I-play’s third game in it’s racing series based on the Fast and the Furious movies needs a serious tune up…
First there was ‘F&F Pink Slip’ offering a solid racing experience, and then there was ‘Fast & Furious’, based solely on the third movie. Again it fared well, and provided great features such as YouTube replays. Sure, they are in no way the cream of the crop of racing games on the AppStore, but they are generally good offerings for arcade style racing fans.
It is strange then that this new game ‘Fast and Furious: Adrenaline’ seems to take quite a few steps backwards in almost every aspect!
The game pits you up against various crews, who challenge you to various racing activities across LA. These are split into four categories, Race, Time trail, Drag, and Cop Chase. And as you earn points in each event you level up with new cars and new crews for you to challenge.
There are seven car models in the game, from american muscles, italian supercars and asian imports. Each has it’s own stats for speed, acceleration, nitro and drifting. As you progress new upgraded and re-sprayed versions unlock. Generally though selecting the newest car will bag you the next set of events until you unlock the next and so on. I particularly like the pimped up Lamborghini Galardo, though the use of real car names is not licensed.
Each event is pretty short, with races only spanning 2 laps. The drag race is the odd one out, turning off your steering and instead requiring you to use gear shift and nitrous to out pace your rivals. Of all the game modes though, cop chase is by far the most fun. It’s almost worth the price of admission… almost! As you race through the various environments, you pass cop cars which begin to give chase, sirens whirring behind you. A red health meter appears at the top and you must attempt to make it to the end of the race without the cops taking you out. later in the game you also partake in boss racing, here you go head to head with the crews boss to over throw them and claim their turf. These are the same as normal races but against one car that exhibits a little more aggression towards you.
Unfortunately, even in the relatively fun cop mode, and the marginally challenging boss racing… the game is just too easy overall, requiring little more than the newest car and your thumb hovering over the nitro button.
Graphically it’s a mixed bag. On launching the game I was impressed by the menu system, which presents the city and the available events in a well polished and easy to use fashion. However, once in game things take a turn for the worse. While the cars look ok, and bear a passing resemblance to their real world counter parts, the tracks on the other hand are incredibly bland and featureless, with only the track ‘Neon Streets’ looking half decent. Textures are inconsistent, some featuring details and others basic solid blocks of colour or tiled textures. All the models are incredibly low poly, there is almost zero lighting and shadow, and the draw distance is short… and so, despite having a fast frame-rate, for the most part it looks like a first generation N64 game. While racing games may have gotten away with low graphical fidelity in the iPhone’s infancy, these days the competition has upped the ante. Even the earlier F&F titles from I-play looked a lot better than this
Graphics aside, the main issue for me though is any sense of weight to the cars. Sure, this is an arcade racer, and more about speed thrills than realism, but even so I don’t expect my car to slip and slide all over the place as if every track is covered in black ice. If you take any sharp turn in the game you will bounce off the walls too, so there really isn’t any skill required to drift around turns like a pro. Whichever control option you choose, none do a good job of keeping your car on the road.
On the plus side, the sound in this game is pretty good. The sound of drifting grates on the ears, but the engine sounds are well sampled and the urban music is particularly enjoyable and fits the theme of the game well. Also, I-play have added some great features facebook connect features, including racing ghost rivals for turf, and video replay uploads. It’s just unfortunate the racing doesn’t stack up as well.
Despite the occasionally smile as I evaded the cops and launched into a slow mo speed jump. Fast & Furious: Adrenalin is a lackluster affair. In trying to concentrate on raw nitrous fuelled speed, I-play have dumbed down the overall package. When pitted against the Asphalt series and even this games’ prequels, it comes up short. For that reason I can’t recommend this to anyone, not even fans of the series.
Fast & Furious: Adrenaline is out now for $5.99 (get it from )