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Reckless Racing 2 Review
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Reckless Racing 2, Polarbit and Pixelbite’s sequel to their popular top-down backwoods arcade racer, is now available on the app store, as well as the Android market. Improving upon nearly every aspect of the original and including a load of new features, Reckless Racing 2 promises to be a huge hit among racing fans.

Reckless Racing 2 Pros:

  • Finely-detailed environments
  • Adrenaline-fueled soundtrack
  • Multiple, customizable control schemes
  • Nice variety of game modes, vehicles, and upgrades
  • Online multiplayer
  • GameCenter integration for global leaderboards and achievements

Reckless Racing 2 Cons:

  • Loose car physics can take some getting used to
  • Faced some troubles getting an online match going

It won’t take long to notice that the latest iteration has a more grown-up, serious tone. The powerslides, varied terrains, and awesome visuals remain intact, but the overbearing hillbilly aesthetic and backwoods feel have hit the road. Reckless Racing 2 offers a great deal more content and plenty of customizable aspects to allow each gamer to fine tune things to his liking. Eighteen vehicles of all shapes and sizes are available over the course of play, and each are upgradeable with respect to speed, acceleration, and handling via purchase of various car parts using money earned for successful racing. You earn the most money in Career mode, which is the focus of the gaming. In this mode, you work through the 24 included tracks by racing in a dozen Cups, which feature a varying number of races with differing objectives. In one race, you may be aiming to finish first, while another race tasks you with shooting for the best single lap time among all racers. Still others are run Elimination-style, where the last racer across the finish line of each lap is removed from the track until only one remains. Each is run in succession and point totals are assigned based on your finishing position. Upon completion, your totals from all races are aggregated to give you a final score, so a poor performance on one track will not ultimately doom your entire cup. The higher you score, the more money you earn and more quickly you can upgrade your cars or purchase new ones.

Arcade mode offers 40 challenges where you are assigned a specific vehicle (even if you don’t own them yet) with pre-determined attributes on a certain track. You complete the challenge and unlock the next if you can finish in the top 3, with gold star honors going to the racer who finishes first. Single Event allows you to race any vehicle that you own on any track that you’ve unlocked. Multiplayer lets you go online and take on human racers for an exciting challenge. The AI also puts up a decent fight, too, as the game’s dynamic difficulty adjusts the non-human racers to perform better or worse in order to keep up with the gamer’s skill level. There are even a few helpful assists included, such as a faint green line that shows the optimal path to follow. This is a godsend for newbies who find themselves easily confused by the multiple pathways featured on the tracks. Despite being blocked by cones, it can be easy to take the wrong route in the heat of a close race. The racing itself is very similar to the first iteration, with fairly loose controls offering a wacky and fun experience as you attempt to send opponents careening off-track while avoiding pits, cliffs, and other obstacles that threaten to send you to the back of the pack.

Graphically, the environments show even sharper detail than before, and objects like cones and concrete barriers have an appropriate weight and feel that impact racing in realistic ways. The makeshift spirit of laying down chalk markings to create a track in the middle of nowhere has been replaced by more traditional courses, though a few dusty dirt roads are mixed in for good measure. Spinning your tires in dirt will send up dust clouds, while scraping large boulders will send sparks flying. Animations ran smooth as can be, and the loss of bits like the lap number and time that accompanied cars in the original make for a cleaner experience. The audio is also improved, eschewing the banjo for a more traditional, beat-thumping soundtrack. We don’t miss the ear-splitting redneck yowls, either. The controls offer left and right arrows with acceleration and brake buttons by default, but you can also switch to half wheel, full wheel, tank, or tilt controls, as well as adjust aspects like auto gas and sensitivity. If you don’t like the positioning of certain controls, you also have the ability to move them around. No matter how you slice it, you should find some combination of controls that works for you.

Replay value is great, as the career mode is lengthy, the number of cars and possible upgrades is plentiful, the arcade challenges are fun, and the multiplayer option allows you to take on your buddies and leave the AI in your rearview. GameCenter leaderboards and a small number of achievements also give you something to work toward. A universal release for $4.99 on both iOS and Android, Reckless Racing 2 is a 4.5-Dimple champ.

Reckless Racing 2 Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2012-02-03T01:06:39+00:00 rating 4.5 out of 5

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