Developer: Night Vision
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4S
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Moon Track Racing feels like a crazy experiment constantly on the verge of collapse. Even when it does work the experience is far from comfortable. And yet, when everything clicks, the sense of creative exploration feels almost like a real moon landing.
Moon Track Racing shares most of its features with the original Excitebike on the NES. It’s a racing game with over a dozen pre-made tracks to race bots on. However, there’s no Grand Prix mode or any real progression to be made. Instead, players are meant to focus on creating their own tracks with the robust level editor. With loops, curves, and gaps at their disposal players can make anything from the easiest straightaways to tracks that are virtually unwinnable. Only the layout can be customized, though. There’s no way of changing the stark, "2001" style 3D lunar vistas or the pulsing club music. These parts do their job just fine though. The cars that look like space pods with wheels are a particularly nice detail.
It’s fun to play in Moon Track Racing's sandbox, but unfortunately that box is kind of broken. While the floating physics and odd collision detection make some sense for the environment, cars still tend freak out, randomly fall into the void, or swerve out of control. Pressing a button in the corner instantly resets the player’s position and while that sounds like it would make things too easy, it’s a shame how often players will need to press it. Simple actions like steering or accelerating feel disjointed and barely functional at times. Even outside of the races scrolling through menus is slow and full of weird, awkward pauses. If the real moon landing had to fight through so many obstacles, no wonder it had to be faked.
Still, Moon Track Racing's obvious technical issues rarely make it frustrating. Instead, they give it this rough, funny charm. Besides, the dark side of the moon is the side worth going too.