The Red Bull Air Race event is an annual spectacle which is gaining a lot of fans year on year, so there’s little surprise that the games arm of the company would try to recreate the event on mobile.
Travelling to circuits around the world, the aim is to fly on set paths through pylons around a track, banking left and right and trying to stay on course without hitting pylons.
Events range from simply completing a course to timed races and competitions against other opponents. In addition, there are social features such as worldwide leaderboards for special race tournaments that pop up at certain times and have a countdown timer.
Completing courses will give you in-game currency to upgrade your plane or buy new ones. There’s even the chance to paint your plane using skins. Currency is also needed to service your vehicle after races, the amount of servicing will depend on how much you have damaged your plane during races and how many races you’ve entered. Servicing costs money and time, though special gold coins can be earned to speed this up for an instant fix.
Yes, there are micro-transactions, but they’re not too obtrusive. You can easily earn enough coins to keep playing through normal play and only the servicing gets in the way at times, having to wait for it to complete before you can use your plane once the repair meter hits zero.
Controls, while easy to learn, are hard to master at first. The game uses tilt controls or virtual buttons to steer and you can also control speed via a virtual throttle button. It’s mastering the mix of speed and banking that will get you maximum points and knowing when to slow down enough to steer but still remain quick over the whole course is the key. Tilt controls can be a touch too sensitive and I found that the virtual controls were a lot easier to use.
Red Bull Air Race looks and feels like another top quality racer to add to the Red Bull stable. The competition is fun and the online element adds a continuous challenge to the game. There’s not a great deal of content outside of the races and designing your vehicle could have done with being a more personal experience rather than just using stickers, but it’s certainly worth coming along for the ride.