Altitude0: Lower and Faster

Altitude0: Lower and Faster is a racing game that tries to find the balance between simulation and arcade, a balance between satisfying physics or more fast paced maneuvers. It challenges you to fly through gates to the finish line, and going lower will make you faster (as the game's title implies). Flying so close to the ground comes with risks of course, as you travel at high speeds one wrong move can send you bouncing off the terrain and veering off course, having to be repositioned and losing precious time.

As you haphazardly bounce off haystacks, trees, and other objects you will notice your plane actually accumulates physical damage and will deform as wings crumple and bend, and other parts go askew and possibly break off. While you can survive repeated crashes eventually your plane will take enough abuse to be considered too damaged, resulting in you failing the race.

Most gates, you simply have to fly through the poles to get credit for passing, but some have markers that you have to align with, fly low under, or time your boosting or breaking to get past obstacles that try to crush and block you. Along the way, there are also various pickups you can acquire, letting you refill your boost, get an instant burst of speed, or repair the damage inflicted on your plane.

In the single player mode, you race against time and a visual representation of other random players in the form of ghosts. These ghost racers give you a good sense of how well you are doing. Some achievements are tied to objectives on certain tracks, and getting some of these will unlock new planes to fly and new tracks to race on, as well as custom paint jobs and such. As your pilot license improves, you'll be able to take on tournaments. You also don't have to just race against ghosts as there is a multiplayer feature where you can race against your buddies or other people.

There is also a track editor, allowing you to make custom tracks to race and share, as well as play tracks made by others. You can have it empty with just a start gate or have it set a preset template up for you to tinker with and add to. Rotating and moving objects is fairly easy and making a track isn't overly difficult. It allows you to play test them as well before making them published.

Unfortunately, a lot of planned features were not yet in the game for me to try out. Most of the plane customization was not yet enabled, for example. You could unlock new paint jobs, but that was pretty much it. The others, such as body and engine tuning, stickers and extras, were not available for me to use at the time. Once these are implemented, the customization will be a really nice feature. All in all, Altitude0 features some great promise with its unique "lower equals faster" mechanics, the fun crash deformation, frantic flying, player customization and unlockables.