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Two games enter, one game leaves; or takes home the checkered flag; or gets your download or something like that..
Turborilla has just released a new entry to their ‘Mad Skills’ line up with ‘Mad Skills BMX’. In playing this awesome new kid on the block racer, I couldn’t help but compare with their previously released ‘Mad Skills Motocross’ title, and thought I would size them up against one another.
To be honest, I am not going to pick a ‘winner’ out of the two; just provide some similarities and differences, and pros/cons between the two as they are both two of my favorite games on my iPad and iPhone, as this genre has always been one to pique my interest out of all the craziness of titles that make up the AppStore.


Let’s get the big one out of the way, the controls. Mad Skills MotoX provided buttons for throttle/brakes, an un-realistic ‘jump’ button (one of which, I almost never used and still faired quite well on each Division), and most importantly, buttons for lean. There were also options in MotoX for Tilt to lean, and configurable throttle button locations (left/right) and a exclusive option to move the entire control scheme to the center.
In BMX, you still have the option to move the pedaling from either the right/left side. The first thing I noticed was the ‘Tilt to Lean’ on/off radio buttons. When off, I guess I’m kinda ‘slow’ to pick it up, but the tilting was done by swiping in the direction you wanted to tilt. This was quite difficult to master, but by the time I was mid-way through the ‘Intermediate’ division, I had it nailed. You just have to swipe gently/forcefully to get the lean desired.

BMX does not have buttons for anything as it is entirely swiping. My first thought was, well, I didn’t get it, considering how masterful their previous buttons worked on MotoX. The more I played with BMX’s swiping method, the more it jived, and it works…awesome. The key is to not only swipe for the intended outcome, but hold your finger on the screen at the end of the swipe. You swipe down to gain speed on downslopes and to crank wheelies through whoops, swipe up to jump, and contrastingly down to come down quick once airborne. One essential thing for me was to really utilize that down swipe to gain speed on whoops and downslopes. Both games allow you to throwdown back/front flips, but with BMX, you do so by swiping sideways as opposed to hitting the lean buttons on MotoX.
Both BMX and MotoX have very different control schemes, and for their respective games, work perfect.

BMX puts you on one of the bevy to choose from bmx bikes and has you pedaling and flipping through some of the more spot on physics I have come across on the genre. The realism is out of this world and the retina graphics support that feel as they are as lush and gorgeous as they come. Mad Skills MotoX has seen its share of updates, thankfully, and the graphics are not quite as gorgeous as found in BMX, but they are still top notch. When considering wipeouts, MotoX provides ragdoll crunching animations, where in BMX, the riders are a little more stiff. I see the BMX animations as being more realistic, but the MotoX crashes are probably more fun to admire.

Turborilla has perfected the ability to allow you to get good with their game progressively, and the difficulty curve is among the best I have seen in any games. In MotoX, there are five(5) divisions, with Division 5 being the easiest. The welcomed option found in MotoX is that they included both an ‘Amateur’ and ‘Pro’ difficulty settings, for all divisions, with the former designed for casual players, and the Pro settings for a little more challenge. In MotoX, your competitor could always be seen taking a nasty wipeout allowing you to crank past them with ease and take home the checkered flag. Not so in BMX. The Difficulty in BMX is stiff. Not overly stiff. This time, Turborilla labeled their divisions more accordingly with the first division titled ‘Novice’ and the last being ‘Pro’. BMX however, does not include the option as found in MotoX, for amateur or PRO. This had me replaying some tracks several times over, as to progress to the next Division, you have to take at least 4 wins in your current division.

Another thing to note is that in MotoX, a separate ‘Time attack’ mode exists allowing you to race your previous time, and also includes a ‘Replay’ option in this mode so you can watch your race.
Both games also include the Reset button at the top of the screen, which immediately sends you back to the starting gate.

The tracks in both BMX and MotoX are superb, and ramp up in perfect correlation with your current division and stage/level in the division. The Tracks seemed longer in MotoX than in BMX, and even appear to take longer to complete, but maybe that is because that is true to life. BMX tracks are not long whereas MotoX tracks are the opposite. The obstacles you encounter are sick, and only getting more badass as you progress. What I found best about BMX’s tracks was that there was not one perfect sequence to crank out through the jumps, as in MotoX I was typically hitting the same jumps or rolling over them similarly as I did on the first lap. BMX gave me more freedom to decide what I wanted to roll over, and what I wanted to huck off.
BMX comes with 40 tracks, with no options (currently of course) to purchase additional ones, whereas MotoX currently has 52 tracks in the game, 20+ free downloadable tracks, and a lot of purchase-able really cool and funky tracks as well, that are well worth the extra .99cents to unlock.
One thing I immediately noticed was that in MotoX your point of view/camera angle is a lot further out than as found in BMX, allowing you to see what’s coming up a lot easier than in BMX as in BMX the camera is slightly more zoomed in.

