Awesome Racing on the Vita
Let me begin this review by saying the short version of this: If you have a Vita, you should download this game, it's free, what's stopping you?
Ok so onto what I have to say about the game.
Let's start out with the general gameplay. It is a top down racer and drives and feels great. I had to adjust the controls to what I wanted them to be (Acceleration on the X button and reverse on the square), but afterwards I always felt like I was controlling the car fairly well. All of the vehicles felt different and each had their pros and cons. I have played through all of the events and I think out of all of the cars, the buggy was my least favorite. It just had a certain style that I have yet to get the control of. I also had a lot of trouble getting the drifting down right for the muscle car. That may be of the issues with the game that I found. I liked the large variety that there was to the events but the drifting event may be the one too many of this game. But other than that I was doing alright. If you are someone who usually doesn't dig into the controls, you may find it difficult to pick up at first but I'm sure you'll get used to it.
Each event type has a specific type of car attached to it so you can't go around with your favorite car the entire time, but I think that is a wise decision, forcing you to play with all of the vehicle types. In addition, after you defeat the main events you unlock the "super car" events where you get the fastest car and are just doing hot laps (the timed lap mode). Other modes included a basic race mode, and a pursuit mode where you wanted to pass a certain amount of cars in a certain amount of time. As mentioned before there is also a drifting mode, which was my least favorite of the group.
The load times on this game were also great. Restarting an event was immediate and switching events gave me enough time to take a sip of water or quickly respond to a text and jump right back into the racing.
Onto graphics, overall this game looks pretty good. It has the Motorstorm feel to it and I really appreciate the four different locations for the different tracks. Every section had a distinct look to it and there were little details that I appreciated. Little bugs flying around, or the colored lights hanging from a tree. The dust that kicked up behind my tires was also appreciated, reminded me of driving my RC hummer in the dunes. From the flames in the barels and the plane I was driving over in the jungle and the snow and the destroyed streets it all looked really good. Especially for this kind of game.The only problem graphically I ran into was the occasional drop in frame rate, this happened rarely and it lasted maybe two seconds at most. For a downloadable game I thought it was going to be all pixelated and weird textures but while driving it all looks great.
I love my driving games to sound awesome. I want the cars to sound powerful and strong, and I want the soundtrack to be pumping and energized. And the little RC cars sounded just like I wanted them to. Little zippy car noises reminded me of days in the basement with our little cars going around our home made track, it was great. The music was also pretty good, nice and peppy and techno just like I wanted. Being able to play your own music was great as well so I could listen the Tron: Legacy soundtrack or The Black Keys and keep playing while still getting the sound effects of the car and such was very much appreciated and I wish more PS3 games took advantage of that feature.
The online is where the game both excels and falls in my opinion. I really like the ability to compete for times and having the little colored arrows to race, the leader boards are pretty good, and if you have friends (thankfully there is the little Vita community in the forums here) the competition is much more enjoyable. But I would have loved for an actual online racing mode. Especially tournament like things. Like a Mario Grand Prix or what have you. Maybe it is something they could add in later? I think it would be a really good feature to pitch the cross-play with the PS3 version, instead of just leader boards. They have already released a plethora of DLC cars and such so if you aren't happy with the wide selection you already have you can go spend .50 cents on a new car.
Overall it was a really great game. It had it's occasional flaws but I really enjoyed it and think the fact that is currently free for Vita owners make it an excellent deal. I have since pumped 3 bucks into the game and have no issues with having spent that money on a little expansion with more events and tracks. For its occasional drop in frame rate and the fact that some of the events can be frustratingly difficult to achieve the three medals in when I feel I am doing perfect in it, this game receives four stars from me. Check it out if you have a Vita!
Any comments are much appreciated! Still learning how to write these!