Further on and other obstacles get in your way. If you crash, even into other riders, it can be brutal in its slow down and brings a real challenge to the game.
Controls are easy to master and gives you plenty of options too – from a traditional on-screen controls, to a slider for turning, to using the iPhone’s tilt capabilities to steer. We found the latter most fun as the extra manoeuvring required ramps up the urgency. We also found it gave faster reactions when taking tight corners or avoiding obstacles.
The game’s graphics, its speed, and its fluidity are all based in console gameplay. It truly is an incredibly powerful game. However, much of the journey is pure mobile gaming. Tracks and levels need to be unlocked one by one, and the short, sharp courses with tight goals means the game becomes quickly addictive. There are options to play a single lap time-trial, a drag race, which relies solely on the reflexes of your boost skills on one long stretch against an opponent, and a full on race with 14 other computer players.
Interestingly, there’s no acceleration button. This endless focus on the end point and speed defies the console-approach for full control. However, for the long-term, users are able to build up their bike’s power and quality through XP and the more the game is played, the more console-like it feels. However, if there is one place the budget didn’t go, it was the music. Incessant, bass-led beats aren’t unfamiliar to this style of racing game, but its repetitive. Thankfully, you can turn it off, focusing you right in on the action.
Impulse GP is one of the most exciting racers we’ve played in a long time, and its quality far outstrips its low price.