Antigraviator is a fast racing game with no speed limit, and it can make speed feel great. Unfortunately, that’s the only thing it knows how to do.
I love racing games, but my favorite subgenre is the not-so-realistic futuristic racing, like F-Zero, Wipeout, and 2016’s Redout.
It’s no wonder then that I was very much looking forward to Antigraviator, an indie racing game developed by Cybernetic Walrus and published by Iceberg Interactive.
In Antigraviator, you move at incredible speeds as you chain boost after boost to the point where everything stretches and blurs out. This game is terrifyingly fast, and it knows how to relay that feeling. Unfortunately, that’s just about the only thing it knows how to do.
At first glance, Antigraviator looks pretty standard. You can play in campaign mode, in quick, customizable races, or in split screen or online multiplayer. You can also equip your Grav vehicle with parts you purchase using your earnings from campaign mode.
There’s a problem with said earnings from campaign mode though. Antigraviator’s campaign mode is series tournaments with entry fees and prize money. That’s probably my least favorite design of a single-player career mode in arcade game history.
It only makes sense I’d have a hard time with the more advanced tournaments since I had to try and balance between improving my vehicle and being able to pay my way into the next tournament. Yes, it’s maybe more “realistic” but having to grind for entry fees is way too upsetting when I don’t perform as well.
The whole career part of campaign mode turns into a very long grind very quickly, which is never a good thing.
But when it comes to the racing itself, Antigraviator is a solid title. The game puts you in the race with seven other competitors and gives you two ways to tackle them. The first method is a good-old-fashioned bashing, using a barrel roll move. If you time it correctly you can throw your opponent into the guardrails or even over them.
While it’s nice to smash into opposing Gravs, the game also provides you with a cooler alternative. Taking inspiration from kart racing games and my own personal favorite Split Second, Antigraviator enables you to trigger traps across the track.
These traps range from boulders that would come rolling onto the track to spaceships blowing it up with missiles. Managing to time these traps just right to destroy rival Gravs is pretty neat, but they aren’t creative as the ones in Split Second. There are usually not enough traps throughout the track to really take advantage of them, so they are more “nice to have” than a game changer.
You can see real thought and talent went into the design of each racetrack. Most of the tracks offer diverging paths that will take you to the planet’s surface or lead to an entirely different part of the course. Instead of racing around the same track each time, you can pick different routes to keep the race diverse.
Of course, when you’re not racing, you can stop by the garage to customize your Gravs. The game doesn’t offer a lot of different pieces to modify and limits you to picking a Grav and changing the wings, transmission, and plating.
While it keeps the game pretty simple to manage, it doesn’t give you a good sense of progress. You’re probably going to find a combination of parts you like and stick with them for the rest of the way.
However, Antigraviator does give the freedom of customizing your Grav’s appearance. You can choose colors and patterns for the Grav’s chassis and parts, and even the animation you see when you reappear on the track after being destroyed. I appreciate a level of visual customization, so that was an aspect I enjoyed.
And as far as visuals go, the game looks good. It’s definitely not the best looking game of the year, but it doesn’t fall short of other racing games in the genre such as Redout. The tracks are luminescent and aesthetic, and the racers all glow in pretty neon lights.
However, the game does use visual design in clever ways to convey a sense of speed. The Gravs appear to stretch as you go faster and faster and along with the motion blur and neon lights, it gives off a kind of vibe you only see in over-the-top sci-fi films. It’s my favorite part of playing Antigraviator.
Unfortunately, the sound department doesn’t perform as well. While it has all the sound effects you’d expect for such a game, they don’t pack the “oomph” you want them to have.
The game also has some very awkward narration when you unleash a trap, which just doesn’t quite fit with the rest of the game.
The music is mostly forgettable techno music, which I didn’t enjoy except in a very limited selection of tracks.
The game also fails to use music in the most important place of all – when the game shows you the track before the race. That’s where you’d usually get that first surge of adrenaline as the race begins, just like in the old F-Zero games. But instead, the music goes completely silent, and I never get hyped to get behind the wheel of my Grav.
Antigraviator is far from being a bad game. It’s consistent in difficulty and gameplay, and the tracks are all unique and cool.
However it fails to stand out. Both in this period of excellent arcade racers like Onrush and the upcoming The Crew 2, but also among other games in the futuristic arcade racers such as Redout or Wipeout.
While the sense of speed is what drives Antigraviator forward, it’s one of the only things that make it stand out.Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.