Turborilla does a fantastic job in providing us with cool bikes to choose from, even if we have to pay for some of them. MotoX has 28 bikes, with 6 of them to choose for free, and the rest unlockable at .99cents each. BMX has 10 bikes, with 5 of them to choose for free. One of the funniest out of both games, was ‘The Hound’  in BMX which looks like a dude in a Dog suit with an overgrown head. Too funny.

Both games are Universal, and are priced at a buck. Personally, I found the BMX to be slightly more difficult, and therefore more of a challenge and more engaging. The swipe controls take a bit to get used to, but really, it flows perfectly after only a few races. Turborilla has noted in their app description ‘Tons of Updates to Come’, (ie. GC achievements) and judging by the fact they updated MotoX just a few days ago, I know they have a lot of great things in store for us
Weighing all the things I noted, do yourself a favor; if you don’t have MotoX yet, just buy them both! They play differently enough that you will be entertained by either for quite some time. I have had Mad Skill Motocross on both my devices since its release as it is just mad fun, and I know without question that BMX will remain as well.

Check out this Hilariously original Mad Skills BMX trailer below.

Mad Skills BMX Download

Mad Skills Motocross Download


3…2…1…Crank!! Oh man, those were the days. Growing up on both bmx and motocross 2-wheeled madness, when I saw the new DMBX2 hit the AppStore I was probably one of the first to hit the buy/install button. This is the second installment by Randerline gmbh and a very worthy upgrade.

‘DMBX2 Mountain Bike and BMX’ is a Universal, iCloud supported downhill racing game that has a equally entertaining trick challenge aspect as well. The graphics are gorgeous, the sense of speed is pretty good, and the crash animations are comical to behold (once you get past the fact you just wiped out of course) as they are spot on with your rider curling up in a ball as opposed to the typical ragdoll. The racing animations, and opponents expressions (i.e. the winner raising their hands as they cross finish line) are agreeable as well.

The contest comes with 3 types of challenges; time, race, and tricks. Each level also includes a training option as well, allowing you to pre-run the track, which is something that is true to life and a nice addition. The time challenges are just that, you against the clock. The races are pretty hectic with you taking your starting positions with a strong line-up, men and women, and all gunning it for the checkered flag after the proverbial countdown. The last type of adventure is the trick challenge. A variety of tricks are included, from the pretty commonly simple no-hander, to the sick ‘superman’. The best part is that you can throw these moves out during the races and time challenges; when you are hovering in the air on a time challenge, even though it is all about time, it was pretty easy to throw out a slick move as immediately upon leaving earth the trick button set appears. The trick combos that you can put together are pretty awesome. Beating one type of challenge in a level will unlock the next level/stage.

DMBX2 includes 3 ‘worlds’; Highlands, Canyons, and the Mountains. The cool part is that these are not unlocked in a specific order allowing the rider to access any area as they desire. Each world has 4 levels, and each level contains all challenges. Add that up, and it is a somewhat limited 12 levels, but the replayability comes in beating your time and bettering your last point scores. The tracks definitely get more badass as you progress as the jumps get slammer, corners tighter, and the racers more aggressive. There is also a replay option, with a highly navigable interface, providing the speedster with the options to check out that sick trick you just barely and luckily landed. Another worthy extension is the ability to listen to your own playlist as you compete.

The interface is hit or miss depending on your platform. On the iPhone, tilt steering prevails, and you only need to depress the right side of the screen to crank, with the left side trick popup’s. I enjoyed my time with this title on the iPhone, but I originally bought this game with the intention of playing it on the iPad. The same tilt steering options are included for the iPad, but there is also a fixed and floating joystick selection. Here’s the problem with either; The fixed joystick find it’s center in the far upper right of the screen, right under the time and trick displays. Quite odd. This would be the best option for the iPad if it weren’t so strangely placed. That leaves you with the next option, the floating joystick. Once again, it’s center is meant to be in the upper right as that is where it immediately appears, but you can depress the lower right (seems most natural placement for me) and the joystick will work there. The issue with this is that once you huck off a jump, you then need to start to re-pedal and that requires the user to take their thumb off of the screen, depress again, and then push forward. When you are in a race, milliseconds matter, so once again, this is not the best option. Keep in mind that this joystick also controls your steering. So, this is why I found myself enjoying this title on the iphone much more and was disappointed with the control scheme on the intentionally bought to be played on iPad.

