How much entertainment should you expect for the paltry price of 69p? A few minutes? A couple of hours? There are - after all – plenty of throwaway games on the App Store that trade on the low expectations that come with a small price. Those considered as diversions and trinkets to fill your iOS device’s home screen, ones to be played a few times and then forgotten about.
Red Lynx, it would seem, has other ideas, evidenced by their latest release DrawRace 2. Over thirty tracks, a garage full of cars, a tiered progression system, achievements, offline multiplayer and online leaderboards; for the entry price of a particularly fancy chocolate bar that’s an awful lot of content.
A sturdy game engine houses the action; top down 3D environments and racers zipping about smartly designed courses based on familiar themes such as road, dirt, snow and F1. Even on the iPhone 3G device I reviewed the game on, the frame rate rarely dropped, which is impressive for a title with upto four competitors on – at times – large and detail filled tracks.
Perhaps more impressive though is how Red Lynx inject tension and excitement into a driving mechanic that is so removed from the immediacy of racing. Players plot a course round the circuits by drawing a line, speeding up the movement of their finger on the screen to accelerate and moving slower to brake. It takes a few goes to really grasp this input method, however once you do you begin to understand just quite how well the fundamentals of car handling have been transposed. Taking corners wide, nipping in close to the turn’s apex and accelerating smoothly out are still essential techniques to understand. This is no sim by any means but neither is it an all-out arcade racer, it’s a curious blend of technical racing and player prompted turbo boosts over jumps.
It’s a significant challenge too, even without considering the highly competitive community already gathering on its leaderboards, the single player is a substantial undertaking. As well as the previously noted quantity of content, the difficulty also ramps up quickly. Though you’ll only need a single win on each set of three challenges to unlock the next, obtaining all the gold medals in the game will take patience, dedication and – moreover – skill.
There are still improvements DrawRace 2 can make in future updates: the initial startup time could be faster, a “try next race” option would be useful after victories to keep the flow of play smooth in long sessions, and a more significant training mode would do wonders for new players. They’re not deal-breaking problems whatsoever but when a title comes so close to perfection the smaller flaws are disproportionately evident.
With each attempt at a race taking around a minute it’s ideal for short play stints and hour long sessions alike, plus the inclusion of intelligent push notifications that display your results in the competitive online space makes this is a title you’ll return to time and time again. With so much content backed by intuitive controls, fair but challenging difficulty and a compulsive online infrastructure, this should be a tempting proposition for anyone with an iOS device.
MLG Rating: 9/10
Platform: iOS Release Date: 01/09/2011
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a digital copy of Draw Race 2 for review purposes by the promoter. The title was reviewed over the course of three days on an iPhone 3G. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.