News & Reviews

 See what people are saying about "Ground Effect" on Toucharcade - one of the world's foremost iPhone game discussion sites:
 
 
 
 
Also, you might want to have a look at the latest reviews and previews of Ground Effect:
 
 
And other related press features:



USER REVIEWS

Thoughts on Ground Effect
So I downloaded this racing game called Ground Effect from the app store the other day. I fired it up and selected a vehicle, etc., and started racing. I didn't have my headphones plugged in, and the music coming out of the tinny iPhone speakers seemed repetitive and annoying, and I wasn't sure what was going on (the game provided very little in the way of explanation). Fortunately I was not in a hurry. I played around for 15 minutes and it started to dawn on me: there was something deeper going on with this racer than all the others I've played in the two years since Apple unveiled the app store.

Fast forward 3 days. I'm basically obsessed with the game, reading the entire 600+ post thread for Ground Effect on the Touch Arcade game forum, seeing the developer Glenn Corpes's comment about the physics of the game, starting to realize why I like this title so much: he created this world, and he obsessed over the details and the physics of it - the speed of the craft, the density of the cushion of air beneath you, the sensitivity of the controls, the difficulty of each level. And he drops you into his creation with zero fanfare because fancy menus and trophies and career modes and weapons and all the trinkets and ceremony that would normally accompany such a game - he doesn't want that stuff. He doesn't want anything that might dilute the purity of the racing.

So anyway, on the day I got the game I played for awhile and figured out how to race well enough to unlock the first few levels. I got stuck on level 4, like most folks. Luckily I didn't get too frustrated and I found enough patience to slow down and play around with the course. I tried some new things and started to relax and care less about winning and more about speed and form and scenery and exploring the freedom of the open level. And then I unlocked level 5 and then I unlocked level 6 and then I had the experience that led to this short essay.

See, in the game you are flying this thing called a ground effect vehicle (GEV). It moves forward to create a cushion of air between the hull and whatever surface you're flying over: water, rock, grass, etc. So it seems like a hover craft at first. You tool around with a few feet of air between you and the ground. But GEVs, also known as ekronoplans, are different from hover crafts. Because if you go off a cliff with a hover craft, I'm pretty sure you'll tumble to the ground like a rock. But an ekronoplan *loves* to go off a cliff. It reminds me of a flying squirrel.

You know the scene in Avatar, when the main guy catches his own banshee, and together they go tumbling off the cliff with the banshee struggling to fly with a rider on his back, and the rider just trying to hold on, to survive?

And they tumble down, down, down, and the banshee flaps mightily but each flap of his wing just smashes into the rocks and they roll down the face of the cliff, completely out of control? Somehow, about halfway down, banshee and rider both realize how to mutually survive this catastrophe, and they stop struggling and just: WHOOSH out into the air, over the trees, flapping and gliding and then whizzing along the rocky face of the cliff for the sheer joy of it.

That's how it felt when I was racing against my ghost on level 6, finally getting in sync with the pulse of the game, tapping my boost rhythmically with each checkpoint, faster, faster, faster and then: WHOOSH! Over the edge of the cliff, soaring across the valley.

There's a trick where you can pause the game and unlock the camera and pan and zoom the entire world to your heart's content. Using this trick, I took a screenshot to show how it feels to soar off the cliff in a tight race on level 6.



Now I'm on level 12, with 2 levels left to unlock. Level 12 is hard. I'm racing my ghost and learning the course properly instead of immediately grinding my way toward first place. Wearing my headphones and cranking the music (which, through headphones, has turned out to be quite good). I'm in no hurry to finish this game.

In normal racing mode, you start out in last place and slowly fight your way past seven other vehicles to try and take first place in the course of three laps. Third place or better will unlock the next level.

Ghost mode, on the other hand, pits you against the record of your best time for each level. There are only two vehicles on the course. In a good race you'll be neck and neck with your ghost most of the way, swapping the lead with every twist and turn. You start to get a feel for the best times to conserve your boost and the best times to unleash. You slowly chip away at your record time.

Following close behind my ghost reminds me of when I was in my early twenties snow skiing with my brother. It was the first time we skied as friends - and as equals - instead of of big and little brothers. I remember noticing with some surprise how well he could ski, and we flew down the slopes in single file, swapping the lead with each run. The joy of focusing with all your body on the minute details of the terrain as it flies past in a blur, the joy of accomodating each rise and fall of the landscape in synchrony with another skier. This little iPhone game somehow brings a fraction of that experience back to me.

