Version Reviewed: 1.0.6
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
CSR Racing is a highly addictive freemium racing game but that doesn't neccessarily make it a great game. Instead, it's the game that players will find themselves playing incessantly, even though deep down they know there is better out there for them.
One of the most striking things to note about CSR Racing is its graphics. Each car is stunning to look at and truly demonstrates the graphical prowess of the iPhone. Aesethics are clearly designed to take advantage of this with moments such as leaving the game to idle, invoking the camera to rotate and show off all the splendour of the player's car. It's sleek and professional looking.
The other noticeable thing is the game's heavy focus on buying boosts and bonuses with real money. I've got nothing against such mechanics when implemented well but, at times, CSR Racing feels deeply cynical in its enticement.
Drag racing means that CSR Racing has a street theme to it in which the player must race against increasingly challenging crew members. Work your way up through the pack and unlock new races, new cars and new upgrades. It's a potent combination, given that everyone likes to be rewarded at regular intervals.
The drag races themselves are ideal for short bursts of gaming in that they only take 15 seconds to complete. Controls are conducted via one finger pumping the gas before the race starts then hitting the gear shift button at just the right time. It's simple but, again, there's satisfaction to be had in mastering it.
The problems lie in how long it takes to really progress. For those willing to throw money at CSR Racing, progression won't take long at all. Players can buy new cars, more gas to race more frequently, upgrades, mostly anything that the game could require. For those wanting to enjoy the free experience, however, it's a far longer journey. Much of the time will be spent competing in simpler races for the sake of attrition and gradually building up small supplies of money for better upgrades. At regular intervals, they will be reminded that they can always go the easier option and pay up. It's increasingly tempting.
That's the major issue with CSR Racing. It all feels so cynical. Sure, there's no requirement to buy any in-app purchases but there's always that sense that you're missing out on something if you don't. For the stubborn, being pushed to buy help so regularly will no doubt infuriate all the more. It creates an experience that, while fun, leaves a bitter taste in one's mouth. In-app purchases really don't need to be pushed this heavily.