If you are looking for a downhill mountain bike racing game with gorgeous graphics, sickbird tricks, and realistic animations, you may find what you are looking for in DMBX 2. If you plan to play on an iPhone, all the better, but if you plan to play on an iPad and are opposed to tilt, you may find yourself frustrated with the current control schemes. Hopefully, the developer will fix this thorn and players on all devices can enjoy this entertaining Downhill mounting biking and BMX diversion.

Starbounder [Studio Radko] – $1.99

Runners certainly have their fair share of fans, and it’s not really surprising. The gameplay is simple, addictive, easy to learn hard to master, and best of all, fun. Recently, these games have been changing and expanding, and usually, for the better. Studio Radko’s Starbounder is a prime example of this. A level based, space ship ‘runner’ where you glide along platforms in outer space collecting orbs and jumping from platform to platform. 
Diving right in, you’re given a little bit of a story. Apparently, you’ve been in hyper sleep for the last 5,000+ years, and were only supposed to be awoke when you came into contact with something or someone intelligent. The systems woke you when coming across a giant platform. It’s up to you to explore and catalogue everything you can. What better way to do that than to race across the platforms at top-speed?
Starbounder only has one gameplay mode, but fortunately, there’s 6 separate environments, each with 10 levels. All 60 of the levels have 3 orbs which you can try and collect, acting as a ranking system. But without GameCenter leaderboards and achievements, the drive to go back and collect the ones you’ve missed is kind of lost. There is one racer which you can unlock after you get 180 orbs, and has special abilities, but the rest of the ships all have the same stats, same acceleration, top speed, and handling, so it’s primarily cosmetic. There are patterns and different colored boosters which you can select to change the appearance as well, but it really would have been great to have different stats for each vehicle. 
The controls work well, having a break button in the lower left corner, and a jump button in the lower right, and tilt controls to move left and right. Each of the tracks are a straight shot, but they’re wide, and you will need to do some fancy maneuvering to make it through, but the controls are good enough to get you through, and the edges of platforms are forgiving enough so you won’t have any unfair crashes or descents into the blackness of space. 
The graphics and animations are decent. There is a jumping animation which is nice, and the explosion animation is pretty cool, and both definitely add to the graphical look and feel of it all, and the backgrounds are beautiful. The music and sound effects are a huge plus as well, with pounding beats and great FX mixing in very well with the music, it adds a level of adrenaline to the game. 
The level designs in the beginning are very simplistic, but as you progress throughout the game, they get more and more complex, and really become a highlight of the game. It’s very clear that lots of time, effort and testing has gone into the creation of the levels, and it has a huge impact on the gameplay, especially if you’re going to try and get all of the orbs. They are placed in areas which will require definite skill in order to collect them all, which does help to make up for the lack of GameCenter. There’s a great feeling of accomplishment after pulling off some sick jumps and quick turns to collect the 3 orbs, especially later on in the game. 
There are two versions of Starbounder, SD and HD. The SD version is normally priced at $1.99, but is currently on sale for $0.99, and is made for the iPhone 4 and 4th Generation iPod Touch. The HD build is also originally priced at $1.99, but is on sale for $0.99 as well, and is made for the iPhone 4S and iPads 2 and 3. Both versions are Universal, so you should be careful as to which version you pick up. If you’re a fan of runners, especially level based runners, Starbounder is a great title to pick up. If you’re looking for a level based star racer, with twists and turns, power-ups and other racers, this probably won’t hit that nerve. Hopefully GameCenter boards can be added in the future. Having that extra drive to get better times, or collect all the orbs would be a great addition, and would keep gamers coming back to the game time and time again, even after completing the game. But as it is now, it’s still definitely worth checking out. 

