Happy Racing is a game bordering on a form of stress relief. It’s such a blood thirsty racing game, you’re going to feel a weird sense of satisfaction as you progress. Simultaneously, you’re also going to be frustrated when you don’t quite nail the physics just so which is bound to add to your stress levels. Confused? Yup, Happy Racing is quite a heady mix of different things. But for the most part, you’ll enjoy your time with it.
At its heart, Happy Racing is a game about survival. You control a wheel based character as they go from start to finish as quickly as possible. That sounds like a typical racing game, but the difference here is that the obstacles are fairly gory. Race too fast and you can end up in a fiery pit, or head first into some spikes. Clip the side of a platform with your head and you can lose your head or a limb. Opting for a somewhat politically incorrect angle when it comes to character choices, Happy Racing is very much a tongue in cheek affair. That’s immediately obvious when you can choose to control a guy in a wheelchair or an old man in a mobility scooter. The best part? Each has their own set of advantages and disadvantages such as strength over speed, or the ability to flip faster.
It’s fun, too. Lots of fun at times. Controls are a matter of holding one finger down to accelerate while you tilt your phone to lean forwards or backwards. When in the air, this can have a significant effect to how you land. A button-based control method might have been welcome here, but the tilt controls aren’t overly twitchy, so you should always feel in charge. There’s no problem when it comes to looking silly in public either, as you won’t need to tilt too harshly or too quickly.
Each level only takes at most 30 seconds, but oftentimes is much quicker. Happy Racing is ripe for short bursts of gaming. Things start out fairly simple, with the difficulty curve being quite smooth rather than overly intimidating. As is the way with such games of this ilk, practice makes perfect, and it shows here. It might be easy enough to earn three stars on early levels but you’ll soon find yourself needing to repeat sessions in order to unlock new levels.
Alongside that straightforward unlock system is a reasonably generous side helping of purchasable characters. On the one hand, you can earn coins regularly by simply playing the game and eventually unlock new characters that way. On the other, you can always skip ahead by throwing some money at the problem. Happy Racing does this in a fairly unobtrusive way. Frequently you’re given the chance to ‘try out’ a new character, giving you the opportunity to see how it feels. It’s a good way of doing things and, if you’re lucky, you’ll fly through some levels based on this generosity.
Combine all those elements together and Happy Racing is pretty fun. It’s not the smartest game out there but there’s a rugged charm to it. Its physics engine is well designed, and you’ll enjoy seeing how different vehicles react to different scenarios. The promise of new levels each month should keep you coming back for more too. Simply put, it’s a lot of fun.