Reckless Racing is a top-down racer that pays homage to classics like Super Sprint and Micro Machines. On the iPad Reckless Racing is a great example of how exactly this kind of game should be done. So does the Mac version hold up to the high standards set by it’s previous mobile incarnation? Well… yes and no.
The in-game graphics are really, really nice. Transparent reflective water flows through streams below beautifully rendered bridges. Rays of sunlight peek through stands of tall gorgeous trees. Dust kicks up under your car’s tires as you power through nine widely varied tracks ranging from a snow covered frozen lake to a run down department-store parking lot. Everything looks great, but unfortunately there is no way to change the screen resolution from 1024×768: The game just stretches to fill the monitor if you choose to play full screen and there is no antialiasing to relieve the jagged edges.
Reckless Racing Gameplay
Sound is pretty darn nice. The banjo music that plays through the in-game action fits the game’s southern-fried theme well. The engine roars as you accelerate, strain up steep hills and sputter out when you let off the gas drifting around turns. A muffled screech can be heard as your tires dig into the cement after leaving a dirt road. The sound overall reveals a nice attention to detail. Unfortunately someone on the dev team thought it would be whimsical to add a “yaa-hoo” whenever your car flies of the road. It’s a little annoying.
The controls are dead on. Steering is responsive, with just enough play to convey a sense of weight to the vehicles without floating off the road. Cars drift into corners painlessly, often bumping over a traffic cone or chunk of railing. You can also choose between the tighter novice controls and expert ones, which allow for more drift. I highly recommend expert, which is how the game really should be played. But newcomers may find the more forgiving novice handling a good introduction. Unfortunately there is no customisation of the control layout, and no gamepad support is to be found: a glaring omission considering this is an arcade racer that just screams to have arcade style controls.
The game has several play modes: Dirt Rally is the standard racing mode where you win races to unlock new tracks. Of course there are only nine tracks so there is really not a whole lot to unlock. What is there is very good though. There is a Bronze, Silver, and Gold cup for each track. Hot Lap challenges for you to … you guessed it – burn up the tracks as quickly as possible. It links up to the online leaderboards so you can compare yourself to other players. In Delivery you are given a set amount of time to pick up and deliver as many packages as you can before the clock runs out. It is a lot of fun, but is unfortunately cut short by featuring only one map to play on. Internet multiplayer is basic but mostly gets the job done. They thoughtfully added a chat box so players can talk smack in between races, however fairly regular lagging makes racing kind of difficult: At times I thought I had won a race by a fairly large margin only to come up second or third on the leaderboard. Sometimes my car would warp from place to place causing me to career off the road.
The menu system suffers from iPoditus. To change tracks you have to point at the track window and drag until you find the track you would like to race on. This works really well on a touch device, but with a mouse it is clunky and annoying. Sometimes the porting team missed changing the wording in the menus so there are places where the game requests you to “touch to continue”. Oddly the menu artwork is in a crude retro 16-bit style that does not match the detailed 3d graphics used in-game.
For every great thing about Reckless Racing there is some small nagging problem that takes the edge off what should be a brilliant game. Don’t get me wrong: Reckless Racing is definitely a darn good racer. If you like old-fashioned top-down racing this is the one to get. It’s just that this game would have just been downright amazing if just a little more time had been spent porting this iPad gem over to the Mac’s big screen.
Price: $3.99 (£3.99)
Description: A Top-down Wannabe-Retro Racer
Pros: Fun, nice graphics, car physics are well done, detailed sound.
Cons: Controls cannot be reconfigured, low resolution graphics when in full screen.