Back in January we gave Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed a "good" rating, calling it a "entertaining burst of nostalgia-drenched fun" while noting a few downsides as well. If those minuses were enough to dissuade you from its original $4.99 asking price, you'll be happy to know that Sega's spirited race is now free to play on iOS as of today.
Anki Drive turned heads last June when it took the stage at Apple's WWDC 2013 with its iOS-compatible toy race cars powered by a form of artificial intelligence. As of today, Anki has expanded the lineup, offering new cars, new tracks, and a new race mode.
Despite its flashy neon lights and comic book-style interstitials, Flashout 2 is a pretty straightforward sci-fi-tinged racer: you'll zoom around a futuristic track, earn cash, upgrade your podracer, and repeat. Here’s the catch: each hovercraft comes armed with a machine gun, rockets, and mines, and a quick trigger finger is often the difference between first and last. While decently fun, it ultimately proves insubstantial and lightweight, with control quirks and a lacking balance between racing and combat.
Crazy Taxi is meant to be played in short bursts — which makes sense given that it started out as a quarter-munching arcade game. The pick-up-and-play nature of Crazy Taxi makes it ideal for mobile devices, as the 2012 iOS version illustrates. But as fun as that game was, it was still just a port. Now Sega has a brand-new entry in the franchise that was made specifically for mobile devices — Crazy Taxi: City Rush.
The nuances of Formula One racing are mostly imperceptible to the layman. It's all angular momentum and downforces; a system of geometry, physics, and engineering in which minute adjustments have outsized effects. As a result, a game like F1 2013—the latest of Codemasters’ annual racing series, brought to Mac by Feral Interactive—tends to require technical precision and strict execution.
Hopping onto a motorbike and barreling through the air while doing backflips is exciting stuff, but executing daredevil stunts while atop a tank or riding a runaway rocket? Joe Danger certainly doesn't shy away from peril in his latest action-packed obstacle course romp. While it doesn't add much new to the core stunt-centric formula laid out in predecessor Joe Danger Touch, Infinity's fresh settings, goofy characters, and challenging stages still make for a joyous ride.
True Axis made all the right changes for the sequel to the 2009 hit driving game Jet Car Stunts, with a big visual upgrade, loads of new levels and play modes, a third difficulty level, and intuitive player creation tools added to an almost identical core experience of racing against the clock and navigating insane courses. Jet Car Stunts 2 pushes the challenge factor a bit far at times, but it’s a fine improvement on its predecessor and a fiendishly awesome game in its own right.
Sega’s first attempt to mine the Mario Kart formula worked out rather well on iOS with Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, though it already looks a bit weathered by time (especially without iPhone 5+ widescreen support). Luckily, console sequel Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed has now likewise made the leap to the App Store, expanding the arcade-style approach with the addition of flight and boating segments across an array of colorful tracks inspired by classic Sega properties. It’s once more an entertaining concoction, though slow-paced progression and paid power-ups slightly diminish the effect of this mobile port.
Four years after an uneven iOS debut with Ridge Racer Accelerated, Namco Bandai’s long-running drift-racing series returns to mobile in fine form. Ridge Racer Slipstream offers little that we haven’t seen in recent handheld and console offerings, but it handles well, looks great, and packs just enough features to keep you on board for the whole hog. Online, arcade, and career modes all earn credits needed to buy and upgrade cars to keep pace as the competition gears up, while series icon Reiko reprises her role as announcer.
Even more so than the middling Angry Birds Star Wars II, Angry Birds Go! feels like an elaborate advertisement for other products rather than a purposeful game. The ever-in-vogue kart racer spinoff is tied into a series of marginally useful Telepods toys, and also tries to sell its soundtrack from the menu screens. But this free-to-play affair takes things much further via the introduction of sponsored boosts. Want to keep your kart from breaking down during a race? Use the State Farm Insurance power-up. Much more galling is the Goldfish-branded speed boost, which shoots a stream of virtual cheddar crackers behind your kart for the entire race. No, really.