Bounty Racer [The Quadsphere] – $1.99

The Quadsphere has been one of my favorite development teams since I got a 2nd gen Touch. Their awesome shmup, Icarus-X has always been one of my favorites, and FMX Riders is a great Motocross Racer. But after not really hearing anything from them for a while, I was surprised when their newest release, Bounty Racer, hit the AppStore. 
For those of you who have FMX Riders, you’ll be familiar with the menu setup and UI. It’s almost exactly the same. You have the option to flip the screen, which is great considering the game starts up-side-down, but unfortunately, this still leaves everything like pop-up notifications and GameCenter pop-ups at the bottom of the screen, which means that they wind up covering the controls, and can result in accidental game exits. 
The control set-up is also exactly the same, you can choose between auto and manual acceleration, as well as tilt, stick and button control schemes, with a tilt sensitivity option thrown in for good measure. The tilt controls work very well, as does the stick, though I prefer the button set-up, especially when playing on the iPad. Drifting is done easily by pressing the brake button while you’re turning. This, along with getting air from jumps and by using the environment, fills up your nitro gauge. Once it’s filled, you’re able to press the nitro button, and boost ahead. You’re also able to stack your boosts, which is fantastic. 
There are 3 gameplay modes to choose from; Single Player, Bounties and Multiplayer. The Single Player Mode gives you 4 separate leagues which you can choose from, Rookie, Pro, Master and Elite, though Rookie is the only league which is unlocked at first, and as you progress through the game, earning stars in each race, you’ll unlock the harder leagues. In each league, there are 6 tracks with 3 different types of races in each; Race, which is your typical race against 5 other AI characters, Collect, which gives you 60 seconds to collect as many stars on the track as you can. This is the only mode which you do not need to follow the typical track layout, and do not need to cross the finish line. Your only goal is to find and collect all the stars you can in 1 minute. Elimination is the last type of race, and this is your typical elimination mode. You’ll need to race the other AI characters, and try to never be in last place when you cross the finish line, or else the race is over. Each track has 9 available stars, with 3 for each type of race. 
In Bounty Mode, you’ll be able to race against other GameCenter players, trying to get the best time you can in each league’s track. Multiplayer is handled with GameCenter, and has auto-matching as well as the option to match up through your GC friend’s list. It allows up to 4 players to race each-other, and is probably where most of your time will be spent, after playing enough of the Single Player Mode to buy one bad-ass car in each league. Each race lets you save a replay, and you can also upload these replays directly to YouTube from inside the app, which is a great feature. I actually wish more games would allow for this to be done.
Every race has the potential to give you quite a few coins, and you can use these coins to purchase more karts. However, you’re only able to purchase karts which are available for that league, but this also means that as you progress through the game, better karts with better stats will become available to you. There are IAPs available for extra coins, but the pricing for the karts is great, needing to only go through about 5 races to get the best racer available in that league, but you can also buy a better-than-your-default-kart after the first race, so long as you come in first place. So basically, the IAP coins are there to help support the developers, if you so choose to. 
There are some additions which would have made the game a bit better, being able to hold it’s head high next to the top Kart Racers in the AppStore; Having a mini-map, or progression bar in the HUD would have been a fantastic addition. There have been so many times while playing when I wanted to know where the other racers were, or how close they were to me. I know there’s nitro boosters, but also having some sort of power-up or special item system would have made the game awesome, though it probably would have made it seem a little too kart racer-ish, I guess you could say, this is a Kart Racer, and without it, the gameplay just doesn’t seem as action-packed. 
Now, even though the player UI and menus are basically recycled from FMX Riders, there are quite a few iOS developers which do this, and it doesn’t really bother me. However, if it does bother you, you might want to keep that in mind when thinking about purchasing Bounty Racer. Being Universal and priced at $1.99, it’s a fantastic deal. There’s endless replay value, a wide array of karts, some great level design, very polished graphics, though not many animations or extra effects, like dirt, snow or water flying up, it’s still a very well made Kart Racer, with some great gameplay. If you liked FMX Riders, Bounty Racer is a game you’ll enjoy just as much, if not more so. The Bounty Mode does add some pretty competitive gameplay, and being able to upload your replays directly to YouTube is awesome, but if you’re looking for another Sonic type Racer, this isn’t really going to appease you. But if you’re a fan of the genre, this is definitely a great game to have in your collection. 

AXL: Full Boost [SpinVector] – $2.99

I’m generally not too big a fan of racers on the iOS. Even on console platforms, racers have almost always seemed a little dull after getting addicted to Kinetica on the PS2, and wasting a good 200+ hours of my life playing it. But there are a few that have that special spark that makes them stand out above the crowd. QuBIT, Protoxide, jAggy Race… and now I can add one more racing title to that very small list of mine; AXL: Full Boost, developed by SpinVector, an Italy based, 15-person studio who’ve won numerous awards. Now developing titles for the iOS, AXL: Full Boost is their second iOS title, the first being the award-winning BANG! With 10+ years of experience under the belt, it’s no surprise that at first glance, AXL looks amazing. But, as with other games that look amazing, the gameplay that lies underneath all the special glitz and glamour can make or break the game. 
Using technology developed by another Italian company, Raylight, AXL: Full Boost stands out by including orbs into the racing. These orbs can either be used to boost your racer, reaching insane speeds, or you can use them to take advantage of power-ups found throughout the tracks. The catch is, when you use these orbs, they’re left behind you, giving your opponents the opportunity to pick them up, and use them themselves, adding an extra little layer of strategy to the gameplay.
The technology also allows for Quick-Time Events. This is used for very sharp turns within the game. Whenever a sharp turn is coming up, an icon appears on the center of the screen, letting you know which direction you’ll be turning. When this does pop up, you’re able to twitch your device in that direction, and have your racer attach itself to a track within the turn, letting you keep up your high speed racing, and focus entirely on the racing and orb collecting/strategic aspects of the game. 

