Developer: Marmalade Play
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0.2
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Fans of niche racing titles are probably well aware of the cult favorite Xbox 360 and PS3 game, Blur. Though the series and its developer have long since gone the way of the Dodo, it has maintained a strong following thanks to services like Xbox LIVE. So why not revive the brand’s chaotic and stylish approach to battle racing? The newly released Blur Overdrive does just that, while also venturing into the land of free-to-play. Will this ride snag the checked flag, or does it overheat after a couple of laps?

IMG_0186Like it or not, the free-to-play pricing model for racing games is here to stay. Blur Overdrive thankfully shirks the sometimes negative connotation associated with this monetization structure and delivers a franticly exhilarating arcade experience that fans of the original game will find more than familiar. Buzzing around the road is aided by several different power-ups that help level the playing field, while stat progressions off the track help to further engage the attention of the player through vehicular upgrades.

One genuine concern is the lack of mode variety. Each competition may go by a different name, but ultimately the only major changes are what power-ups are available for use and whether or not the track runs forwards or backwards. That complaint aside, the control scheme is very reminiscent of the arcade classic Super Off Road, which almost inadvertently acts as a reminder that there were eras when coin-ops offered up far less variety than what Overdrive brings to the table.

IMG_0176Ultimately, the goal is for players to win cash, tweak their vehicle’s stats, and leave the competition in the dust. That is where genre crutches like rubber band difficulty come into play. Mario Kart ain’t got nothin’ on this game. It isn’t always blatant, but let’s just say it is extremely difficult to hold on to ANY sort lead.

With the aid of patience or the occasional social media exploit to earn more gas refills, it is easy to glean more than a few hours of fun from Blur Overdrive before the pay wall even remotely becomes an issue. The iOS audience is a perfect way to reintroduce the Blur brand to a larger fan base and with any luck build upon it further. Hit the gas, because this title is well worth burning out over.


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