Abarcy

Antigrav

Antigrav is a first for the EyeToy: something that looks like a regular game, instead of a selection of experimental mini-games. It's a hoverboarding game which will appeal more than anything to a teenage audience.

The soundtrack performed by Apollo 440 is a frenzied mix of electronics and adrenaline that sets the tone for the game. Everything in Antigrav is fast and furious, with backgrounds that go past at a mind-boggling pace. So it only takes the slightest wrong move to send you crashing to the ground, or hurtling off in the wrong direction.

Unlike most EyeToy games, Antigrav works by tracking your face. This involves taking a snapshot of your face and locking onto that image as you move around. If you think this is asking a bit much of the EyeToy, you might be right. For it to work well the lighting in your room must be constant. If it clouds over or the sun comes out suddenly, you're likely to lose all your tracking, and the same will happen if you tilt your head too far. All EyeToy games suffer from an inherent inaccuracy, but with Antigrav getting good calibration is an art, and it takes more effort than with most titles. Yet when you have calibrated correctly it can be astonishingly accurate and responsive.

Initially there's a choice of eight characters to play, each one as cocky and egotistical as the next. Playing them is essentially the same, except they say different things and each has a unique special move. There is new clothing and equipment to unlock for them, as well a number of hidden hoverboarders.

Players can choose between style and speed modes, and between five courses of increasing difficulty. At first only one course is available, and you have to get a good score in order to progress to the next one. The courses are complex, and it can take a while to learn all of the routes. There are Antigrav wings to collect, as well as stars which are awarded for doing particularly well. So Antigrav has good replay value thanks to its difficulty and steep learning curve, in spite of its apparent simplicity.

Very young players will be frustrated by the speeds and high demands on their co-ordinartion, and perhaps the age group who would enjoy Sega Superstars will find Antigrav too confusing. But for those who are ready for a challenge it's quite satisfying.

With only slight head-movements required to move the board, it can feel like you're making no effort at all. But there are plenty of jumps and ducks which will work out the thighs as well as the upper body, making this a good game for all-round exercise.

Not having to watch yourself play the game comes as a bonus after so many EyeToy games that make a feature of just that. The graphics are better than most, not quite comparable to recent titles, but acceptable quality for a 2005 game.

There's a motion tracker to give you an idea of where the game thinks you are, plus a bar that shows you how much of the course you have completed, although there's no map. Exploring the courses is part of the fun. Antigrav is a high-octane game with good progression and longevity. It is let down by the difficulty of learning how to calibrate it properly, and a few more tips on this subject would have been welcome. Nevertheless it's a good workout and an enjoyable game to master.