Developer: Jujubee S.A.
Price: $1.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Thank goodness for the evolution of gaming. The past three decades have seen countless advances in the way games are designed, played and even distributed. Still, one genre has managed to remain fairly untouched: racing. No matter the era, the goal of getting from Point A to Point B has stayed consistent. The only major differences are the location of the tracks, what is being driven, and the number of pixels on screen. Can the newcomer FLASHOUT 3D bring something new to the platform, or is this another case of generic racing that should have never left the pit?

It is damn near impossible to talk about futuristic racers without the Sony’s legendary WipEout franchise coming to mind. This is the title that defined what space racecars even looked like, let alone how the games are actually designed. FLASHOUT 3D is very obviously trying to hit on similar cues, only in a more digestible form. Everything from the booming techno soundtrack to each track’s skyscraper dotted skylines screams out to fans of Sony’s prize horse. Shockingly, in many cases it succeeds at providing a comparable experience, at a fraction of the cost.

Taking to the track can prove to be a mixed bag at first, until players arrive at their preferred control mechanism of choice. Those that tend to lean towards tilt controls may find that FLASHOUT is extremely, if not overly sensitive when using the gyroscope. It may be a better bet to use the left or right side control sticks in order to keep the vehicle on the road. Each match consists of jockeying for position amongst four other racers, with the aid of a couple standard fare power-ups such as machine guns, heat-seeking missiles, and an over-abundance of speed boost pads.

All of the tracks are laid out beautifully and look gorgeous on current generation iOS devices. Even on an aging iPad 2 the skyline smoothly scrolls by without even the hint of a framerate hitch. The problem still remains that even though it is a solid experience on the whole, there isn’t anything that could substantiate FLASHOUT 3D as being a standout. Everything that is found in the package is well put together and feature complete; It just feels as if that critical something special is missing, that could elevate it above the din of everything else on the App Store.

While FLASHOUT 3D may not be the second coming of futuristic racers on the platform, it goes a long way towards bridging the gap between big name franchises on the consoles and mobile offerings. If nothing else, this proves that a fantastic looking and playing clone is possible. Though it still falls short in some departments, for $1.99 it is well worth taking out for a couple of test laps.

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