When asked to review Xtreme Quad Racing, my initial reaction was something along the lines of “oh bloody hell, not another iPhone racing game!” I enjoy racing games, but very few on iPhone have given me much pleasure. My main problem falls squarely at the controls. I can understand developers wanting to utilise the new(ish) novelty accelerometer in their control systems, but making it the only option is never a good move in my opinion. I’m always willing to give a game a chance though, despite whatever heavy reservations there might be.
Xtreme Quad Racing has two modes of play: quick race and career mode. Heading into career mode you choose your level of difficulty and also a quad bike. Once done you move onto the starting line up. Wanting to try and see as much of the game as possible, I chose ‘easy’. This is an important detail to know for a little later on!
As the countdown finishes and the quads spring into action, the feeling of speed is instant. They really do move fast around the tracks. Perhaps not quite WipeOut or F-Zero levels of speed but certainly quicker than expected. This however creates a problem - and I’m sure you can guess what it is! Yes, we are back to those pesky accelerometer controls again. The fact is they are simply not responsive enough to deal with burning around a tight, bumpy track at high speeds. Especially when a few mistakes mean your race is pretty much over thanks to the CPU routinely pacing around the track. I’d like to think I’m decent enough at racing games. Going back slightly more than a few years, I still class winning the Yaris tournament in Gran Turismo 3 as one my hardest gaming achievements. So after taking part in over 15 races on the same first track and only having a handful of 2nd place finishes to show for it, clearly something is amiss. This is after all on easy, remember!
Despite my inability to claim first place I did warm to the game and actually got quite hooked on trying to earn a win. But the frustrations of successfully negotiating 5 laps only to slightly misjudge a corner on the 6th and end up facing in the opposite direction still happened with regularity.
I must congratulate DarXun Games on the highly impressive frame rate at which they have the game running fast and smooth. The look and style of the tracks are also very nice with plenty of bumps to negotiate.
Were it not for the frustrations of the controls resulting in a difficult racing experience, there is actually a pretty decent game waiting to pop out. Whether that comes from adding in an alternate control system or simply being a little more relaxed on errors, until then it’s sadly a game I cannot recommend. But I do urge the guys at DarXun Games to keep tinkering as it would be shame to get so far with their efforts and fall due to a control system that can’t keep up with their game.