Looking at the screen-shots for AXL, it’s very clear that the graphics for the game are top-notch. The futuristic, clean, smooth, minimal look of all the buildings and racers definitely creates an intriguing atmosphere. Also pretty noticeable is the draw-distance. In most iOS games this is usually pretty short, but with AXL, the minimalistic graphics help to allow the developers to make the draw distance fairly large, which is a huge plus, and something that I hope is taken advantage of more within the genre. 
Once you get into the game, you’ll notice that not only do the graphics stand-out, but the automations are also fantastic as well, drawing you into the game even more. One of my favorite animations in the game is when you break, and get ready to boost, and your whole racer changes shape. It definitely adds to the feeling as well as style of the game.

Like a lot of other racers out there, there is a story intertwined with the game. In 2099, the environment collapsed, and humanity needed to find a new energy source, in 2123, HEX a new form of renewable energy was found. In 2150, Shifters, shape changing racers, were built using HEX, and after that, large corporations create newer and better Shifters, and the AXL Division of racing is established. This is where the game starts. 
At the beginning, like most racers, you’re only able to choose between one Shifter, and have to go through training missions before getting into the real gameplay. You also find out that you’re responsible for the loss of 55 Pan-American engineers. You were expelled from Rotco Global Defense Corporation, and have been sentenced to 4 years of civil labor. Later, found with contraband, you’re currently waiting for sentencing from the courts. Ikuma Energetics, a racing company that has scouted you out, has the power to suspend any criminal proceedings for the duration of your apprenticeship. Lucky you, you get to race Shifters.

There is loads of content within the game, 3 different modes; Starcade (or Story/Carrer Mode), Free Run, and Custom Race. As you progress through Starcade Mode, more tracks, and more Shifters will become available to you, there are 12 total, each having different statistics. Starcade Mode offers up 71 different races spread across 7 different locations. Free Run lets you practice on any one of the tracks that you’ve already reached, and Custom lets you race against however many opponents you want, and lets you decide if there’s power-ups included or not, as well as which track you race on. 
In the options, you’re able to adjust the Effects, and Music volumes, as well as change the view from First Person, Near or Far views, and adjust the sensitivity. Unfortunately, there is only a tilt control scheme, which really does have an effect on the gameplay. Even though you can adjust the sensitivity, until you get comfortable with the controls, more often than not, you’ll find yourself bouncing from wall to wall, which effects you more than you might like. With the Quick Time Events included in the tracks, you need to be going full speed to use them, which means that you can not accidentally touch the wall of the track, and need to have an orb for boosting right before it, which can result in your Shifter smashing right into the wall of the turn. Without orbs for boosting right before the QTE turns, you’ll need to take the sharp turn on your own, which almost always results in bouncing off the walls even more. But if you have the patience and determination to stick with it, and most likely play track more than once so that you can learn them, the controls become less and less of an issue as you make your way through the game.
Running at a smooth 60FPS, even on my 4th GEN Touch, which, with each passing week, is becoming more and more obsolete, and has fantastic tracks, amazing graphics and animations and great music and effects, with outstanding stand-out of the crowd mechanics with the orbs, power-ups, and turns. There are also 24 achievements, and 14 leader boards included in GameCenter, which definitely adds to the replay value, which is, of course, already fairly high. Sadly, the game is not Universal, which means you’ll be playing it in 2X mode if you’ve got an iPad. AXL: Full Boost is priced at $2.99, which is a fantastic price. Fans of the genre should definitely pick this up. It stands out in a genre full of like-minded titles, offers loads of content and basically endless replay value. It could very well wind up being the best racer available for the iOS, maybe even one of the best racers available on any gaming platform.

