Shifting into high gear.
With The Fast and the Furious movies proving that street racing is hot, Cie Games took advantage with its latest mobile release, Racing Rivals. Don't think this is just a typical racing game, though. In fact, most of the racing is handled for you, leaving you to take care of the important things, like crossing the finish line.
During each race, your job is to get off to a great start by revving the gas pedal and hitting the launch button, then shifting gears at the right time to avoid losing speed. This is simple at first, but then you start facing opponents with better cars and nitro boosts that propel them into the lead.
Fortunately, Racing Rivals provides you with opportunities to catch up. The game features a number of upgrades to customize your vehicle, from smaller parts that improve your transmission to bigger things, like a nitro kit, that guarantee a victory. These have an effect with each race, turning you from a last-place loser to a cocky Vin Diesel wannabe.
Earning coins and diamonds - the currency needed to buy the parts and get them installed - is easy, thanks to a fair freemium system where you'll only need to spend real money if you want the best car right away. Some folks might do this when it comes to the multiplayer aspect of the game, but you can still enjoy peak performance without dropping a dime.
The single player campaign for Racing Rivals is good, but multiplayer is where it's at. Here you'll find a number of opponents to challenge, putting money - or even your prized vehicle - on the line to see who's the best. Multiplayer works quite well, with barely any lag to speak of, though there are times races take a little while to set up.
For a free game, Racing Rivals looks terrific. The car models, based on real vehicles from the likes of Honda and other manufacturers are great, and while the environments are a bit drab at times, they whiz by so fast you probably won't even care. The sound effects are good too, with plenty of roaring engines to keep racing enthusiasts happy.
If there's one huge negative in the game, it's the inclusion of an annoying assistant who seems like she'd rather be somewhere else than helping you. She keeps explaining how "the boss" has an interest in you, but she doesn't see what makes you special. Even after winning a few races, she's skeptical; so much for boosting our morale.
That's a minor bump in the road, though. With a simple control scheme, robust assortment of parts and vehicle modifications and online multiplayer that will keep you hooked for hours, Racing Rivals is worth a test drive.
Download Racing Rivals: iOS
What's Hot:Simple yet enticing gameplay, good-looking graphics and a wide variety of real cars, plenty of upgrades to unlock and improve your ride with, multiplayer works great and has no shortage of challengers, mostly free-to-play.
What's Not:The slight wait time between multiplayer races, the girl assigned to help doesn't do a great job.