Crash Tag Team Racing
Crash racing doesn't quite crash & burn, but the racing action is still too boring to recommend...
Crash Racing isn't horrible, but it doesn't have a lot going for it, either. There's a big opportunity for a truly excellent mascot kart racer to swoop onto the mobile platform and capture the hearts and wallets of mobile gamers both casual and hardcore, but this most certainly isn't that title.
Game design (and track design, but more on that in a bit) is uninspired. There are three sets of tracks, and once you win a set's Grand Prix-style tournament the next set is opened up in Tournament and Single Race play. That's essentially all the game progression present. I won all three tournies on my first attempt, so all that was left at that point was to race to improve my times. When you win a tournament a text box informs you "you won." Not even an exclamation point, let alone any kind of trophy ceremony.
The nine courses themselves are just as bland, and are more or less indistinguishable from one another. They aren't even named. You have Pirate 1, Pirate 2, and Pirate 3, followed by Castle 1, 2, and 3, and lastly Egypt 1, 2, and 3. As their names imply, there are three different backgrounds and texture sets for the courses, but in practice it doesn't matter. The courses are all completely flat, and feature left and right turns that never require braking, and all feel exactly alike. I never could tell when I was getting close to the end of a lap because every section of track looks and feels just like the sections that preceeded it.
Gamers can choose to race as Crash, Nina Cortex, Dr. Cortex, or Pasadena. Each has their own vehicle with different statistics for handling, top speed, and what I'm fairly sure is boost. These stats do make a difference (Dr. Cortex's higher top speed almost always puts him in the top spot until you hit some boost strips), but none feel very different from one another. They all more or less slip and slide around the track in the same loosely-controlling manner.
A handful of power-ups are available to spice up the races, including mines, rockets, and turbo boosts. These pick-ups do little to enhance the bland racing, however. When hit with a weapon your kart flashes and stops dead in its tracks for several seconds, regardless of what hit you. The power-ups don't really feel like weaponry at all, and I didn't get a lot of enjoyment from lining up perfect missile shots or sneakily placing a mine.
The game's hook is the same found in its console cousin - when you get close enough to an opponent you can "merge" your car with theirs for a short period, which boosts your top speed slightly, and also gives you some additional firepower.
Crash Racing isn't devoid of enjoyment. There were a few tense finish-line moments when I pulled ahead at the last moment to gain some much-needed points. Such moments are few and far between, however. The game's biggest problem is that its just way too boring. The racing is slow, the tracks all look and feel the same, and there's little motivation to keep playing once you've ran through all the three tournies once.
What's Hot: Big, colorful 2D graphics
What's Not: Uninspired track design. Questionable controls. Slow gameplay.