Lightraycer [Green Ferry Games] – $1.99

Racing games coupled with the iDevice’s accelerometer control option works extremely well. Thankfully, developers are going above and beyond your typical racers, expanding the genre, and creating new and unique games. QuBIT, Protoxide, Axon Runners and others are great examples of this. Green Ferry Games first iOS release, Lightraycer, is another attempt at pushing the genre beyond the typical trends. 
In Lightraycer, you control a space ship trying to outrun a supernova blast by racing along a track through space. The controls are typical of other racers on the platform, tilt to move, but you can also jump by tapping on the screen. With the inclusion of the jump mechanic, Green Ferry was able to include light walls, breaks in the track and falling orbs which slow your ship down. 
The graphics in Lightraycer are fantastic, with beautiful, vibrant backgrounds, a great looking track, and when the supernova gets closer behind you, the sides of the screen start closing in on you with a bright orange and yellow glow accompanying shaking from the blast. Unfortunately, this is pretty much all that the game encompasses. 
There’s only one gameplay mode, one ship, no power-ups, no GameCenter or OpenFeint integration, no objectives, and no real drive to keep playing, or get a better score, which makes Lightraycer seem like a pretty bland and basic title when compared to the rest of the genre. This is made more disappointing by the core gameplay, which has loads of potential, but isn’t taken advantage of. 
Being priced at $1.99, it’s hard to recommend Lightraycer, especially with so many other great racers for the iOS at either the same price or cheaper. Until more is added on to the game, chances are it’s not going to reach it’s target audience, and will fade into the background as so many other iOS titles have, which is unfortunate, because there’s clearly talent behind the game, and unique ideas floating around Green Ferry Games studio which isn’t being fully taken advantage of. 

Slingshot Racing [Crescent Moon Games + Snowbolt Interactive] – $0.99

Crescent Moon Games have definitely established themselves as one of the top developing and publishing teams in the AppStore. Aralon, Rimelands, Gears, Deadlock, Pocket RPG, and loads more have all gained a serious gamer following. Their constant support is also something that needs to be mentioned. Whenever there’s an issue, they’re on top of it, fixing it as soon as possible. Over the last year or so, they’ve turned their sights more towards publishing and working with other development teams, which has expanded their reach throughout various genres. RPGs, Platformers, Ball Rollers, Multiplayer, and now, with the latest release of Slingshot Racing, developed by Snowbolt Interactive, they’ve ventured into the Racing Genre. 
Over the last couple years, iOS developers have really started trying out new things with racing games. Draw Race, Jet Car Stunts, QuBIT, jAggy Race, FishMoto and others have utilized the iDevice, and tried to reach out beyond the typical racing formula that most racers stick with. Slingshot Racing is definitely a game that can be added to the list of games striving to push the boundaries of the genre.  
The controls are as simple as they can be; One Touch. Touching the screen makes your car fling out a grappling hook which attaches to rotating poles. Doing this lets you slingshot your car around corners. There is no gas or break, and your car drives on it’s own. The only thing you need to worry about is when to attach to these poles, and when to let go. Staying attached too long will result in you mashing your car into the side rails, while letting go too soon will cause the car to take the outer most part of the track, both causing the car to slow down dramatically. But once you get the timing down, you’ll be flying through the races, flinging your car around corners, and earning the 3 possible bolts (stars) for each stage. 
The campaign contains 64 races across 8 tracks, split up into different sections, each with an interesting name (like Winding Roads, Slingshot Mastery, Twist And Shoot, Wrap And Roll, and more) and containing 4 races each. Each of the races contain different objectives and hazards, also racing clockwise and counter clockwise during the day and night, which always keeps things fresh. There are 4 main different types of races. Racing against other racers, trying to place in 1st. Racing against other racers while a car eating machine trails behind you in an elimination type race. Solo racing while trying to collect bolts which are left on the track as quickly as you can, and solo time trials which push you to your limits trying to get the best time you can. 
There’s also a multiplayer mode which lets you play with up to 3 other people on the same device. Of course this is more comfortable while playing on the iPad, but playing with 1 other person on the iPhone/iPod Touch is also easy enough, and doesn’t hit the frustrating factor at all. Within this mode, you’re able to choose which track to race on, how many tracks to race on, the order of the tracks, the number of laps, forward or reverse, and day or night. Each of the other players will have their own corner of the device to control their car, and when you really get into a racing battle, this multiplayer mode can end up being loads of fun. 
Since each of the races are pretty short, usually just 8 laps, or anywhere from 20 to 60 seconds, the frustration you might usually come across in other racers when screwing up with one little mistake towards the end of a race isn’t really found here. You don’t need to be perfect in order to get a 3 bolt score, except for on the time trial stages. For these, it’s pretty difficult to grab a perfect rating. 
But if you are a fan of perfecting your laps, you’ll be very glad to hear that Slingshot Racing is supported by GameCenter, and has 18 separate leaderboards. That’s right, 18! One for your Total Bolts Earned, and boards for various stages throughout the game, ie; Shoot The Breeze Race 3, Sliding By Race 2, Slingshot Mastery Race 4, Melting Away Race 2, and so on. There are also 32 Achievements for you achievement hunters out there, all of which adds a TON to the already insanely high replay value. 
Right now, Slingshot Racing is priced at $0.99. Like most Crescent Moon games, it’s on sale for launch, and will go up to $2.99 after a limited time. With the game being Universal, and with the current price, Slingshot Racing is a MUST BUY! The steam punk influenced graphics, and great music and effects combined with the simple controls, challenging gameplay and basically endless replay value make Slingshot Racing the best casual racer I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing, and even one of the best racers on the iDevice. Hopefully online Multiplayer through GameCenter or through isolated servers will be added in the future. Slingshot Racing is just begging for online MP. Something else that would be great to see is some unlockable vehicles or cosmetic customization. Each of the cars is equal in terms of speed, acceleration, and all other aspects, but being able to choose the color, shape, and other cosmetic attributes would be a nice little addition as well. As it stands now, Slingshot Racing is still a game that everyone with an iDevice should own. Be sure and check it out, and get your race on! 

