Reviewed: November 12, 2010
Released: October 21, 2010
App Store Price: $4.99
Iíve only gotten into mobile gaming this past year, but I have to say some of the games that make their way to cell phones and the iPad are really impressive. As an avid fan of racing games on PC and console itís only natural I would be looking for some portable racing action, and while there are plenty of fun arcade and semi-serious sims available, none have proven as delightfully charming and as totally captivating as EAís Reckless Racing.|
I had a pretty good idea of what to expect as I scanned the screenshots while the game downloaded to my iPad, and once I loaded the game and started my first race I was in 80ís arcade heaven. Anyone remember that Grand Prix game in the arcades with the four steering wheels that controlled tiny racecars from an aerial perspective? PC gamers from mid-90ís might remember a game called Death Track Ė another top-down racer, only this one had weapons.
Well, Reckless Racing doesnít have any weapons but it offers all the same thrills and exciting racing action that this unique arcade perspective puts on the genre. With a large assortment of tracks (including 3 exclusive to the iPad) and a nice selection of cars, all with unique speed and handling properties, and multiple skills levels and unlockables to work through, prepare to spend a lot of time behind the wheel.
I enjoyed this game so much I actually purchased the iPhone version as well jus so I could play when I didnít have my iPad with me. While this review is focused on the iPad I will go on record as saying this game is just as good on the smaller screen. My only caveat is that if you are using touch controls your thumbs will block a good portion of the track, but the tilt-controls work well for steering Ė actually better than the iPad.
On the larger iPad screen you can immerse yourself in some gorgeous HD graphics, some of the best Iíve seen on the iPad in any game genre. The animation is so fluid and the physics are so realistically portrayed that you will quickly learn to ďfeelĒ your way through a drift or learn to counter-steer to keep your car from tipping over. Driving and momentum are handled with touchable icons or you can tilt the screen if you wish, but this gets a bit awkward with the larger iPad. There is also a sensitivity slider to tweak the game to your personal racing style.
It only takes a few laps to get the feel of when to brake, when to punch the gas, and just how much to turn into the skid to hold the curve without tumbling off the cliff into the gulch below. Your car performs differently based on dirt or paved track and these surfaces are often mixed. Expect trees, caution cones, and even the occasional jump ramp to pop up, and then you have the other racers.
Racing AI is pretty tame on the Bronze level and you can likely even lap a few cars by your third or fourth lap, but once you get into Silver and especially Gold, the computer puts up an admirable challenge that will require clean driving and expert drifting skills. You can race in Dirt Rally, Hot Lap or Delivery time trial modes. Make your way through all the tracks and unlock reverse versions to double your racing venues.
Take the challenge online or on a local Wi-Fi with up to three other racers for exciting 4-person multiplayer. You can also post online leaderboard times and download ghost races. There is even a chat function built-in. Pretty cool.
Reckless Racing brings classic arcade racing back to the mainstream with stunning visuals, quality sound, complete with hillbilly banjo soundtrack, and enough content to keep you racing for weeks to come. Hopefully there will be some new tracks available before you ever get tired of this excellent game.