Developer: Invictus Games
Price: $3.99
Version: 1.1
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Auto racing is unique in that it’s one of the few sports that have many different permutations that are all competitive at the professional level. Whether it be Formula One, NASCAR, or high performance sports cars, there’s more than enough variety to suit any gearhead’s fancy. The yearly Race of Champions competition is the one event each year that unites all of these drastically different styles of racing on the same track. Invictus Games has tried to replicate this experience while simultaneously taking their second whack at the franchise on iOS. Is Race of Champions World the rebirth the competition needs, or is this another case of an unnecessary annual release?

This time out it seems that the team over at Invictus took to heart criticisms of the previous installment’s visual performance, because almost every aspect of the graphical presentation appear to be an order of magnitude better. Only in a couple of rare occasions does a skyscraper tear onto the horizon; otherwise, the textures look crisp and the color palette is surprisingly vibrant. Framerates hold steady as well, helping further lend to the immersive qualities of the environments.

Many of the tracks included in the game such as London, Beijing and Paris are facsimiles of real circuits that have been used in previous ROC events. Along the same lines of authenticity, vehicles from Volkswagen, Artega and Škoda Motorsport have also been licensed for use in the game. Ever wanted to take a racecar through an off-road dirt track after a torrential downpour? Now players will get that odd opportunity, along with many other bizarre combinations.

With all of these factors working in its favor, Race of Champions World still falls flat on the linchpin of the entire experience: the actual racing. By virtue of each competitor being segregated on their own portion of the track, it is hard to get any real sense of competition that other head-to-head games provide. Most times races end up feeling like glorified time trials against ghost runs of other players. For the very same reason, multiplayer has a similar boring feel that is hard to pinpoint, other than to say that it is apparent that nothing is actually happening in real time.

Race of Champions World is a well put together game that manages to unite many otherwise disparate ends of the auto racing spectrum, under the same title. Though the quality of the visuals cannot be questioned, the feeling of actually competing against someone else is missing. This is a fun world to play around in, but at the end of the day it isn’t going to provide the adrenaline hit that racing fans so desperately need.

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