Developer: Jared Bailey
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

At first glance, Cubed Rally Racer appears to be a simple, blocky, graphically-challenged, retro RC-style racer which lacks depth and the standard/advanced visual/audio elements found in today’s gaming technology. However, don’t judge this game by its cover (just pretend it has a cover so I can use this analogy), as exploring deeper into its proverbial pages will prove you wrong.

Cubed Rally Racer is a 3-D isometric RC racer in which players navigate various tracks in order to finish with the fastest time possible. Each track is different, however, as they are randomly generated, providing players with thousands of different possible track combinations.

Cubed Rally Racer foregoes modern graphics technology in lieu of the retro, 8-bit style graphics which graced beloved NES consoles in the 80’s. The retro goodness doesn’t stop there, however, as the game also features retro sound effects and in-game music from 8BitWeapon. While retro lovers will relish in this delight, the down-side is that newer gamers, i.e. those who didn’t experience the 80’s video game boom, will likely opt to turn these features off and listen to their own music while playing the game.

The control-scheme, goodness gracious, has a well-defined learning curve: The car and on-screen controls, which consist of a left/right arrow and a gas pedal, are very responsive and as you begin playing the game, you’ll spend more time watching your car zoom off the sides of the track into a seemingly endless 8-bit sky-blue abyss. With practice, you’ll eventually grow accustomed to the controls and you’ll need to: The tracks, while relatively short, are bite-size challenges loaded with an array of different obstacles, such as jumps, walls and 8-bit cows (not the grazing-in-place kind, either; this particular species likes to move about the track, forcing you to maneuver around them).

The track is also laden with boosts (yikes) and red gas cans which require you drive over them, as if you run out of gas, as indicated by a red line at the top of the screen, you’ll be stuck in-place and your game will be over. You’ll also be embarrassed, as you’ll have to face the crowd of 8-bit peg-people lined up at the start/finish lines to watch you conqueror each track in glory.

At the end of each track, players have the option of moving on to the next section (up to 99 total) or trying the track again, to beat their previous score. While doing so, a ghost-image of your previous race displays on screen, allowing you to literally race against yourself. Standard, yet very nice.

In all, what Cubed Rally Racer lacks in modern visual style, etc., it more than makes up for with quality, challenging, varied gameplay and quality retro elements nostalgic gamers will love. In addition, its OpenFeint challenge system/Leaderboards/Achievements and Facebook/Twitter integration boost (pun intended) its replay value from 8-bits to 32-bits. It may not be eye-candy, unless you dig/appreciate retro, but its fun to play and, for me, hasn’t gotten old and won’t anytime soon.

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