One of the three Ridge Racer games announced at Ignite 2011, Ridge Racer 3D will be bringing fast-paced racing action to Nintendo's next handheld. Sadly, like all 3DS games, an exact release date hasn't been released outside of the "launch window" between March 27 and E3.
Masamichi Yumazaki, the game's director, did say in his presentation that for those who "don't want to wait until the end of March" Ridge Racer HD will be available on the iPad this month. I can't say for sure if he misspoke or if he just gave away that this would in fact be a launch title.
I had some hands-on time with Ridge Racer 3DS after the presentation.
The demo was only one race, three laps around a course. The menus and car customization was standard and what you'd expect from a racing game. Gameplay wise there was the added feature of drifting, a skill I failed to master. For the more talented drivers out there there's a drift button to make drifting easy. There weren't many new features except for that whole 3D thing… Oh right it's in 3D, and not just any 3D, glassesless 3D. Like with all 3DS games we've seen you can control the level depth you're comfortable with using the 3D slider.
I was able to play in 2D or varying levels of 3D. If your eyes need a break from the 3D, which they very well may, the 2D looks a DS game available now, no better or worse than the technology out now. When you switch the slider back to 3D you'll be amazed at just how well the depth works in this game. Racing games don't necessarily need depth but it's a nice change of pace for a level that requires you to drive through the same course repeatedly.
To steer you use the 3DS' joystick on the left side of handheld. The joystick is a welcome addition, especially for a racing game where the turn of your wheel is reliant on your thumbs. If you're a loyalist and prefer to play your handheld games with a D-pad you still can and since the D-pad is right below the joystick you won't need to adjust to play this way. You can accelerate with X or A, and break with either Y or B, again it's based on your preference. Ridge Racer 3DS had an impressionable soundtrack too. Reiko's voice cheers you on, informs what place you're in and even encourages you to seek revenge on those who pass you.
I didn't get to test it out for myself but Ridge Racer 3DS will take advantage of the 3DS' upgraded internet functionality and will feature multiplayer with Street Pass. Locally you'll be able to play with up to four people.