Can this latest mobile movie tie-in get off the starting grid?
As we all know by now, the only way to approach the arrival of a mobile game movie tie-in is to adopt an air of healthy, world-weary cynicism. It's an approach that was certainly justified by the recent greedy antics of The Croods, while not even a venerated cinema masterpiece of yesteryear is safe from being converted into one of the worst mobile games of all time.
Fast & Furious 6 is out in the cinemas very shortly, and so the now-obligatory mobile game of the same name screeches in ahead of time to provide some much needed publicity. Here's the thing though - this particular movie franchise game is actually rather good, although the usual freemium caveats apply.
This is a racer that owes a great deal to the likes of CSR Racing. For the most part, races consist of very carefully timed gear-shifting - as the needle approaches red, you need to flick the shift-stick upwards with precision timing. Catch the timing just right and you'll not only squeak ahead of your dueling partner, you'll also get a nice little cash bonus to put towards your engine upgrades.
If that all sounds a little too familiar, rest assured there is more to this particular game. Developer Kabam has added a satisfying drift mechanic to freshen things up in Fast & Furious 6. In certain courses, you'll come across light blue boxes which indicate the start of a spectacular slide, and you'll again have to tap with perfect timing to make the most of these moments, and keep the drift going until the end-point is reached.
What about the actual racing courses in the game? Throughout the impressively rendered London raceways, you can choose to take part in laddered drift and drag challenges that increase in difficulty, or just work your way through the story of the game. Daily races provide an extra juicy chunk of change, and you're going to need that money if you're to stay competitive on the road with upgrades, not to mention setting fastest times online. All things considered, there's an enjoyable amount of variety on offer here.
There are negatives to this freemium game, of course. As with CSR Racing you can't just enjoy the game as you wish, and a fuel meter (topped up over time, or by spending cash - natch) slowly depletes with each race attempt. Rare premium currencies are needed for acquiring new cars, and you'll have to grind out a fair bit of cash to keep your vehicles upgraded. You'll also have to suffer some predictably excruciating gangland, race-culture dialogue dreamt up by middle-management executives getting down with the kids, dawg.
But for the most part this is a tightly-tuned, fun if throwaway mobile racing game that will definitely appeal to fans of CSR Racing. It may not be the greatest game we've had our hands on all year, but it's certainly the best franchise game - and in that sense it sets a welcome standard for the App Store.Download Fast & Furious 6: The Game (iOS)
What's Hot:A slick racing experience, with some genuinely tense reaction gameplay, and plenty of upgrades and vehicles to lust after.
What's Not:Repetitive crowd audio, poor dialogue, and familiar ground - even taking the drift mechanic into account.