App Reviewed on: iPad and iPhone 4
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Admittedly, I've been on a retro game kick lately. I don't know if it's the nostalgia factor, the easy learning curve, or the addictive replayability that they offer, but I sure am a sucker for new games that try to mimic experiences from the early days of gaming. Don't be fooled by 8 Bit Rally's retro look though. This game packs a serious amount of entertainment value beneath its vintage shell, and the soundtrack is made up of some seriously awesome chip tunes.
8 Bit Rally is a classic style arcade racer where players have to race around a variety of scenic tracks across the globe. Each race is made up of multiple laps, and players compete for cash prizes against various levels of A.I. opponents. The game offers three difficulty levels so that all sorts of gamers can enjoy the experience without getting too frustrated. The controls are spot on, and even though the game's graphical style isn't realistic, there is still a great sense of speed when handling the cars. There are two control options (touch and tilt), and they both worked without a hitch. I'm usually not a fan of tilt, but in 8 Bit Rally I always felt like I was in control of my car. I found the collision detection when passing competitors a little strange, but after a few races I was able to determine a safe passing distance. The game even has some a bit of depth with its garage mode. Between each race players have the option to paint their car, upgrade mechanical aspects (transmission, engine, wheels), and even buy totally new vehicles.
The graphics and sounds are styled to imitate the feel of an old arcade game, but they certainly surpass any old arcade cabinet I've tinkered with. The charming retro graphics look extremely crisp, and they remain fluid even during some of the more intense racing action. The pinnacle of the game is the original soundtrack. There are some kicking retro tunes in 8 Bit Rally that really got me pumped up to race. I don't want to belittle the gameplay because it is suitably entertaining, but the jams really bring the experience to another level.
8 Bit Rally brings the total package in terms of retro style revivals. The graphics, sound, and gameplay are all top notch, and even though the game is obviously inspired by older titles, Photon Creations managed to add their own depth and charm to arcade racing. I think the only downside to the overall experience is the repetitive nature, but that's more a flaw of the racing genre itself. As far as arcade racers go, it doesn't get much better than 8 Bit Rally.