Developer: Origin8
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★★

Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

The makers of Sentinel & Sentinel 2 (which received a high rating) have decided to join the big boys that are Flight Control and Harbor Master. This genre of game is still really popular, and copied a lot because of it. If you are a regular reader here at 148 Apps (*waves hello*) you may have come across my slight obsession with this style of game. I love playing these pick up and put down games because it means I don’t have to commit to huge story lines or collecting little bits of things that I will forget what they are for. This game you can jump in and jump out again, which suits me fine.

img_0876When I launched Car Mania, I was nervous for it… how could it live up to the giants? What could they do to make a pretty great formula and make it fabulous? Could it be done?

Well I am pleased to say that Origin 8 has clearly done their research. They have created a game that looks like it has already had all the essential updates and is slick, fun, challenging and varied. I can’t wait to tell you all about it so let’s begin!

When you first launch the game there is quite a lot on the interface to choose from. The main area has the three styles of game to select from and at the beginning, only survival is available to you. You will need to achieve a certain number of happy drivers to unlock other levels. If you notice to the right of this main area, there is a traffic sign (this will say stop or go depending on if you can play the level or not) and it has New York, Freeway and Central on it which will also become unlocked as you progress.

I could describe all the intricacies here about the levels and options but essentially there are 3 types of game play, the city mode that you start off in, the freeway, which is a bit easier as you are only channeling the traffic one way, and then central which has 4 destinations for the cars as well as trains to negotiate. This level is really fun, and when you are alerted that the train is about to come – you literally panic – it’s fantastic!!

img_0883With the combination of the levels and styles of game play you have 8 ways to either save or crash all the vehicles. On the road rage style of play you have to get as many drivers as possible to crash. It’s a great spin on the game, especially if you have been playing for ages and concentrating to get them all to perfect. To then play a level that is essentially the exact opposite is really fun.

The combination of levels and ways to play makes this a real hit straight from the first game. Once I had played it, I wanted to unlock all the bonuses and levels, and try them all. It was a game that actually got more fun as I played it. This hasn’t happened for ages.

Here is a run down of some other great things about this game. If I wrote it all up we would be here for days so the list of fun things:

– It has a fast forward button so that if it starts too slow for you or you want to speed it along, you can do that.

– You have a bar at the top which monitor the ‘rage’ levels. This is great because it isn’t a case of one hit/crash and you are out. This means you get several chances at it. The result is it really increases your game play and when you have had a near miss you really focus and work it a bit harder. Fantastic!

img_0892- The choices of levels means you really have several games in one. The maps are all very different and all have a different goal. The city map is a case of getting yellow to yellow garage, and blue to blue. On the highway there are more colors to match but only the one direction. On the Central level you have 4 areas to navigate them to but also the danger of a speeding train to get past!

different speed of the cars / motorcycles / trucks. This is great because there are some that will slow the others down, and they start honking. (and trains on one level)

– construction: At some point in the level, there will be road construction. This was a fun aspect to the game as well. When the little builder sign comes up and the builder noise accompanies it, you have to click it fast to fix the road.

OpenFeint is used for hiscores, so it’s possible to connect information to friends and other hiscores who use that same platform.

Some of the negative aspects of the game (only minor), are that the routes at times can be awkward to map out. You have to go precisely to all corners and turn or it kind of doesn’t trace your route. Additionally it might be nice to have those routes mapped out a little clearer on the roads so you know who you have traced a path for. But I’m just being picky.

Also, the actual drawing and the line are not as fluid as on the other games in this genre. I really liked the beauty of that fluid line in FlightControl, and in this game its a bit square and angular. Again it’s not really a big deal but especially on the highway level, it seems difficult to correct a mistake. Gameplay can be frustrating on that level because you can’t reverse and it seems to go slightly beyond the point where you can actually steer the vehicles.

Lastly the interface is packed, this means it takes a bit of time to orient yourself with the opening screen. You have to click the level you want and the type of map and then you have to click the large ‘go’ sign. There are so many buttons on the opening screen, it’s fine once you figure it out but it’s not as clean as other games.

Overall – I thought this game was completely fantastic. It really seemed to look at what was out there, take the good bits and incorporate them. Tons of levels, achievements, and really fun that you don’t just die right away and have several chances to make it all run smoothly. It’s a hit in all the right places!!

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