Void Space Racing is easily one of the most unique racers on the Switch, and pretty much one of the most unique racers period. That’s because it’s set entirely in space, offering true zero-gravity racing. This creates an interesting, challenging and incredibly frustrating experience all wrapped up into one.
Playing VSR feels like driving in a racing simulator that has perpetually wet tracks. That’s because of science. You see, VSR offers a frictionless racing experience since it’s set in space. Unlike other futuristic racers like FAST RMX which are grounded in mostly fantasy, Void Space Racing does a good job at simulating the feeling of piloting a ship in space. Like driving along a wet surface, you’ll constantly have to make adjustments to keep your ship moving straight. And when it’s time to turn, it will always drift off a bit, forcing you to slow down extensively before hitting the gas again. It’s this mechanic in particular which is what makes VSR so challenging: the art of braking and accelerating at the correct times.
You’ll need to learn how to perform this ‘dance’ of sorts rather quickly, as this game is still all about racing. On the Easy difficulty, I still found basically of the eight courses difficult. It was frustrating, but again, the game is supposed to feel like this. So, I can’t fault it. Once you get the hang of flying though, it becomes pretty fun and kind of exhilarating. But, don’t get too carried away. That’s because In addition to having to learn to balance in a frictionless environment, Void Space Racing’s courses will also keep you on your toes. The reason I keep saying “courses” and not “tracks” is because you fly through hoops rather than following a set track. You need to fly through each hoop precisely, or you will be penalized. Thankfully, the game has a bit of mercy on you by allowing you to miss a few before being disqualified. In Easy mode, it’s 10. This grace number decreases in Medium and Hard mode.
The real icing on the ‘difficulty cake’ is that many of the courses will have you racing through objects and structures like asteroids and space stations. Again, it’ll take some getting used to in order to keep your ship flying in a straight line and being able to make a proper turn, so it’s highly likely you’ll find yourself careening into the environment more often than not. Indeed, the developers were clearly bent on making things as challenging as possible.
Void Space Racing captures frictionless space flight quite nicely, but it’s a challenge to get used to it.
As frustratingly challenging as it is, Void Space Racing is at least easy on the eyes. It captures various space environments rather nicely with a mix of deep colors for galaxies, well-detailed models for both the ships and course environments and a good use of mild particle effects. Motion blur is also present and it looks pretty good. There isn’t anything here that will blow your socks off, but it all looks pretty clean.
The game appeared sharp in docked mode, leading me to believe its resolution is a full 1080p. The visuals hold up in handheld mode as well. The only downside, albeit more of a preference thing, is that the game runs at 30FPS whether in docked or portable mode. To me, Fast RMX had a lot more going on and it keeps a silky smooth 60FPS. So, I’m surprised VSR’s frame rate is cut in half. Even so, there were never any frame drops in either docked or handheld mode. What’s probably my most favorite part of the game’s presentation though, is the use of HD Rumble. The Joy-Con will constantly vibrate, matching the state of the engine as it goes from idle to full boost and back down again. They even emit a soft hum that almost perfectly matches the engine sounds coming out of the speakers. It’s a subtle effect, but it’s nicely used. I would love to see more racing games do something similar. Speaking of sound, the music is mostly forgettable. There weren’t any standout tracks, and seeing that most of my focus was devoted to piloting the ship, I especially didn’t really pay much attention to it.
All things considered, Void Space Racing definitely lives up to its name. It really does feel like a space flight sim, and there aren’t many of them out there. I would actually like to see the devs at SONKA expand upon this concept with a fully-fledged exploration sim since the mechanics felt so nice. Still, the high level of challenge that these realistic frictionless mechanics brings cannot be understated. If you happen to be someone that runs away from difficult titles, then perhaps this might prove to be more of a frustrating experience than a fun one. But, if you’re willing to get the hang of it, VSR is a pretty cool title, albeit a very small one. With only three ships and eight courses, there isn’t that much content here. Truly, any longevity is mostly reliant on constant retries.
Disclaimer: A review code was provided by the publisher.
Having been introduced to video games at the age of 3 via a Nintendo 64, A.K has grown up in the culture. A fan of simulators and racers, with a soft spot for Nintendo! But, he has a great respect for the entire video game world and enjoys watching it all expand as a whole.