Pixelbite’s Reckless Racing turned out to be a highly polished and fun little racer with a hillbilly overtone. The sequel takes the game to the next level and makes the original feel rather understated.
Reckless Racing 2 completely retunes the idea of the game, making it more of a true racer with proper tracks interspersed with roads and dirt track races. At first I felt that it had lost something in the lack of a theme to the whole game, something I praised the original for, but after a good play around with all the modes the sequel shows that it means business.
So now, in place of the more simplistic racer, we have a career mode that feels like it means business, upgrading to gain an advantage and challenges that will really test your mettle. The game has proper cup challenges and even a class system mirroring games like Forza and Gran Turismo, only allowing you to enter certain cups with the right kind of car.
Difficulty levels are pitch perfect as you make your way through the career. Initially tracks are easy to race on and the AI takes it easy, allowing you to get a feel for the car and the handling. The game keeps a track of how well you’re doing and adjusts the difficulty accordingly. But more than this, the upgrading system is integral to progressing and beating your opponents. It’s not quite as comprehensive as some racers, but there are enough options to keep you tinkering with the car and adding bits as you win award money.
Early races will feel a lot slower to the more skilled driver, but about half way through the game the handling and the tracks come together to create some teeth gritting situations. With more powerful cars and some really twisty tracks the latter half of the career mode is certainly worth experiencing.
Testing the multiplayer was less impressive, though. It worked and once in a race there’s definitely some fun to be had here, but the match making and connection weren’t exactly the most robust that I’ve ever seen. It’s not broken by any means, but it feels like it can be improved.
Handling is vastly improved in line with the new focus on more realistic races. The car feels weighty and skids around different surfaces as you’d expect it to, the back flying out on dirt tracks or sticking to tarmac on roads. The controls feel tighter and there really seems to be more of an element of skill involved in making it round some of the hairpins without hitting the side of the wall. It may, however, put some players off as the handling does require some time to get used to, especially coming straight of the back of more arcade titles and this is where the game may split opinion.
Some amazing HD graphics also lend a hand to the look and feel of the game, tracks are beautifully presented and well thought out in design, even the menu system is a joy to use. For those who miss the old country look there’s even a set of the old tracks to play on, albeit tarted up in line with the rest of the game. Unfortunately, this seems to have an adverse affect on an iPod Touch 4G I tested the game on, though the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 handled it perfectly without a fault.
Although there are a plethora of top down racers on the App Store right now, I’d stick my neck out and say that Reckless Racing 2 is the best one out there, hands down, and will be for some time to come. Pixelbite have really nailed it with this one.
- Sound: 8
- Graphics: 9
- Gameplay: 9
- Longevity: 9
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