‘Retro Racing’ Review

Retro Racing-What’s in a Name? Everything.

Mysteriously, on March 23rd, Retro Racing was randomly pulled from the app store. Now, after a glitch-up on Apple’s side was corrected, it’s back on the app store and available for everyone again. In a nutshell, Retro Racing is, as one could assume from the name, a nostalgia-inducing racing game. Developed by Mr. Qwak, also known as the makers of All Terrain Racing and Nitro, two classic Amiga racers, it brings to the table a nice experience of retro fun, but not without a few flaws.

iPhone Screenshot 1

In Retro Racing, the controls are fairly simple: tap on the forward arrow to go forward and the sideways ones to go sideways (sometimes called turning.) If when playing this game you can’t understand that, even after the tutorial, and you aren’t a cat, I will personally write a letter of apology to your pride. Anyhow, the controls work alright, but they feel very cramped, mainly on iPhones or iPod Touches (on the iPad it’s much better.) One nice option would be an ‘auto-gas with left and right arrows on the sides’ control scheme or a landscape mode, both of which might help ease the controls’ weaknesses. Still, the current controls just don’t seem good enough most of the time. At times they work decently, but the sensitivity sometimes can be hard to judge even then, leading to crashes in-game. Most of the time though, they work fairly well, but they don’t provide the best possible execution consistently.

iPhone Screenshot 4

As the name implies, Retro Racing employs retro-styled graphics. While they’re not stunning, they get the job done perfectly well. It also plays great and is very enjoyable. As you could guess, the goal is to race through each level as fast as you can and to get first place. There are leaderboards for every track, fitting the style and pace of the game. There’s also a nifty two-player mode which pits you against another opponent (one-device only), which works very well and is really fun as well, even on the smaller iPhone. This is available for both iPhone and iPad after the recent update. Each race also has a variety of “power-ups” that boost your stats, plus nitro boosts as well. These make the game fun and fresher at its lower moments. While its still a stereotypical racing game in many aspects, it creates a fun-filled nostalgic game.

iPhone Screenshot 3

Level Design
The highlight of the game, though, lies in its nifty level design. In most racing games, the level’s just the track and where it turns. That’s not the case in ‘Retro Racing’. Each level is packed with a good amount of power-ups, extra paths, and more that make each level fresh and fun. False turns, cones, walls, and other cars all stand in the way of you and the finish line. The most enjoyable part of the game is how much the level design plays a part into the game. A nitro power-up could propel you into first place. Crashing into cones could lose you a position, while turning on a false turn could destroy your shot at taking the checkered flag. The level never feels unjustly made; even the frustrating moments make me want to play more. Each level feels carefully made to be the best it can be, and in turn propels the game

iPhone Screenshot 5

The weakest point in the game, however, lies in its balancing. If you ever want to achieve a score anywhere high in the leaderboards you have to purchase an extra $.99 car pack, which unlocks the final three cars, meaning that if you care about that type of thing, you will be wanting to buy the iAP, which seems missing in tact and unfair. The game feels somewhat balanced in its ‘campaign’, with the basic cars (and very rewarding when you win) but would get too easy with the iAP cars since their stats are over twice as high as the best of the basic cars. Plus, all the basic cars are unlocked from the get-go, meaning there’s no sense of progression there, besides levels. Often times that’s simply not enough, which can lead the game down some dire straits.

Retro Racing is a nice game weakened by so-so controls and imperfect balancing. However, if you’re a fan of the ‘retro’ or of the ‘racing’ then these problems are easily overcome by the sweet level design and fun gameplay, providing a very fun approach to the racing genre.


