Drag Racing lets you tinker with your car to best the competition
As a 34 year old man I can pretty confidently say I’ve both been playing games my entire life and that the videogame industry basically started when I did. So when I play a new game and instantly start thinking about the games in the past, it’s not because I think it’s derivative. Far from it. It’s just that I know games are about iteration, and building on what came before. That’s a long way to say that I both enjoy Drag Racing for what it is and where it came from.
I’ve never ever been a fan of virtual steering wheels on touch screen devices, there just needs to be some sort of tactile interaction to get the feeling of steering. Hence, for the most part I avoid driving games like the plague. Drag Racing ditches the pesky “steering” part from their game, and just has you concentrate on slamming the gas and switching gears. While it makes the control super easy it also stays in the realm that serves it best… simple and easy.
Here’s how every single race plays out. Racers at the starting line. Tap the gas pedal to start the countdown and watch for the flag girl to drop the flag. As soon as she does slam down the gas pedal, then get your thumbs over the shift up and down buttons. Watch the RPM’s, and shift up when you need to. Tap the nitrous (if you have it), and continue shifting. First across the line wins. That’s it.
Your time is based heavily on the type of car you have and what’s under the hood. You also increase your performance by hitting perfectly timed shifts and being best off the starting line. Of course, it’s a 12 second drag race so there’s only so much you can do. Luckily if you get blown out the race is over before you know it, so you can just go again. And again. And again.
The game pegs that weird part of the brain that just makes you always want to do one more race. If you lose you want to go one more to end on a high note. When you win you want to duplicate it because you’re oh so close to picking up enough victory cash for that new upgrade you want.
In between races you’ll upgrade your ride (or buy a new one) with money won by winning drags. Engine, tires, turbo, etc. Paying money upgrades stats like horsepower, weight or grip. There’s no fine tuning the cars, just upgrades. It’s all kept simple for us non-gearheads. I don’t want to spend hours tinkering with differential or whatever a car does when I make it go.
You’ll have a nice spread of options for how you want to race, and who against. You can race offline against different difficulty levels of AI, or you can do a quick race online where you take on someone’s ghost time. This is nice since you don’t have to hope someone else is waiting to find a racer online, you race against a real person’s saved time and they set it up to look like a real race. Your third choice is to actually race against real people, where they throw you in a lobby with 10 other people and you see who gets the best overall time.
I did have an issue or two that I’d be remiss to not mention. The game right now likes to employ what I like to call the “get right in the way” ads structure similar to Angry Birds on the Android, and it’s just an eyesore to have them popup right over something you’re trying to look at.
The game also employs a premium currency called “Race Points,” or RP, that you need for some upgrades. You can earn a small amount in game, but they push you to earn more by clicking ads or having you pay cash. It’s a freemium page right out of the Facebook playbook, and it’s the sort of thing you’re already going to love or hate.
This game bought back some cherry memories from my childhood, which I’m sure served in no small way to help my overall enjoyment of this game. First up was Dragster for the Atari 2600, who’s entire gameplay experience was based around pressing up to drive and hitting a button to shift. The other one was a game called Street Rod 2 that came out in 1990 where you buy, drag race, and upgrade muscle cars in the 60’s. There’s no way I could possibly put a number on how many hours my brother and I spent playing that game, still makes me smile to think about it.
Drag Racing is a game with a simple premise and plays out as such. It’s a nice little time waster with a light upgrade scheme and lots of different opponent options. While each race plays out pretty much the same way and there’s not much of variety at the end of the day, it’s still plenty of fun.