One of the App Store’s finest racers gets a glorious second outing
Reckless Racing 2 For iPhone : We love the original Reckless Racing, especially on the iPad. A year and a half on it remains our favourite top-down racer on the platform. With that in mind, we were thrilled when the sequel arrived, although said thrill lasted approximately ten minutes.
What had Polarbit done to its great racing series? The cars now handled like buses, weighed down with extra buses strapped precariously to the top. The tracks appeared to be joyless, zoomed-out, generic affairs – a far cry from the madcap circuits in the original game. And in place of the original’s simplicity: cash-oriented car upgrades (with, of course, optional IAP for extra in-game money); grinding bog-standard electronic music; track-side crowds! It was like someone had sucked the character out of the original game, shoved its soulless carcass through a focus-group grinder, and left the result polished but featureless on the App Store floor.
Disappointed, but undeterred, we played on. Surely, the game we loved was lurking in there somewhere, desperate to get out? Sure enough, the flavour of the original Reckless Racing slowly revealed itself. After a couple of hours’ racing an bolting on a bunch of upgrades, the handling started to resemble the exciting arcade drifting of the original game; new sections of the tracks opened up, revealing some exciting twisty-turny routes, and the career mode gave us something to aim for, beyond merely winning single races and posting great times.
In fact, about half-way through the game, we had to admit that this sequel’s structure is a major improvement. Career mode adds depth to the game, and also enables you to get a grip on how to play it. Early races might be dull, but they at least train you to have a fighting chance at beating the toughest racers on the trickiest circuits. And once you’ve upgraded your car and given it a speed boost, you won’t notice the lack of personality in the tracks, because you’ll be too busy trying to avoid smashing your car to pieces. Our only real disappointment with the offered modes was the lack of local multiplayer.
So were we converted? Not entirely. We have to admit that this game perhaps has more mainstream appeal than its predecessor, and it’s certainly a more polished. But we really likec the rawness and character of Reckless Racing — it’s one of the things that made it truly stand out amonst the App Store grid.