Car Jack Streets: Director's Cut Review

Our Review by Carter Dotson on January 2nd, 2013
Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: WHAT THE JACK
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Car Jack Streets: Director's Cut is a re-release of a 2009 game that unfortunately feels like it's stuck in 2009.

Developer: Tagplay
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Game Controls Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar

When the original Car Jack Streets came out, it was a standout title: in the days of the iPhone 3GS, it was impressive to see a take on Grand Theft Auto available on our phone.

Well, as a sign of just how far mobile gaming has come in those three years, we now have actual Grand Theft Auto games that we can play on our phones! The 3D ones! Seriously, I can go buy the original Grand Theft Auto 3 for a dollar! Sadly, Car Jack Streets: Director’s Cut, while enhanced with modernized tweaks for new devices, just feels ancient by comparison.

Players control a hero who likes gambling. A lot. Like, “needs to pay 50 grand per week to the mob to get out of his gambling debts” a lot. So, he turns to a life of crime, stealing innocent people’s cars and just generally causing mayhem all over Jack City in order to get square. He can just pick up random cash or sell cars to the chop shop, or he can do trciky random missions to get money more quickly, albeit more dangerously. Sadly, it does not appear as if intense therapy is an option, because getting to this point to pay back gambling debts? That's a problem.

The 2D controls are a mess. Driving is an absolute pain, which is a problem where driving is something done quite frequently! It’d be nice to mix walking and driving control schemes, as the analog stick works better for walking, but is horrible for driving, and digital just doesn’t work that great for walking. The city layout has no flow to it. As well, while there’s new in-app purchases to unlock new cars and upgrades, I struggle to think of anyone that would stick around long enough to justify buying them.

The game feels old, and not in a good way. There's ugly stretching in some points to make the game compatible with higher resolutions. There's too many points where the player can and will get stuck. The missions just aren't intuitive, as getting busted is way too easy, and even just staying alive is a problem. A difficulty curve to make the player feel like they're getting into the swing of things over time would help out tremendously, because at this point, I'm content to quit the game and go play something else entirely.

Yes, this game now works on the iPhone 5 and iPad, which is great, but this game works best as a history lesson. It’s a shame, because the 2D gameplay does provide a nice counterpart to the complexity that Grand Theft Auto introduced, the visual style is still rather unique and surprisingly colorful. At times, the appeal of the game shines through. But when the package still feels this rough, why settle for anything less than the real thing?

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