Gripshift originally debuted on the PSP at the end of 2005. The game is a little different from your traditional racing game because the title mixes in puzzle elements to keep the gameplay refreshing. Gripshift did have a few flaws, such as the seemingly impossible handling, but overall was a pretty solid game. Now Sidhe Interactive has bought it over to the PlayStation 3, but with a few changes. Is Gripshift still a game you'll want to pick up or just another unwanted PSP port?
If you go into Gripshift expecting a straightforward racing game you're bound to be disappointed as the title is more of a cross between Super Monkey Ball and that old PC classic, Elastomania. The main mode in the game is the challenge mode where you'll choose from a variety of cars and then work your way up through the beginners tracks to the harder tracks. The events vary, so you may be racing in a time trial or against a few other opponents but later on you'll find you way around the maze-like tracks and find the exit.
At the end of each event you'll be awarded credits. The credits are used to unlock the more difficult tracks and you may even have to replay events, collecting hidden tokens or stars to progress. The courses begin rather simply but as the game gets harder there are a few hazards you'll need to look out for. There are jumps, portals and TNT to look out for, as well as plenty more hazards.
Whilst the PSP version often felt like you were controlling an army truck rather than an actual vehicle, the handling in the PlayStation 3 version of the game has been improved. The cars handle a lot easier and you can still control the vehicles in midair, which is handy because you'll be gliding through the air quite frequently. The game does include Sixaxis support, where you can push your car forward or back whilst in the air, but this feels more like a prerequisite inclusion rather than an inclusion to actually benefit the game.
Unfortunately some elements of the PSP version have been removed from the PlayStation 3 edition. The track editor, which was one of our favourite parts of the PSP version, has been removed completely and the fun minigames have also been removed. Online multiplayer has been added but we had trouble finding anyone to play against online and the idea of sharing edited tracks online is a lot more appealing than a multiplayer mode.
Visually Gripshift is quite impressive and the draw distance is impressive. There isn't a lot of detail in the tracks or the vehicles themselves but everything looks acceptable and the menus are rather easy to navigate. The soundtrack is rather predictable, the music is okay but the banter coming from your driver can become repetitive. In total there are over one hundred tracks, which is rather impressive. Unfortunately the omission of the track editor and the mini games means you won't be coming back to this game for quick bursts. The online multiplayer is already not popular either.
Overall Gripshift is a sufficient port of the PSP version. The game's coming about 18 months later and the track editor and mini games have been removed with the only real addition being improved handling and an online multiplayer mode. The game can still be a bit of fun and it's hard to complain about the price as well. If you didn't pick up the PSP game then the game may be worth picking up, if you did pick up the PSP version then steer well clear, as the aforementioned version is a better game.