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Sept. 10, 2005
GripShift - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
Sony Online Ent.

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Getting some massive air!
If you're an NRL fan you may know about the developers of this game, Sidhe Interactive. They were the developers behind the massively popular NRL Rugby League on PS2 and its upcoming sequel, Rugby League 2. GripShift is a different kettle of fish as the developer moves to a new platform (the PSP) and an very different genre. At first glance this may appear to be just another racing game. GripShift combines the adrenalin rush of 3D stunt driving with the mental challenge of puzzle-solving in an action-packed driving experience.

GripShift is essentially a racing game with more then a passing resemblance to a certain Sony series called Wipeout in the way the tracks have massive jumps, twists and massive drop-offs to either side should you head off course. The twist, however, is that the game also has puzzle styled elements and obstacles to overcome.

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Levels do look quite impressive.
Gripshift takes place across 100 levels in four themed worlds. You will also be able to select from six different characters, although their effect on the gameplay remains a little unknown at this stage. What is known is how each of the cars in the game can get some absolutely massive air to find shortcuts with players even able to control their cars to an extent while in the air. Naturally nitro’s will be available for that little extra boost of speed when required.

Without a doubt one of the most exciting things with this game is the Track Editor. Yes folks the developers have given us the opportunity to create our own tracks, placing obstacles, power-ups, islands and, well, anything else in the game. It will even be able to set the time goals on the track. When saved each track takes up a very small 200kb so it's not going to fill your memory card to the brim. Excitingly it will be possible to upload your creations to servers set up by Sony Online Entertainment, as well as the official GripShift web site at, making it possible for other gamers to download your creations, and you can download theirs!

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The tracks curve and bend - sharply!
Wireless multi-player will of course be a major focus in this game and indeed Sidhe are including support for up to 4-players via the PSP's WiFi. While there is no game sharing gamers will be able to race on tracks unlocked in the single player races as well as entering the fantastic looking mini-games.

Gripshift actually includes eight mini-games to keep you entertained. These events include such shenanigans as Penguin Bowling, Bomb Pool, Soccer Crazy, Snaker, and Ice Hockey. These should provide plenty of entertainment, especially in multi-player, as you ram your cars into a pack of penguins to knock them over or try to guide a soccer ball into a goal. Unfortunately, being the consumer friendly game this is you won't see any Penguin spleens (do they have them?) or blood.

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The Penguin Bowling looks hilarious.
Graphics in GripShift certainly are impressive. Even since the E3 show the developers have improved the mip-mapping and even included anti-aliasing to remove the jagginess - all the time keeping the game running at a solid 30fps. The tracks themselves look wonderful but the off-track detail will also keep your jaw close to the floor. In terms of audio Sidhe have secured licensed and original music from Misfits of Science (chart topping hip hop artists who have provided six tracks plus the theme song for the game), Shapeshifter (NZ drum and bass group based in Melbourne), and Filterbrats (Auckland based DJs).

With the American release only weeks away, and the PAL release set for November 2005 this is going to be a game to keep an eye on.