Thanks in no small part to the massive popularity of Android & iOS devices there are an incalculable amount of games available to download. However, high quality AAA titles are few and far between. Reckless Racing is one of the excellent titles available from developer Polarbit.
You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand what Reckless Racing is, the title pretty much says it all. Apparently the thing that hilly billy stereotype loves to do more than anything else is race around windy dirt roads, upsetting the neighbours, annoying the wildlife and generally being a nuisance in pursuit of a trophy.
Before you even begin your country hick ascension to rally heaven you’ll have to enter your personal details in order to create an account with the game. Having an account allows tracking of all your best racing times for comparison in the world rankings, as well as letting you play online multiplayer (which we’ll get to later.) Right now lets talk about the juicy graphics.
Visually the game is something a throwback; a top down racer reminiscent of games like Micro Machines and Destruction Derby. Straight off the starting block the game already has some nostalgic appeal. At the same time its graphics are detailed and clear, making the game stand out among other racing games available for download. It’s not the most graphically impressive game on Android but I’m sure many people will appreciate the detail in scenery.
Reckless Racing has multiple game modes to choose from, all modes we’ve seen before in any racing game but the scenario gives it an interesting twist. Hot Laps lets you race against your ghost cars, adding a bit of longevity if you are that intent on improving your score, and Dirt Rally pits you against 5 other A.I opponents. The final game mode is Delivery Service, which (as you might expect) requires you to pick up and drop off as many packages as possible in the given time on the track.
As for the gameplay, it’s really fun and addictive for such a simple game. Simplicity makes it much more appealing especially with it’s easy to use control scheme and multiple ways in which to customise the steering method. You can even use your mobile phone’s built-in accelerometer to steer your hilly billy automobiles by tilting, if that’s your thing. For a touchscreen game the controls are impressively responsive and it won’t take long before you’re entranced. Which hillbilly hero you choose to be isn’t all that important as the six different characters available to choose from don’t seem to have any noticeable advantage over each other in terms of speed, acceleration or control. The one area in which your decisions really matter is when choosing your car. These range from trucks, buggies and mustangs, each with their own way of handling, providing a real challenge during each race.
There’s no vehicle damage unfortunately, so if you get smashed into a hay bail, or through somebody’s backyard, your car will remain in pristine condition. Should you crash you’ll simply respawn and if you are psychic you can even use the dedicated respawn button located in the top right of the screen before you crash to save a little time.
As you progress through 5 relatively diverse dirt tracks the difficulty increases and, once mastered, all tracks can be played in reverse, which is a welcome old school feature. If you get bored slipping and sliding around the same courses over and over again, and don’t mind spending a few extra pennies, you can download extra tracks from your friendly neighbourhood android market as well.
As previously mentioned this Deliverance-like racer delivers online multiplayer that accommodates four players, which is admirable considering the lack of mobile games with competitive online play. It’s easy to set up and host a game, as well as join somebody else’s with the inclusion of lobbies and server lists. There’s even the always welcome game chat feature to amuse you while you wait. Obviously it’s not going to be as stable as a console game and on phones with a lower level CPU you may encounter some slow down or even freeze ups but don’t hold that against Reckless Racing. It’s refreshing to see these kind of features in mobile game.
Reckless Racing is a high quality Android game that puts a smile on your face with its tongue-in-cheek hilly billy approach accompanied by a bluegrass theme and fun sound effects. Although having said that, I found the sound effects amusing for a while, but eventually had to mute them. Unfortunately no matter how much I tapped the screen I was unable to unmute the sound, which made me sad and also feel stupid(er.)
Graphics: 4/5- High quality visuals for a mobile game with some detailed race tracks and a fun atmosphere.
Sound: 3/5- The bluegrass music can be annoying at times but only if you play Reckless Racing too much (which you might do, given the game’s pick up and playability.)
Gameplay: 3/5- The gameplay is fun, well thought out and full of surprises, especially if you choose to play in advanced mode, which will have cars flying through fences and through the farmers market… if you don’t learn to master the controls.
Longevity: 2/5- Only 5 tracks and 3 game modes are available in the basic package which isn’t amazing. Those same courses can be done in reverse once you have mastered them, but this fails to provide ample satisfaction. Thankfully the online multiplayer goes some way towards making up for that.
Overall: 3.5 Toothless Mouths out of 5
The top down style of racing proves what potential the mobile platform can have. It may not have a lot of content, but Reckless Racing is engaging, visually impressive and a steal at £1.27. Conclusion: download it.