‘Tweetland Review’ – Twitter integration taken to the next level

Tweetland is a nifty app that integrates tweets from users of the popular social network into a smashing, car racing game.

The game puts you in control of a car racing past crazy traffic to try to get to the finish line.  Pretty simple, right? Wrong, as users on twitter tweet various buzz words the app translates that into game world obstacles you have to avoid. For example during one of my runs @rap_musicnews tweeted a tweet that involved the word “Meteor”. Sure enough a meteor crashed down in front of my vehicle and I was forced to swerve out of the way. With each level new buzz words are introduced making each level more and more hectic. After each level you can see the tweets that caused you so much trouble and even follow the users that tweeted them if your alright with the fact that they just made you fail the level. You get either a bronze, silver or gold medal for each level and you can rack up more points by crashing into the traffic you are trying to pass.  There are 24 levels and many promised updates supposedly coming soon. 
Controls: 3.5/5
The game utilizes one joystick in the bottom left of the screen which serves its purpose well enough. The reason it does not receive a higher score because at points it really infuriates me. I really can’t really put my finger on why I dislike it but it may be because of how floaty it is.
Content: 4/5
There are 24 levels already included along with a last level that will certainly test your reflexes. They are working on creating a iPad version as well as implementing Gamecenter into the game. Also they will be adding new buzz words along with new levels. 
Overall: 4/5
This is certainly one of the most unique games to hit the iOS platform and is fun as well. Great to play on a rainy day or on the bus. Certainly an easy buy at the low price of $1.99. 

‘Reckless Racing 2’ Review: Curse You Cletus!!

Polarbit and Pixelbite are back with the sequel to one of the greatest racing games of all time. Back when the first Reckless Racing burst onto the App Store, we all fell in the love with the ease and beauty of drifting around corners. Although the sequel loses some of its power sliding glory, it more than makes up for it in every other aspect.

Content 5/5

This is where Reckless Racing 2 shines. For one thing, you will never get bored of playing this game. There are 4 game modes available, including Career, Arcade, Single Event, and Multiplayer. As compete in races, you earn money to spend at the shop. Apart from the variety of game modes, the shop is outstanding. There are more cars than you could ever fit in someone’s garage, and the upgrade system goes deeper than any other racing game on the App Store. On top of that, for small cost you can switch up your style by repainting your car, tinting the windshield, and even changing your rims.

Gameplay 3/5

Gameplay in RR2 varies somewhat with each game mode, but for the most part it feels the same throughout.  The basic gist is that you race laps around these crazy courses that are full of obstacles and try to finish in first place. In Career mode, you compete in various Cups (ie. Reckless Cup, Roadrunner Cup) that consist of 3-6 events each. In total, there are 12 cups which makes for around 50 races in one career.  Races come in three types; Race, Hot Lap, and Eliminator.  Although there is nothing groundbreaking here, the different race types help to bring some replay value to the game.  In Arcade mode, you compete is various single event challenges. Single Event mode is sort of a practice mode where you can choose one of the 3 race types and try to get your best times.  The real key stone in the game is the Multiplayer mode.  The way Multiplayer works is you hop into a lobby and you choose to either host your own room or join someone else’s.  You can easily compete with your friends or with anyone in the world who is playing Reckless Racing 2.  Multiplayer is available for all of the game modes, so go wild with the competition in whatever form you like.

Controls 3/5

If you’ve played the original Reckless Racing, you are familiar with the ease at which you could power slide around corners. My favorite control scheme in the original had to be the full wheel because it gave me the most control over the car.  However, in RR2 things feel a bit different.  On the bright side, there are 5 different control schemes to choose from, ranging from on-screen buttons, to steering wheels, to plain tilt.  The way that the controls can be customized to your comfort is great, and this aspect helps you enjoy the game in its full glory.  Unfortunately, despite the custimazability, for me some of the control schemes just didn’t work as expected.  My biggest disappointment has to be that the full wheel isn’t what it used to be.  For the most part, the wheel options were just too twitchy for me and it was difficult to travel in a straight line.  Despite that fact, the on-screen button option works perfectly and I haven’t seen the need to use any other set-up.

Overall 4/5

Reckless Racing 2 is everything you could ask for in a sequel, plus some.  Despite its setbacks, it’s nearly impossible to not enjoy your time on the track.  Gorgeous visuals, easy to use controls, and tons of content make this the best racing game on the App Store.  Race your way to the top (cliche right?) of the leaderboards and build up your dream car collection. At the premium price of $4.99 I heartily recommend Reckless Racing 2.