Motorblast, a Death Rally-style racer from Mad Processor, is now available from the app store. Featuring unlockable vehicles, multiple race types, and a bevy of heavy weaponry, Motorblast provides a fun, albeit pared down, combat racing experience.
- Terrific presentation with detailed backdrops, vehicle damage, and explosive weapons
- Soundtrack is upbeat and fast-paced
- Controls offer tilt and touch options; tilt is quite responsive and offers realistic controls
- Lengthy Campaign and Local Multiplayer option
- GameCenter offers global leaderboards and achievements
- Vehicles are not upgradeable and tracks are somewhat simplistic and lacking in flair
- Short track length and sparse weapon boxes means that one mistake can doom your run
- Could really use online multiplayer
Motorblast contains a lengthy 60-mission Campaign mode, as well as a local Multiplayer option (via wi-fi or Bluetooth). The Campaign spans 7 environments, with about 10 races in each locale of varying type. You can race with No Weapons, Full Race, Gun Only, Goal Run, Boost Race, Full Race, Mine Only, and Treasure Hunt, Time Trial, EMP Only, or Rocket Only. Each race allows you to earn up to 4 stars based on your performance. Collected stars are used to unlock the other five available vehicles. Races seem to be two-lap or three-lap affairs, and the courses are fairly short and lacking any real twists or unique aspects. It’s nice to have this bite-sized style, but one small error or one missed item box will typically put you out of the running for a great finish. When run over, item boxes will start a spinning slot wheel that eventually lands on a weapon or boost that can be utilized by tapping again on the slot wheel. The boxes are reminiscent of the item boxes from Mario Kart or any number of clones, though their regenerative powers are either severely delayed or missing altogether. This often forces you to aim for the outside box as competitors ahead of you will usually nab the ones on the inside track.
Blasting vehicles with weapons causes visible damage, and vehicles can be rendered unusable after a few direct hits. AI eliminations, whether directly affected by your behavior or not, can help you to earn better finishes and more stars, though it does feel a little cheap to come in second simply because you’ve played enough rounds to come across one where two of the AI cars blow themselves up. Unless you happen to pick up a boost or two, a spin-out or explosion is as good as a last place finish. The short track length and time it takes to land on and load a weapon means that you’ll only have a few sparse opportunities to use them anyway. The lack of vehicle upgrades is also disappointing, as the difference between any of the vehicles seems to be more cosmetic than anything else.
The graphics, on the other hand, are quite nice. Environments show great detail and plenty of activity that make the scenery come alive. The vehicle handling feels very good, with just a touch of floatiness that adds to the arcade charm. Vehicle crashes, as well as weapon loading, are examples of smooth and satisfying animations that carry a Transformers-type vibe. Your current positioning is indicated in the upper left corner, and a linear positioning map adorns the center of the screen’s top to give you an idea of how close your competitors are. The soundtrack is upbeat and fast-paced, just like the racing action. Sound effects for fired weapons, revving engines, and exploding cars add a good deal to the presentation. Controls offer touch or tilt to steer the car, with auto-acceleration and manual braking and firing via screen taps. We found the tilt controls to be serviceable and stuck with those for a more realistic driving experience.
Replay value comes from trying to capture all available stars. Additionally, after completing the Campaign, you unlock Infinite mode levels. Local multiplayer is a nice alternative to racing AI cars, but online multiplayer would have been preferred. GameCenter offers leaderboards for best lap times in each of the locales, and there are a handful of achievements to earn, too. A universal app on launch sale for $0.99, Motorblast is an engaging 4-Dimple choice.