By Louise Yang . December 18, 2007 . 11:01pm
360 owners rejoice, you finally have a fun kart racer to play and it's called Gripshift. The game can be best described as a cross between Mario Kart and a 3D platformer.
In Challenge mode, players are presented with a series of tracks which require platformer-like maneuvering to get to the end checkpoint. Some tracks have moving platforms, some have fans of air that lift karts up, while others have ramps that help launch the karts into incredible air-borne acrobatic feats.
For those who prefer racing, there's Racing mode which lets you compete against the clock, or other opponents. Like Mario Kart, there are different items to pick up that can be used to help you gain an advantage such as rockets, oil slicks, and my favorite: TNT boxes.
I'm not the best at driving games, but I was still having a good time with Gripshift. I'm usually scared of tracks with no shoulder because I tend to drive off the track a lot, but the controls were easy enough that I felt confident about going fast around turns without flying off the track. The fact that you can control the car while in the air, including turning and decelerating, is also great feature that makes the game. Sure, it takes the realism out of the game, but Gripshift isn't the type of game you'd play if you want a realistic racing game.
I spent more time in Challenge mode because I liked the puzzle-solving aspect of trying to complete a track. Some of them require precision controls in order to land your kart on the correct platform, while others are just plane fun to drive through, like the ones with huge loops. Plus, the star-collecting aspect of it made me feel like I was playing a platformer.
I save Racing mode for when there's someone to play against because racing against the computer isn't much fun. It's a lot more rewarding playing against another person in the room so that you can see the look of defeat on their face when you launch a rocket at them. If you're a fan of Mario Kart, racing mode might be right up your alley.
I can't see myself playing the game for hours, but it's satisfying to pick up and play a few tracks in challenge mode and maybe a race or two in race mode when there's someone to play against. It's good, silly, clean fun packaged as an arcade kart racer.