Hovercraft racers, futuristic circuits, and a pumping trance soundtrack - no, we're not talking about an entry in Sony's beloved WipEout franchise, but an entirely new outing on iOS from the creators of Reckless Racing and Reckless Getaway.
Repulze may share many similarities with WipEout, but it's tightly focused on speed and doesn't contain any weapons or combat. Instead, you have to guide your sleek craft around a number of different tracks, ensuring that you pass through the correct coloured gates to keep your speed up.
You see, hitting your top speed in Repulze is all about your polarity. As you race around, you switch between green and red. Passing through three green gates when you're green will not only increase your momentum but it'll also grant you some speed boost to use, which you can activate by tapping the centre of the screen.
When you've passed through three gates your polarity changes, meaning you then have to aim for the red gates instead. What makes this mechanic so challenging is that you have to form a distinct pattern in your head - if you zone-out and start aiming for gates of one colour, then you'll end up driving through the wrong one eventually.
This not only breaks your combo counter, but also robs you of a little bit of pace.
You're not competing against rival racers in Repulze, although occasionally other traffic does get in your way. Your main objective is to be as fast as possible and earn badges by beating a set time, getting a certain number of speed boosts in a single race, and avoiding collisions. These badges unlock other tracks.
The time you spend on the track also bags you experience points, which you can use to advance your level and gain access to more vehicles.
It's quite a slow drip-feed of content, and there's (thankfully) no way to jump the queue and unlock everything from the off. This means that you have to put the time into Repulze to see all it has to offer. Mercifully, the hypnotically rhythmic nature of the gameplay makes that a pleasure rather than a chore.
Colour me impressed
The nature of the gameplay does mean that it's not going to appeal to everyone - unless you're keen on repeatedly playing a track to register a superior time or earn a new badge, then you might tire of the experience sooner rather than later.
Although on the surface Repulze might seem like a WipEout clone without any of the exciting combat, it's actually a very different beast. The gameplay demands your utmost attention, and the speed some of the later craft can achieve is astounding. It's also a very attractive game, with some lovely ships and environments.Repulze is one of those titles which doesn't try to dazzle you with a rich helping of content, but instead aims to offer a streamlined and compelling experience. It does that without a shadow of a doubt, even if the lack of variety may be off-putting for some players.