Handhelds need their own types of games, something easy to get into, simple to play, and with a game structure that allows for very short bursts of game play, with save points when you want them. So far some PSP developers have forgotten this important formula, instead releasing full console games on the system, which is all well and good, but what we need is more “pick up and play” games.
Gripshift is just that. It’s the perfect “I’ve got 10 minutes to kill, what shall I play?” kind of game, with very short levels, quick loading, and save points after each small section.
The game tells you it's a “Puzzle Platform Driving Action” game which is a lot of genres in one, so what does it mean? Well in its most basic form, Gripshift is a driving game. The game is set out with many small levels in which you must get from A to B. They start off with winding roads, perhaps throwing in a jump or two, moving onto loop the loops, multiple route tracks with teleports, rival cars and weapon systems.
The main meat of the game is the Challenge Mode. Here, as stated previously, you have many short challenges, which you have to complete to progress. They get increasingly difficult and the game has that magical “one more go” feel to it; it’s an incredibly addictive game to play, and you’ll be retrying and retrying to get all the bonuses in the levels too. It’s a real battery killer because it’s so hard to put down once you have started playing it.
Gripshift begins with you creating your car. There is a selection of body shells and vehicle types to build from, which all have different characteristics such as top speed, acceleration, handling, weight, etc. After you have chosen the base model, there are skins to choose from, wheel types, and decals and of course the colour. This can give you a totally unique car, which is great for when you play the game wirelessly.
I think it’s fair to say the handling on the cars is heavily leaned towards fun. They skid and drift all over the place, and they have very floaty physics when jumping. However this works perfectly with the superbly designed levels, allowing you to jump seemingly impossible gaps, drive upside down and scream around banked corners. Whilst in mid-air, you can steer just like you can on the road, and you can use nitro boosts to further help you along.
On top of the ridiculously additive single player, there is a 4 player wireless mode too, with many game types and options. There are single races, full championship races, and bonus games too such as death match, Ice Hockey, Pool and Football. They are all enjoyable experiences, but I think the racing works better than the rest. There are weapon pickups like in Mario Kart, and the best thing is that you can design your own racetracks using the in-game editor, and even send them to your friends.
The editor works really well, and you can build tracks with the same complexity as the ones in the main game. It’s a nice tool to use too, and allows you to build some pretty crazy tracks.
I really enjoyed playing through Gripshift. It has a great learning curve, slowly reeling you into the incredibly tough later levels, but I guarantee you’ll keep going back to it until you have nailed every one of them. Multiplayer is great, and passes lunchtimes very nicely at work. It really is a perfect game for the platform, and I highly recommend it in your PSP collection.
Click >here< to see a Gripshift trailer video