Reckless Racing

Posted by Dan Mousavi On October - 28 - 2010

The swedish company Polarbit finally did it and released Reckless racing on Android and Iphone. 4 Months ago they announced that the game is finished and in testing, so let’s take a look if this great looking game can keep it’s promises of being a well balanced racer with cross-plattform multiplayer. We tested the game thoroughly and found some heavy dents in the crown of the new king of top-down racing games on the plattform.

At first glance Reckless racing just looks beautiful, the art department did a wonderful job in bringing the courses to life, the rendered courses have a lot of nature in it, from green trees to small water puddles with nice reflection, the levels distinctively feel like your out on the land, with lush fields that are only broken up with barns and farms. This sets a perfect mood for the hillbilly theme of the game and the vehicles and their drivers do the rest to fully immerse you in the setting.

The sound also follows suit, the tracks composed by Instant remedy with heavy use of banjos fit the game perfectly, but if you don’t like this kind of music, it can get on your nerves pretty quickly. The sound effects are really good, motor sounds and drifting effects are used with attention to detail.

Ok, so the presentation is top notch, but what about the game? Well, that depends on what kind of gamer you are, let’s start with my first impression.
When the game was released I immediately downloaded it and started on the bronze setting. 15 minutes later I have seen everything the game has to offer. The bronze difficulty is pretty easy, a lap wont take longer than 20-30 seconds, so a race is 1-2 minutes long. There are only five courses in the game, which are also available mirrored for a total of 10 courses. Only if you up the difficulty to gold, you will find challenging races, that will take some time to beat. On this difficulty, you will also see the difference in handling the cars, if you can’t beat a level with your chosen car, check the higscore list and you will see, that some are better suited for some courses than others. If you manage to beat all 10 tracks on gold, you supposedly unlock a expert track, which seems to be just the first track Bubbas Garden again with rubble lying on the course.

There is also a delivery mode tacked on, where you drive around a map for a specific time and bring stuff from A to B and receive money. It’s pretty much a boring Crazy Taxi clone and not worth much of your attention at this point. But it shows the potential the developers could unlock with further updates of the game.

Let’s get to the main event, the online cross-plattform multiplayer. Since Skies of Glory showed us earlier this year how great it can be to play against your iPhone Friends, we waited patiently for new multiplayer games to arrive and Reckless racing looked like the hottest candidate for the racing genre. Sadly, this is the area where the game flops completely by ignoring everything that makes multiplayer games fun.

There is nothing worthwile to get in multiplayer, there are no rankings, no progress and since the game lacks an achievement system, there is nothing to do here besides enjoying the race that is in progress. But the races themselves are far from enjoyable. On my very first race I realized that the multiplayer is completely fake, because I clearly placed second with no one in sight and was ranked 3rd. To proof my suspicion I enlisted support from our iPhone user on the team, to show you parallel races, where you can clearly see, that everyone is having a different race and the only constant that is compared is the total racing time.
Here’s another video, where you can clearly see the warping on the right side at the 14 second mark:

Besides from being completely fake, you see cars warping around the course and players get constantly dropped, without them realizing it until 30 seconds have passed.
The only thing that does work, are the Ghosts that you can download in the Hot Lap mode, which would be fun, if I could trust the data. But since the online racing is falsified to get a decent result, I don’t trust them to be accurate and only use them to find shortcuts and tipps without really trying to beat them.

As you can see, Reckless racing is a mixed bag at the moment, while this great racer will satisfy most gamers who just like to play a pretty game for a short while, it will disappoint anyone, who bought it just to play online. But this is something that could be redeemed over time with some updates, a few more courses and a complete overhaul for the online part would make this game an all time classic, because everything else in this game sets a new benchmark for top-down racers on all mobile plattforms. Maybe that’s the reason why we expected more, because when something is this good, we don’t want it to be over so quickly.

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