This is one of those titles that remind me why I love iOS as a gaming platform. Dream Track Nation is a physics racing game with a funky indie vibe. There is stiff competition in the genre with the Jellycar trilogy leading the pack. To me the gameplay is more straightforward, and I enjoy the focus on racing more in Dream Track Nation. The fact that it also comes with a level editor allowing for time to seep away from your other daily chores is also a huge plus in my book.
In Dream Track Nation you get two game modes that give completely different game play. In star collect you try to find, and collect all the stars in the level. This is not as easy as it might sound, and in some levels just staying on the actual platforms is hard. Still the game allows you to take your time even though it doesn’t stress you it records your best times. In time challenge mode on the other hand it is all about speed, and getting to the end before time runs out. This forces you to hurry, and levels behave differently at full speed.
The level design is zany, quirky and unrealistic. It still manages to retain a sense of direction, and I rarely get myself lost trying to find the finish flag. Loops, gravity defying powerups and massive jumps keeps the game challenging. At times you have to go up a ramp, turn the vehicle the right side down, and keep going but now in reverse. These tricks are really satisfying when you pull them off.
The controls are as easy as can be. A choice of tilt or touch for acceleration and brake, and on screen buttons for pivoting the vehicle. To me the touch controls are preferred, as there has to be quick adjustments that I can’t really do with tilt. Still the option might suit others, and I like the fact that the sensitivity can be selected in the options menu.
The level editor is quite clunky, and I have small to no patience in building my own tracks. Still it works, and someone with an iPad can crank out some wicked designs. On the iPhone the screen estate is too small to edit levels, but the game is better suited for playing on the small screen.
Dream Track Nation looks as quirky as it plays. Cartoon characters, 2-d platforms and a murky palette of colours make it sound cheap, but it works really well in creating a fun racing experience. The music is great with a weird selection of thumping tracks ranging from swing to rock. The engine sounds are awesome, and at times it sounds like those strange Icelandic monster trucks going up hills.
There is multiplayer built into the game with Game Center integration. I have not managed to get it to work, and thus I can’t comment on it, sadly. Crystal integration for achievements, and scores is also available. Unlocking new cars take both racing skills, and some social interaction to accomplish.
Dream Track Nation is a must buy in my book. Quirky racing across weird levels is too much fun to pass up. Having four worlds with 80 levels, a level editor and a universal binary for both iPhone and iPad are great features. There is a lite version that allows you to try four levels, but don’t bother with that. Just get the full version right away!
Dream Track Nation $0.99 Universal for iPhone and iPad.
Seller: Chillingo Ltd