Version Reviewed: 1.03
App Reviewed on: iPad 2
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Whatever one's feelings are about it, NASCAR has taken the U.S. by storm. Featured on most major TV channels and mentioned on ESPN constantly, it’s pretty hard to avoid. Many NASCAR games have sprung up, riding the wave of that popularity with varied success. Among them is the recent NASCAR: Redline for the iPhone and iPad, which offers a unique twist on NASCAR by turning it into more of a management game rather than the typical racing title.
NASCAR: Redline is a change of pace from every other NASCAR game out there in that most of what a player needs to worry about is managing their car’s upgrades, fine tuning it before the races, and preparing their pit crew. As races are mostly simulated, the game itself cares little about actual racing mechanics. Though there are brief moments where the player is allowed to participate in the race through intermittent quick time events that involve speeding up or slowing down within a short amount of time.
What will bother players is the fact that, while they have to pay for this game, it’s still littered with in-app purchases. Especially for anyone hoping to finish a race in a respectable position. At first, no matter how well players do in the tuning, they'll never qualify for a starting position in the race any higher than 40th out of roughly 43-45 cars. If they have any hope of finishing higher it will require either an egregious amount of grinding or forking over more money. “Researching” new parts for the car takes time, which locks one out of doing much else for the duration. However, players are able to speed up the process through IAPs. This is a great way to discourage many casual players and racing fans alike.
Much of the time players will be looking at an interface where they will manage the strategy for their car, as well as determining when pit stops are made and what will be done at them. It’s almost as though this game is more focused on the management and pit crew side of things rather than the actual racer, despite it treating players as though they're a star rookie driver. It also treats low finishes in races as though players have won the race, which adds the eyebrow-raising.
NASCAR: Redline feels like an experiment in attempting to spread the NASCAR brand through a game that dumbs things down to the lowest common denominator. It seems more like a simulation than a real NASCAR game. This title lacks anything that makes NASCAR appealing to anyone; the thrill of speed, the photo finishes, and the strategy of racing. NASCAR: Redline needs a serious pit stop if its going to convince people to come to the race.