Developer: Chillingo LTD
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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Chillingo’s Race Illegal has been greeted with a mix of excitement and cynicism. With parent EA owning two other major iOS racing franchises where does Race Illegal fit?
There are a solid variety of racing challenges from multi car circuits, to damage-free runs, to drift challenges.The main action takes place in a story-driven career mode. Here players can adopt an avatar and watch some so-bad-you-have-to-stare conversation from the street racers before getting behind the wheel. After some successful racing in Career, Quick Races begin to unlock for those who prefer a more pick-up-ad-play dynamic.
The car selection is limited, but allows for a decent amount of in-car tweaking from color and decal to more important performance enhancements like better handling and faster acceleration. Race Illegal offers leaderboards, 29 Crystal and Game Center achievements as well as many Crystal-only challenges.
The controls are excellent – there are several manual settings, but accelerometer play is easy with extremely responsive cars. The animation is good too, and the roadsters take on a lot of visible damage, which is always gratifying. However, while the graphics are solid, we've seen better in recent racing releases.
The dashboard has some neat items like a working rear-view, great multi-view mini-maps of the race, and all the standard view points while a swipe up unleashes a nitro boost. Newcomers to iOS racing should enjoy this, but for those who have played the big franchise titles there is nothing new on offer. The tracks are long with vast straightaways and no hairpin or hair-raising turns, at least not into into class B. The tracks are so simple, in fact, I haven’t needed the break once.
The most unrealistic feature - detracting from the whole package - is the rubber banding: no matter how badly I’d crash the other cars seemed to just hover, waiting for me to catch up. In the end, success is less about driving skill and more about upgrading the car to its fullest potential so it can’t be defeated in its division.
The game defaults to an external cinematic view when a racer jumps while nitro-powered. It’s cool visually, but drivers have no control over the vehicle during that time, which means landing can often be face-to-face with an oncoming semi. The developers at Apetrus have reported that the slo-mo view will have an off switch in a planned update and a multiplayer mode is in the works.
Race Illegal isn’t going to drop jaws, but its a solid racer thats a lot of fun to play. And the branding - Chillingo - is a good choice. This is a racer that looks arcade, but plays casual enough for all skill levels to enjoy. At $.99 for a universal title, it’s worth adding to a racing fan’s collection.