February 27, 2012 | Andy Boxall
Retro Racing was featured in our recent rundown of forthcoming interesting retro games, and comes from the same developer as Qwak, the excellent iOS platform game that still impresses today.
While Qwak was an Amiga conversion, Retro Racing is an original title (although the developer has experience in writing racing games) and is similar to classic racers such as Super Sprint, Skidmarks and the iPad game PadRacer. The concept is simple, you’re in control of a racing car and must win a series of races.
At first there are three standard cars to choose from, each with slightly different attributes — based on acceleration, tires and speed — with others that become available through in-app purchasing later. There are 12 tracks in all, with six or more opponents on each.
The control system is incredibly simple, with a left and right button and an accelerator and that’s all. There’s no brake, so you just lift off the accelerator to slow down.
Despite its simple concept and retro look, the standard racing game rules remain the same. You need good track designs, realistic and predictable handling and if it’s an arcade game, a good degree of fun. So how does Retro Racing do? It’s a full three-out-of-three.
The circuits start off being wide, easy to learn and very speedy, but rapidly become twistier and more complex, requiring a lot more practice before you start winning. Add in some very inconveniently placed bollards, and surprisingly aggressive competitors and Retro Racing is as much of a challenge as even experienced racers could want.
Steering your car around the track is satisfying, and the controls feel precise, with the tires offering just about the right amount of slip. It’s also far more technical than its simple appearance would have you think, and paying attention to the racing line is important for getting the best possible lap time.
Hitting any of the obstacles or track-side furniture results in a considerable loss of speed, and depending on which car you’re driving, accelerating away is frustratingly slow.
Scattered around the track are various power-ups, providing more top speed, more acceleration, improved grip and a nitro boost. You do need to be very precise when aiming for them though, as just a touch off-center means you won’t get the bonus. Plus, there are several shortcuts which can get your around the track a little quicker, and you aren’t penalized for using them – however the other cars can do exactly the same thing.
Retro Racing is a lot of fun to play, and due to its gently increasing level of difficulty, far more challenging than it first appears.
If Qwak is one of the definitive platformers for the iPhone, then Retro Racing is easily one of the definitive top-down racing games. As soon as the in-app purchasing has been tweaked, then this will gain that all important extra point on its score.
- Cute and colorful graphics.
- Universal for the iPhone and iPad, plus Game Center support.
- A considerable challenge, and one that rewards racing skill and knowledge of the tracks.
- It’s a shame the extra cars have to be purchased rather than earned, and we’re not alone in thinking this, as according to the iTunes page, an update will alter this aspect of the game.