Developer: Paladin Studios
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.0.9
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

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

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Having made remote control cars for the past 55 years, the Nikko name has been transferred to iOS courtesy of Nikko RC Racer. It’s a fun title for a time, but it’s a little too shallow for extended play.

nikkorcracer6Nine tracks are bundled with the game, each themed around the same charming park. There’s not a huge amount to explore despite the suggestion that each landscape is huge, given that players are confined to the checkpoints that dictate their success in the race. Sure, it’s possible to deviate but that’s not really keeping to the idea. However, a sandbox style mode to explore would have been a great touch here. Each of the tracks might feel a bit samey, but as they offer numerous ramps to leap over, it would have been fun to do this in one’s own time.

A new track is unlocked after playing through the last one, with the basic structure focused on beating a previous leaderboard time or one set by a friend. Facebook connectivity plays a major role here in terms of encouragement and sending challenges. It’s possible to share video replays too.

nikkorcracer7Controls are suitably varied, with the choice of tilt based, virtual buttons or sliding controls that I really wouldn’t recommend. Most comfortable of all were the virtual buttons, although tilt felt more accurate for using a remote control car. While up to 10 cars can be unlocked, I struggled to spot a difference in terms of handling, despite the stats suggesting otherwise.

These cars are unlocked in an interesting manner, though, in that some can be acquired through buying actual Nikko cars and using a code that comes bundled with them. It’s all very like Skylanders and potentially quite useful. It’s also possible to pay out $2.99 to unlock them all at once.

While that might be clever, though, Nikko RC Racer is really quite a basic game. Focusing on the racing side of things rather than the fun tricks and moves that can be done with a RC car just isn’t that exciting. There might be a selection of power-ups to collect but these are almost immediately forgettable.

It’ll take less than 20 minutes to check out all the tracks and cars and that’s pretty much it. For free, there’s no great financial investment but I wouldn’t recommend unlocking cars, unless it’s done so through the acquisition of physical cars. It’s just not really worth it.

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