955369

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.

Despite these minor limitations, the game is great fun and has kept me coming back. The forum response likewise been very positive. We also spoke about this game in our recent podcast.

App Store Link: Ground Effect, $3.99

TouchArcade Rating

StarStarStarStarNone
  • ClassicGamer

    "silky smooth framerates", you say? On an iPhone 3GS or a 1st generation iPod touch?

    I hate that people keep forgetting the computing and graphics power differences between all the iPhone and iPod touch models.

    • LBG

      Well I have the original iPhone and I can honestly say that it is the smoothest running 3D iPhone game that I have ever played.
      Definately recommended, and thanks for the article, arn (you got there eventually ;))

  • ClassicGamer

    "silky smooth framerates", you say? On an iPhone 3GS or a 1st generation iPod touch?

    I hate that people keep forgetting the computing and graphics power differences between all the iPhone and iPod touch models.

    • LBG

      Well I have the original iPhone and I can honestly say that it is the smoothest running 3D iPhone game that I have ever played.
      Definately recommended, and thanks for the article, arn (you got there eventually ;))

  • arn

    so the game runs at 30fps on the 2nd gen ipod touch according to the dev. the dev video shown above shows it running on a 2nd gen touch.

    and one person in the thread said it ran "great" on a 1st gen ipod touch
    http://forums.toucharcade.com/showpost.php?p=620983&postcount=50

  • arn

    so the game runs at 30fps on the 2nd gen ipod touch according to the dev. the dev video shown above shows it running on a 2nd gen touch.

    and one person in the thread said it ran "great" on a 1st gen ipod touch
    http://forums.toucharcade.com/showpost.php?p=620983&postcount=50

  • http://www.silentrocco.com Silent Rocco

    Live the physics and the overall atmosphere!
    But wow, this is a hard game.
    But I still come back again and again.
    Great game!

  • http://www.silentrocco.com Silent Rocco

    Live the physics and the overall atmosphere!
    But wow, this is a hard game.
    But I still come back again and again.
    Great game!

  • http://www.marthees.com Chenamoi

    This is the best racing game I have on my iphone! The graphics smooth and eye popping and the feeling is brutal. It's hard tough :).

  • http://www.marthees.com Chenamoi

    This is the best racing game I have on my iphone! The graphics smooth and eye popping and the feeling is brutal. It's hard tough :).

  • TKO

    Yup, this is an awesome game. Absolutely perfect smooth frame rates on my iPhone 3G, and the controls are slick. ..I'm a little unclear as to what I have to do to unlock each track - I've performed worse on a track and somehow still unlocked the next .. but I'm not going to complain if it's unlocked. :)

    But yeah, the music is stunning, and this is the first game since WipeOut (the very original) that's totally sucked me into the hovver-racer genre again. I'm glad to finally have a good future racer on the iPhone. Highly recommended to anyone who likes racing games and WipeOut/F-Zero games. (This is a bit more peaceful than those - more empasis on the racing than the killing ..but I don't think that's a bad thing.)

  • TKO

    Yup, this is an awesome game. Absolutely perfect smooth frame rates on my iPhone 3G, and the controls are slick. ..I'm a little unclear as to what I have to do to unlock each track - I've performed worse on a track and somehow still unlocked the next .. but I'm not going to complain if it's unlocked. :)

    But yeah, the music is stunning, and this is the first game since WipeOut (the very original) that's totally sucked me into the hovver-racer genre again. I'm glad to finally have a good future racer on the iPhone. Highly recommended to anyone who likes racing games and WipeOut/F-Zero games. (This is a bit more peaceful than those - more empasis on the racing than the killing ..but I don't think that's a bad thing.)

  • Adams Immersive

    Another 3G user here: super fast motion! And great graphics/control as many have noted.

  • Adams Immersive

    Another 3G user here: super fast motion! And great graphics/control as many have noted.

  • Bad Hanson

    Simply put; this is a MUST BUY. If you have been thinking about it -stop thinking and PLAY. Ace game.

  • Bad Hanson

    Simply put; this is a MUST BUY. If you have been thinking about it -stop thinking and PLAY. Ace game.

  • MacGreg

    Great game, not easy at all to unlock new tracks. One thing: This is the second day I am racing and I arrived at the third track. When I have finished all ten tracks, will I be able to choose the track I want to race???

  • MacGreg

    Great game, not easy at all to unlock new tracks. One thing: This is the second day I am racing and I arrived at the third track. When I have finished all ten tracks, will I be able to choose the track I want to race???