Fury Race is the latest game to show that there’s still some
life to the match-3 genre yet. As the name suggests, this clever game
fuses puzzles with car racing – but those with poor hand-eye
coordination need not be concerned about commanding fast vehicles since
all the driving is handled by the game itself.

Here’s the premise: gamers play as an upcoming street racer who travels to a handful of exotic cities – including London, Paris, New York, Tokyo and Los Angeles – to take on a cast of colorful characters who think they can beat you to the finish line. All of this will be explained to you by the sexy Mini, a tattooed woman dress in a fur hat, fur boots and a short fur coat and not much else underneath besides a stringy red bathing suit.

After you select the car you want to drive from your garage you enter the game screen, which will look familiar to Match-3 gamers. The 8×8 grid lies in the middle of the screen, featuring multicolored “chips” that can be swapped with an adjacent one; as you likely know, the goal is to create a vertical or horizontal line of at least three same-colored chips. When you do this, the chips are then removed from the board to make for new ones.

In Fury Race, however, you’re actually taking turns making matches with your computer-controlled opponent, in an effort to rack up points to fuel your car, which is racing against the opponent at the bottom of the screen. If you perform a few good moves, such as creating a match of four in a row (which also gives you an extra turn), you might see your car pull ahead of your competitor. If you can create matches with the dollar signs, it goes into your bank so you can purchase additional – and faster — cars to race with.

As with most other Match 3 games, power-ups will appear on the board, too, such as one that destroys all chips in a horizontal row or vertical column, or one that blows up nine adjacent chips. But taking turns with an opponent on the same board is a great twist – and you’ll likely find yourself yelling “hey, I was going to make that match!” Even if you make a wrong move by trying to swap two chips that don’t make a match, your turn is over and it’s onto your competitor. Chips that look like broken purple triangles take away from your opponent’s total instead of fueling your car.

Each screen shows the cartoon-like character you’re racing against on the right-hand side while your character is on the left, all the while loud rock n’ roll music plays in the background to help add to the fast and furious driving sensation that’s going on at the bottom of the screen (in a straight line, though).

After you win the race you can buy additional cars in different classes (start with D, move onto C, and so on) for a total of up to 12 vehicles in your showroom. Prior to each race you will likely go with the fastest car out of the bunch. The interface, however, is confusing, so it took me a few minutes to find a hard-to-see arrow that lets you look at and purchase additional cars.

Another beef with the game: if you accidentally click on a chip and decide you want to click on another one instead, there is no “undo” command. Also, I didn’t feel like the game got any harder as I began to work my way through the various cities and take on seemingly tougher opponents.

Even with its shortcomings, Fury Race is a refreshingly fun take on one of the oldest casual game genres. Even if you’re not into cars or racing, fans of Bejeweled et al should at the very least download this demo and take it for a spin.