For all the racing-survival-retro-gamer fans out there, have we got the game for you. After a bit of brief fanfare, the folks who are nocanwin have released Cubed Rally Racer, a new isometric race-as-long-as-you-can game for iPhone and iPod touch. A sweet combination of random track generation, old-school graphics, and irresistible “race again” temptation make this a fun title that keeps fresh try after try.
Cubed Rally Racer Pros:
- Exciting retro feel
- Simple controls but challenging to master
- Random track generation leading to huge replay value
- Tons of unlockable content
- OpenFeint challenges including opponent ghost cars
Cubed Rally Racer Cons:
- No soundtrack
- Start of race countdown interrupts replay fluidity
The premise of Cubed Rally Racer is to guide the tiny hero car through tumultuous terrain from start to finish as fast as possible. Additionally, racers need to collect fuel along the way or risk running out. Turning this simple goal into a nail biting task are various obstacles just waiting to throw clumsy racers off course. Running into any of these obstacles wrecks your car something fierce. And then there is the ever-so-easy mistake of misjudged speed and steering that will hurtle our hero over the edge of these suspended tracks. Fortunately, there were enough fun items to keep our interest too. Jumps, bridges, and high-octane fuel cans all amount to the right amount of boost to get you through sticky situations.
What makes the game so much fun is the random generation of tracks. Much like survival genre favorite Canabalt, Cubed Rally Racer’s courses are different each time they’re played. So, one version of a level 7 race could have cows moving across the road, while another has a lifting drawbridge, while still another contains sections of gophers and ponds needing to be avoided. There are 99 total sections with 40 needing to be unlocked. Unlocking a section rests on collecting XP points. These are time-based points awarded at the completion of each track. There are also six OpenFeint achievements which players can collect.
Graphics are outstandingly elementary for the type of retro gaming harnessed in Cubed Rally Racer. A singular isometric viewing angle is displayed throughout the entire game. This makes the upcoming course sections obscured from vision and keeps players guessing as to what dangers await. Sounds are appropriately 8-bit, yet currently consist only of engine roar and the occasional menu button tap effect. iPod music can be played in the background but we really would like nocanwin to provide a funky 8-bit soundtrack to compliment and energize the experience. Another suggestion we have is the removal of the 3-2-1-Go countdown as the beginning of each retry. This wait period before the accelerator activates interrupts fluid continuous replayability.
Controls are dead simple, consisting only of two right-left arrows for steering and an accelerator pedal. Players will quickly find, however, that simple controls do not always lead to simple control. What we mean is that keeping the car on track can be a challenge due to a near zero degree turning radius and a mean drifting tendency. Mastering the controls is worth the time as this will get you through the course quicker awarding more XP points.
Replay value is huge with the regenerated tracks. Nocanwin boasts thousands of track combinations. Plus, via integrated OpenFeint, players can challenge each other to beat their highscores. And they can even see their opponent’s ghost car along the way. Even in basic play, your best time ghost car is visible. Nocanwin brings a checkered flag winner to the App Store with Cubed Rally Racer. We are having a blast with it and unhesitatingly grant it our 5-Dimple rating.
Cubed Rally Racer: A Survival Racer With Flare To Spare,