Personally, I’m not much of a racing game person, unless it is something like Mario Kart (one of my favorites). However, I love checking out interesting games that stand out from the crowd, and that’s what I thought of when I saw the trailer for Cava Racing. It doesn’t look like your average racing game with fancy cars, and I mean, who doesn’t want to take control of a spaceship on a race track? So even though I’m not a pro at racing games, I decided to take Cava Racing for a spin.
The visual style in Cava Racing is one of the biggest reasons I was drawn in. It’s mostly a flat, 2-D perspective, but there is a bit of depth to the graphics due to the use of shadows in certain places. The colors are vibrant, rich, and fairly retro, reminding me a bit of the well-known Barack Obama “Hope” poster. Animations in the game are incredibly smooth at 60 frames per second, and the jazzy soundtrack is relaxing. The sound effects are a nice touch too, as there is something soothing about the accelerating spaceship, but the noise of crashing metal is jarring.
Cava Racing features three different spaceships that you can race with, though you have to unlock the Skilled and Expert ships by playing. There are six different race tracks as well, which you unlock by completing the required amount of laps in a certain time threshold. While six tracks may not sound like a lot, the game is reasonably difficult, so you will want to spend some time learning and mastering each track before moving on to the next one. The three spaceships that you can use also have their own handling attributes (speed and shield), so it takes time to get used to those as well. There are even portals and other fun things on the later tracks.
The controls in the game are simple and intuitive, making great use of your device’s accelerometer. Your spaceship needs to do three laps on each track by a certain time limit in order to unlock the next track. To steer your ship, you tilt your device — I found the default sensitivity and responsiveness to work well, but I do wish that there were options to adjust it to user preference (maybe it can be considered for the future). To accelerate your ship, tap-and-hold on the right side of the screen. If you tap on the left side, you’ll give your ship a small boost, but this has a recharge time, so use it wisely. There are no brakes in Cava Racing, so you have to use your ship’s momentum carefully.
As I mentioned earlier, each ship has their own attributes for both maximum speed and shield. If you hit the walls of the track, or the objects that are laid out on the track, it will deplete your shield. If your ship takes too much damage before you finish all three laps, then you’ll be disqualified and have to start over. So make sure to keep an eye on your shield levels, which is shown at the top right corner.
As you race, you’ll find racing lines on the inner curves of the track. These are important, as they hold Orb Coils that can replenish your shields when you collect them. While it may sound easy, it will take several replays of a track before you can remember when you should get in the inner curve. These only add to the challenge of Cava Racing. There is also Game Center integration for 24 leaderboards (overall tracks and tracks with each type of ship), so the replay value is high. I just wish that the game had some Game Center achievements — hopefully this is added in the future.
Even though I’m not usually a racing person, I’m getting a lot of enjoyment out of Cava Racing. The visuals art style is distinctive and fresh, the music is soothing, and the controls are intuitive and work well for the platform. And despite only having three ships and six tracks, the game is hard enough that you will spend a large chunk of time to master everything and get to the top of the charts.
I recommend checking out Cava Racing if you’re looking for a refreshing new take on iOS racers. You can find it on the App Store as a universal download for only $1.99.