Caged Element, the studio behind Grip, wanted to recreate the high octane thrills of '90s racer Rollcage, but bring it bang up to date with sharp visuals, gravity-defying physics, insanely high speeds, killer weaponry, and a brain-thumping soundtrack.
Thankfully you're not hit by all of this intensity at once though. Grip has a gentle learning curve that gradually eases you into this intense futuristic racer. Throughout the campaign mode, you'll play through eleven tiers of racing, each with multiple tournaments, in order to perfect your driving skilfirstt frist it's the speed of it all that you'll have to get to grips with (pardon the pun), as you learn how to get a perfect start, how to utilise boost pads and the turbo boost, and the random drops littered across the tracks. Those familiar to Wipeout, F-Zero and other futuristic racers shouldn't have too much trouble with this though.
You're guided slowly through each of the game modes as you progress through the tiers, unlocking the various styles of gameplay in the main menu as you go. Starting with Speed Demon, a pure flat-out style of racing with no weapons, followed by Classic Race, again simple racing but this time with basic weapons to take out your opponents. Deathmatch is an arena battle where the only aim is to destroy the others cars by driving over weapon pickups and unleashing hell on your opponents. And it's those who earn the most points in this great winner-takes-all destruction derby. Another mode is Ultimate Race, but this isn't a race per se, more of battle along a track where coming first requires earning points by blasting your opponents with a choice selection of weapons.
Speaking of which, there is a nice selection of weapons at your disposal, including miniguns, rockets, cluster bombs, even distortion fields that disrupt nearby opponents, but as with everything in the game these are all unlocked as you progress through the campaign tiers.
Being a futuristic racer, the game takes place over four vastly different planets, giving us twenty two tracks to race upon. Liddo 5 is a green mountainous planet with huge open plains, tight tunnels and is home to the Speed Bowl, a massive oval track not dissimilar to the speedway tracks of NASCAR but with a ceiling that can be used as part of the track as well. Norvos is an ice planet, but it's got a super hot core. The tracks here range from ice-covered high altitudes, to rocky outcrops, as well as deep, lava-filled caverns full of dangers.
Jahtra, in contrast, consists of desert plains not too far removed from those on Tatooine in Star Wars, in fact, speeding through these tracks feels a lot like pod racing at times. Finally, there's Orbital Prime, an industrial planet filled to the brim with a sprawling metropolis and huge spaghetti junction freeways. These tracks are by far the most complex and with that, the most frustrating, where taking a knock and spinning out can mean that you can quite easily find yourself driving not only the wrong way but on completely the wrong track.