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The iTunes App Store launched with not one, but three racers vying for the winner's circle that is your iPhone/iPod touch Home Screen. We pit Wingnuts Moto Racer, Cro-Mag Rally and Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D against each other and learn that, accelerometer-based steering doesn't always equal an innovative gaming experience.
Feeling the need for speed? Find another game. Wingnuts Moto Racer will bore you to tears if it doesn’t frustrate you silly first. If that sounds harsh, it’s only because competing racers like Cro-Mag Rally and Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D offer better graphics, more varied gameplay, and fewer interface problems.
The game offers a choice of three drivers (two guys and a girl), but it’s purely a cosmetic decision: They have no stats or abilities to speak of. Next, you choose a track: Moto Racer has 10, each of which must be unlocked by completing the previous one. All races are checkpoint-driven, meaning if you don’t beat the clock, you don’t finish the race.
Redeeming qualities? Moto Racer has a couple, including scattered speed-boost power-ups and a “highlight camera” that kicks in when you hit a particularly big jump. Other than that, this is a bare-bones arcade racer that just isn’t worth the money.
Check out the full review of Wingnuts Moto Racer here.
From its animated opening cut-scene to its dazzling DayGlo-infused tracks, Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D brings console-style racing to the iPhone. If you don’t immediately recognize the name, Crash is the furry, PlayStation-born answer to Nintendo’s Mario—and he’s got the kart-racing cred to prove it.
CBNK’s controls couldn’t be much easier: You’re always going full throttle, so all you have to do is steer (done by tilting the iPhone, natch), jump (by tapping either edge of the screen with your thumb), and drift around corners (by tapping, holding, and tilting). That leaves you free to gather power-ups and “Wumpa fruit” (10 of which give you a speed boost).
If ever a game begged for multiplayer support, it’s this one. (The Sony PSP can do it, so why not the iPhone?)
Check out the full review of Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D here.
If you’ve ever watched an episode of The Flintstones, you know full well that cavemen (sorry, cave-people) had cars. Cro-Mag Rally lets you channel your inner Fred or Wilma, racing cutesy stone-age vehicles (Bone Buggy, anyone?) around a variety of cutesy tracks. The result? A cute little kart-style racing game, albeit a flawed one.
Combining tilt steering with onscreen accelerator, brake, weapon, and launcher controls (all positioned conveniently beneath your thumbs), Cro-Mag has a shallow learning curve. The game’s Race and Gather modes each challenge you to finish first, but the latter adds arrowheads you must collect along the way. There’s no campaign mode, nor is there much incentive to keep racing: All 11 vehicles and nine tracks arrive unlocked.
Cro-Mag has a more free-wheeling feel than either Crash Bandicoot or Moto Racer: You can drive up (and sometimes over) slanted walls and even find shortcuts. Plus, there’s an interesting surprise in the Atlantis track we won’t reveal here, though it’s not hard to guess. Fred Flintstone never had it so good.
Check out the full review of Cro-Mag Rally here.
Is it an iPhone or a steering wheel? These three racing games blur the line. Tilt left, your car (or cycle) turns left. Tilt right, it goes right. Sounds like fun, yes? It is, but only if you choose the right game. Give Moto Racer a miss: It’s too hard to control and too lacking in fun. That leaves Cro-Mag Rally and Crash Bandicoot, two terrific kart-style racers with impressive graphics and fun gameplay. But we’ve gotta give the nod to Crash for offering the most console-like racing experience. You’ll swear you’re staring at a PlayStation.