App Reviewed on: iPad
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Split/Second was originally a pretty innovative console racer from Disney Interactive. I enjoyed playing it when it first came out, and I was excited to see an iOS version pop up. Environmental destruction, wrecking other cars, and speeding around curves are staples for the franchise, but the big question is, how well did it all translate to iOS. There are certainly a few kinks, but the bulk of the experience is still alive and well on the portable platform.
Split/Second lets racers choose from several different vehicles, modes, and courses to race on. The main portion of the game is a career mode that allows players to earn points for competing in a variety of events (races, airstrike, demolition, detonator). With enough points, new courses are unlocked in career and quick play modes. The innovative portion of the game is that players can destroy certain parts of the course by triggering explosives. When pulled off correctly, this can cause some major wrecks and ultimately change the outcome of the race. The only drawback is that when a player wrecks, there is a short load screen before getting back into the action. There are also online and local multiplayer modes to round out the package.
The game’s graphics are pretty impressive, but they do look a little aliased at times (jaggy). On the plus side, vehicles and backdrops remain at a steady framerate even during intense wrecks and explosions. The soundtrack is a little bland, but the sound effects really shine. I didn’t know my iPad was capable of producing the kinds of engine noises and explosive sounds that Disney has put into Split/Second. The one major hang up in the game, though, is the lack of control options. Players are limited to tilt controls for steering, and the brake and detonator buttons only have a few settings. I would’ve liked to see a more customizable HUD, and some type of non-tilt steering. It is really hard to go around curves, and the braking is sensitive; the controls just feel exaggerated.
Even with the limited controls Split/Second still manages to entertain. There’s just something special about a racing game that lets players cause so much mayhem and chaos on the tracks. Plenty of other arcade racers with more solid controls are available on the app store, but few of them offer the unique, destructive gameplay experience that the Split/Second franchise does. It might not be the best arcade racer from a technical standpoint, but Split/Second offers plenty of incentive to warrant a purchase.