Horror Racing Review (iPhone/Touch)October 19, 2009
Today I’m dropping my opinion on you about Horror Racing. Released by Chillingo and developed by NewFX.
Horror Racing is.. A Racing game.. SURPRISE! betcha didn’t see that coming did you? The theme is Monsters and ghouls and…. A hot chick in a short skirt. *shrug*. Just go with it.
The theme really doesn’t matter, it could have been Space, Future, Post Apocalyptic or just normal. As long as the mechanics behind everything is solid it really doesn’t matter.
…And the game almost gets there.
L et’s begin. The game starts with you selecting what character you would like to use. You only have 5 chooses right now. Once you defeat Championship mode. You get 2 more. The 5 are an Eyeball, Grandma, the Hot Chick, Bigfoot, and a Bunny. Each car/character has different stats and advantages. After selecting. You go into the race.
Your only option in controlling the car is a little steering wheel to the right of the screen. The control is pretty good. Pressing the steering wheel is the gas. And sliding your finger around the wheel turns it. While this method works just fine, it would have been nice to have multiple control options. Like tapping the left and right sides of the screen t0 turn and have the car just go automatically. Could have attempted tilt controls. But I see that failing horrible. Still. An option wouldn’t hurt *shrug*. Again. Controls are fine. But options are nice.
Speaking of options… There really isn’t a whole lot here. There are only 3 weapons. Rockets, Machine gun, and Mines. Your only option in terms of upgrades is how many of each you can hold. You can upgrade this with money you earn from winning races. You can upgrade armor, engine, and weapons. And as long as you win all the races, you will never worry about making a choice on which one you should upgrade. Because you will always have enough to upgrade them all. But you can only do it once per "Stage". You can’t go crazy and blow your money on 3 engine upgrades because you can only have 1 right now. You gotta wait for the rest. So, it goes like this. Win a couple races, buy one of each upgrade, go back to racing. For some this may be just fine. But for me it’s too limiting and linear. You’re only given the illusion of customization. But really, the way this works is you don’t even need the money. The game could simply automatically upgrade your car dependant on how well you did and toss the whole concept of money. Since it’s only used for upgrading. Your only choices are "should I unsuck my car a little less"? And most everyone will do that.
Getting into the actual meat of the game, though. It Holds up. But barely. Racing is fun, the controls are tight and never really hamper the experience. The courses are a little on the dull side though. With some courses having too many straight away, and they never really evolve as you dig deeper into the championship. They just get bigger and more laps get added to each race. This is where the game begins to lag. courses become too long and boring. Driving around a course with 4 long straight aways isn’t the most entertaining, and then adding 5 laps just makes it tedious. While the other racers do get a little harder as you go along. They never once dropped a mine while I was behind them. I couldn’t stop dropping mines! They where by far the most useful weapon while in front. Aside from the cars weapons though. There are some special weapons that you collect "pieces" for that are dropped throughout each course. These are all very useful and maybe even a little overpowered. Once again, the other opponents won’t and can’t use these. Only you. There is Quad Damage, which, should be obvious. There is also Hot Car, which will damage all cars that are around you. Dark Energy, which shoots a purple electrical bolt at all cars on screen.
These additions are pretty cool addition. But I wish the other drivers could use these too. It would have made the game far more frantic feeling. Maybe they could in harder difficulties. That would be nice.
The game is set at an isometric view. Much like Diablo or Ivan "Ironman" Stewart’s Super Off Road from 1990. Actually. It’s much more like Rock and Roll Racing from Blizzard back on the Super Nintendo/Genesis
The game looks very nice. I’m not sure if the cars are 3D rendered or pixel animated. Either way they look pretty good! They animate smoothly and are fairly detailed. Each car has a distinct style and is distinguish able from the other racers. each car has a selection of colors it can be. The cars look great in this game. The courses, on the other hand, while detailed for the most part, end up looking bland sometimes. One stages "theme" reminded me way too much of diablo, actually. I kept half expecting to see a Rogue come out shooting arrows. the game very much has an "old" feel to it. This is a compliment, I kind of liked being reminded of Diablo. Sometimes I feel that all this 3D rendering stuff takes away some of the feel of "hand made". that sounds silly, but, much like how CGI movies feel sterile, and hand drawn cartoons of yore (Bugs bunny, or Lion King.) have a warm feeling, like you can tell this took a lot of care and time. this is how the art in the game comes out.
The menus are a little lacking in style. I see what they where going for, but the overall look is more rushed and half-assed then horror and scary.
In all, the game is by no means bad looking. It looks good. There are just a couple areas that could have used a bit more "oomph" to there presentation. with that said though, I really like the, almost "aged" feel this game gave out. I liked the style they went with a lot.
it gets the job done. There isn’t anything spectacular here, though. But things sound, for the most part, how they should. Gunfire, rocket launching and such sounds like how you would expect it. Car engines sound kinda funny. But it’s not horrible and Im not going to expect Simulation/ Forza 3 realism in a racer based on….um, monsters?. From folklore?. and.. Raves? *shrug*. The sounds aren’t annoying and it’s better than silence.
The same can’t be said for the music though. The main menu music is different than the course song. That’s right… I said course SONG. While it’s nice having "music" it would have been awesome to have more than one song. Especially since the one song gets annoying after awhile. Of course, you can turn it off. Which I would advise you do after hearing it the first 8 times. It’s a very jaunty, bouncy sounding song that.. doesn’t really fit with the theme, I don’t think anyways.
Horror Racing is a fun game. It tries to differentiate itself from other racers, design wise. It does a pretty good job. There aren’t any other racing games in the App Store that has this look. While the design team was different and innovative in it’s own way. The overall polish and detail if the game wasn’t aces. Cars look great. And Courses had a nostalgic feel about them that made them comforting in an odd way. But mechanics wise, courses where overly long. the single song that was present in every race was, to say the least.. annoying! And the game doesn’t really hold your attention to the very end. I only felt the need to finish to give a thorough review.
I have to touch on the price, too. At $2.99. It’s not expensive by any means. But it’s priced a little higher than other racing games that, I feel, have a higher value to them. And in my opinion. Hold interest for longer.
I’m not saying this is a bad game. Not at all. It’s a fun game. But price-to-entertainment ratio. It’s tilted more toward the feeling of being "costly" then "bang for your buck."
With some updates to the game, added tracks, more variety and such via updates. I can see this being a competitive racer, right now it’s just a nice alternative.
Out of 5 Stars,