The latest version of Ground Effect has a mediocre 2.5 star rating on iTunes. I've purchased and played almost 200 games for the iPhone in the last 18 months or so. Most of them had more than 2.5 stars. *Very* few of them even came close to giving me the satisfaction that I've found with Ground Effect, and the ones that did were certainly not racers.

Let this be a lesson about App Store ratings.

'Ra88it' - via Toucharcade

                                                                                                                                                                                                
ANOTHER USER REVIEW
I'm writing from Canada. I stumbled across Ground Effect while poking around the iTunes store (looking for gliding/soaring App). I've been a glider pilot for many years, so as soon as I saw the name of your game, my interest was immediately piqued. If you've ever attempted a 'penetration approach' in a sailplane, you learn all about 'ground effect'. 

Generally, I don't buy many App games. They don't hold my interest for very long. But I bought yours, and ... WOW. It's incredible, spectacular even. I reminds me of both F-Zero and Mario Kart from the old SNES, but it's about a million times better. I'm hopelessly addicted. In case you're interested, here are some things I like about it:
-It's so chill. Low stress racing, cool idea. The music and the visuals are so beautiful, it makes such a cool atmosphere. Super pleasurable to play, apparently over and over...
-The game just flows... that's the only way to put it. If you crash, the negative effect is minimized, so you are motivated to keep racing. Annoyance minimized.
-The tracks are superb. All different, but awesome for different reasons. I've already spent endless hours working to improve my times against the ghost. The shortcuts, the crazy high risk jumps with tiny margins of error, it's all awesome. 
So I've tried several times to leave a stellar review for you in the Canadian itunes store, but something isn't working. For some reason, the store keeps asking me to log in, over and over. Not sure what the heck is going on. 
Anyway, I'm going to put up something on my Facebook status for you, hope it results in some more sales. Your creation is absolutely sick--you're a very gifted artist. Thanks to you and your team!!

'Winter413' - via Toucharcade


AND ANOTHER...
To me the reason why this is my overall favorite racer by far is that everything boils down to racing, making the most with what you've got. That's an ekaranplana... well, ground effect racing machine, with two pedals and a boost meter. And the terrain. I didn't develop the game mechanics or the tracks, so I just make the most of what I've got, I go out there and try. Where Ground Effect comes into its own is the physics engine. Every factor counts, and makes a difference, sometimes very subtle but it always ads up to 100's and 10's of seconds. There is so much scope to improve your times. My current times are mostly just attempts to improve on the previous best times. I know I have some margin for improvement on almost all tracks. Some of them I haven't even tried real hard yet. I haven't even figured out the best way to go around track 14 for instance, so I know I have 15 to 20 secs to improve there. 
Often I discover that there is a better shortcut somewhere even after racing a track dozens of times. It's amazingly clever and no other game has this. (I'm not talking about a hidden shortcut like in Asphalt 5, here any bump or rock can be a shortcut, you don't know until you try).

As for Glenn's tactics, I exclusively use B but applying point 6, and G + X. G meaning maximising jumps. X meaning racing line. Your racing line will always make a Massive difference, boost or no boost. Far more than in any other racing game. One wide turn and there go a 10th or two. All these variables mean you can always improve somewhere. Even on the most simple of tracks. But as soon as somebody else improves on one of the track records, I find myself trying A,B,C,D,E and F over and over again because I know I missed something, somewhere! 

I really look forward to people showing us what times are really possible on these tracks, because everytime I push myself a bit harder I'm amazed how much faster I can go, how much more subtlety there is to Ground Effect. And how accessible it is too. The thrills are instant, you don't need to upgrade or achieve something to get better. Everything you need to get to the top of the leaderboards is right there from the start. Every lap could be a record lap. You only need to play and the more you do the more you understand how it works, the more you realise all the details that make a difference.

Just one more thing: I have never used the brake. Ever. 
(In my mind this means that I should be able to improve on some of the tracks by using my brakes at some point!)
Edit, forgot, I only use the brakes on track 13!!!!!!

'Jeep' - via Toucharcade