Racer in Review – Simple Racing Fun

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There is certainly an abundance of $0.99 games at the App Store, with Racer (developed by Tatem Games) being one of them. Most of these are high score type games, which emphasize the pick-up-and-play aspect of mobile gaming. Does Racer manage to stand out from the pack, or does it fall into the same hackneyed category as most of the other casual games? Read on.

Menu
The main menu of the game is pretty simple; it consists of scores, settings, help, and an option to start the game. The instructions on how to play the game are clear, but it does not tell you how to speed up the car. The scores work well, giving you total distance, local/world rank and of course, the score. In settings, you can change the color of your car, and the difficulty (normal, hard). Some other settings are sound FX, vibration, flip screen, and units (Mi, Km). Finally, by clicking on the “Racer” logo, you begin the game.

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Gameplay/Controls
The gameplay of Racer is something that you would expect from a casual game – simple. First off, “Racer” isn’t really a racing game. The only similarity that Racer has with a racing game is that both have cars. Racer is more like a dodging type game, where you try to dodge the approaching cars on the road by switching your car between 6 lanes. You start the game at level one and every 6 miles or so, you reach the next level. As levels increase, the speed of your car also increases, making it harder to avoid and react to the other cars on the road. Also, an interesting addition is lives. You start out with 3 lives, and every time your score increases by 2000, you gain a life. This is a nice feature since it serves as a goal and motivation to keep on playing and it also helps you to achieve a higher score. The controls are very simplistic; all you have to do is put your finger on the car and drag it to wherever you want it to go. ‘Driving’ your car at the bottom of the screen keeps it at normal speed and moving it up the screen increases the speed. In the first few levels, this can serve as a fast forward option as your score and distance increases faster. In the later levels however, it is suicide to put your car anywhere but the bottom of the screen.

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Graphics/Sound
My first impression of Racer was that it looked simple and clean. The graphics were sharp and the cartoonish features of the game kept things simple and easy on the eyes. The onscreen bars that show distance, level, score, and life are attractive and well organized. The cars are well done and detailed, but there are only around 6 types of cars, so a little more variety couldn’t hurt. There is no music in the game, which does not really affect me, but an in-game soundtrack, especially if it’s well done could add to the overall experience. The sound effects consist of the swooshing of cars flying past you and the inevitable crash.

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Racer has some good things going for it. It is easy to pick up and play, and you can play it for a long time before your eyes begin to give up. The visuals are also nice; the cars are sharp and detailed, the menus are elegant yet simple. A big plus is the global leaderboard. You can compare your scores with the rest of the world, and this provides extra replay value. The gameplay system also works fairly well, providing extra lives every 2000 points and ramping up the difficulty as you achieve higher levels.

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While Racer is a simple and fun game, it doesn’t quite stand up from the crowd. It is just another high score type game that you can pick up and play, but it doesn’t add anything really new or exciting. The difficulty also gets too hard, too fast in my opinion. This in ways can be seen as a turn off because continuously dying around the same level with no real progress makes the game feel boring. However, this is just a personal opinion and everyone may have a different evaluation of the difficulty. Menu music, such as that found in Flight Control, would benefit the overall atmosphere of the game. Also, a greater choice of cars could provide the player with more variety.

Overall, Racer is not a bad game by any means. It is a fun game supported by the inclusion of a global leaderboard. The graphics are clean and polished, and the menus provide a good first impression. That being said, Tatem Games’ offering could benefit from additional modes of play and possibly more variation in gameplay to help keep players coming back for more. As it currently stands, Racer gets a Tap It rating from TouchMyApps.

This game review was brought to you by TMA contributor Alex Lu

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App Summary
Title:Racer (v1.0)Developer:Tatem Games
Price:$0.99App Size:3.2 MB
  • Nice graphics
  • Gameplay works well
  • Global leaderboard
  • No music
  • Gets repetitive
  • Very pedestrian and ordinary

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