Back when I was a young pup, I dropped more quarters than I care to admit into an arcade game called Super Off Road. It was a top-down dirt-track racer--and one of my all-time favorite coin-ops.
EA's Reckless Racing just rekindled my love affair. It's a top-down dirt-track racer that delivers all the same freewheeling fun--with vastly superior graphics and online multiplayer!
Seriously, I can't remember the last time I fell in love with a game so quickly. Reckless Racing (which should really be called "Redneck" Racing, as that's the clear motif here) is crazy fun, to the point where I keep interrupting my review so I can go back for just one more race.
The game delivers on two major counts: graphics and controls. Reckless Racing is absolutely dazzling, with vibrantly colored cars and tracks that are just shy of photorealistic. And you get to choose from five different control schemes--everything from basic left/right-gas/brake buttons to an onscreen steering wheel ("half" or "full") to accelerometer steering. I'm partial to the buttons, but I am also enamored with "tank" mode (in which your car just goes flat-out the entire time--all you do is steer).
Whatever control option you choose, you'll find absolutely perfect arcade physics. Cars skid and slide and screech around corners (in varying amounts depending on whether you're on gravel or asphalt). If you like drift, you'll love RR.
The game's half-dozen vehicle options include Otis' flame-adorned pickup, Cletus' old army jeep, Floyd's cab truck--you get the idea. As far as I can tell, each car is identical in terms of handling and performance, which makes for a level playing field and a better game--you're battling the track and your driving skills, not the car.
RR offers just five tracks, which does seem a bit limited, though as you progress, you unlock reverse versions of each one. That more or less brings the total to 10, but I'd still love to see EA add some new tracks in a future update. Heck, I'd pay another buck for a track pack.
Single-player options include Dirt Rally (your basic championship mode) and Hot Lap (in which you race for the best single-lap time). Then there's Delivery, which is just like it sounds: you pick up and deliver as many packages as you can in a fixed amount of time (3, 5, or 8 minutes). This takes place on a larger, more open track--and it's a blast.
Of course, any single-player racer gets boring after a while, which is why I'm tickled that RR offers online multiplayer races for up to four players.
A game like this all but begs for a larger screen. Great as Reckless Racing is on the iPhone and iPod ($2.99), it's even better on the iPad ($4.99). You get three extra tracks and the chance to paint your vehicle in custom colors. A tip of my hat to EA for adding extra value to the HD version of the game, instead of just the usual "better graphics."
I'm just going to come out and say it: Reckless Racing is my favorite iOS racing game to date. (It's also available for Android.)