Glen Corpes recently released his visually stunning game Ground Effect into the App Store.
Ground Effect is an arcade style Ekranoplan racing game that takes place around a series of 14 different sets of islands. Despite the relative simplicity of the geometry of these islands, the game is visually stunning with extremely impressive draw distance and silky smooth framerates. The game is controlled utilizing either tilt or touch controls while acceleration is handled automatically. There are two on screen buttons for boosting and braking, and doing well in the game requires intelligent management of boost, which slowly recharges when you're not using it.
The game is structured as a pure arcade racer in which your goal is to get 3rd place or better to unlock the subsequent map. Each map is set up as a series of checkpoints that you must pass through to complete the laps. Even with this setup, the levels are free roam which in some cases allows you to try to find a shorter (but more dangerous route). As a low flying vehicle, you can only skim your way across low surfaces or make your way up gradual inclines. Fly into too steep a portion of rock or land, and you'll crash. The game has a really great sense of speed and movement as you find yourself bobbing over surfaces trying to make the best time, and level designs are also varied and enjoyable.
The video shows both in-game flying (brake and accelerator shown) as well as alternate camera views which aren't included in the game (though can be invoked).
Each of the levels end up requiring at least a few tries to familiarize yourself with the twists and turns and how best to maximize your boost. While there are other vehicles you are competing against, they primarily serve as time markers as there is no ship to ship interaction. There is also nice Ghost race mode that lets you continue to compete against your best performance and adds notably to long term replayability.
While the core gameplay is solid, the game's extras are a bit rough around the edges. While there are 10 ships to choose from, the differences are cosmetic only so there's no incentive to explore the different ships. Meanwhile, the high score system is local only and does not allow you to enter your name, so the game can't practically support more than one player on a given installation.
App Store Link: Ground Effect, $3.99