Developer: Blast One
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

I don’t know about you, but I spent a stupid amount of time in my youth playing Super RC Pro AM on my Game Boy. There is just something about racing toy cars from a birds eye point of view that gets me going. With the birds eye viewpoint, you can scout out shortcuts, look for great places to turbo boost, and cut people off with ease. Anyways, the spirit of Super RC Pro AM has lived on through countless games on many platforms, the latest is LilRacerz on the iPhone.

LilRacerz, like the countless birds eye racing games before it, utilizes some extremely simple controls to get going. There is a left and right button, an acceleration button, a brake button, and a turbo button. With the iPhone being a touch device and all, LilRacerz utilizes some quality button placement to make things just a bit easier for the driver. The acceleration pedal is quite long, much like the acceleration pedal in a car, and directly above it is the turbo. To activate the turbo, all you must do is slide your finger up from the accelerator and away you go. There really isn’t a point in which you will accidentally hit the wrong button this way, alleviating much of the stress I endure while playing iPhone racing games.

The game consists of a ton of races divided into cups, which are further divided into leagues (difficulty). Each cup has a handful of races which must be cumulatively won before you move on to the next cup. For those that I have thoroughly confused, it works the same way Mario Kart does. At the end of each cup, assuming you win first place, you get a new car to race with in the upcoming cup.

Each individual race consists of you and a handful of other cars on a twisty track. Like other games like it, LilRacerz emphasizes (maybe accidentally) finding shortcuts in the races. While you are free to run a clean race and struggle, I found it much easier to cut through the maps and leave the other players in the dust. To my delight, the races only last a minute or two because each track is fairly short and most only have you running 2-3 laps.

During each level, you will see a number of coins strewn around the track that earn you extra money at the end of the race to upgrade your car. Focusing of coin collecting is pointless though because you will receive plenty of money throughout the course of the game. The upgrades that you can perform are on the steering, grip, acceleration, and speed. By the time I hit the professional cup, I had close to 200k in the bank while each upgrade is under 10k. Needless to say, you will have plenty of money for your upgrading needs.

Unfortunately, this is where the game struggles. Because you get so much money for upgrades, you quickly get to a point to where you barely have to try to beat a level. After I upgrade everything about halfway, all I have to do is not run into any barriers outside of the track and I win. Unlike Super RC Pro AM back in the day, LilRacerz is a piece of cake to win, no matter how often you run off the track.

Fortunately for the game, LilRacerz has all the intangibles it needs to be a successful game. The graphics are top notch for what they are and the gameplay is incredibly smooth even on my iPhone 3G. The sound, if you choose to play with sound, will instantly remind you of old school Game Boy sound, somewhere in the realm of Mega Man 3.

It’s easy to pick up LilRacerz and be impressed with the quality game that Blast One put together. The races are quite fun, and there are plenty of races to make anyone happy. Unfortunately, the ease of the game will turn off some of the more hardcore gaming fans. If there was a bit more balance in the upgrade costs and the amount you get per race, I would say that this one is a must buy, but as is, I’d say that it will appease mostly to the fans of the genre.

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