The Reckless Racing crew are back, and they’re gunning for Mini Motor Racing…
After a disappointing turn with Reckless Getaway, Pixelbite have returned to their roots with a straight up, down and dirty, track-based racer.
While it does share the same name as its predecessor, and follows a similar style in its presentation – the Super Sprint over-head viewpoint and model village-like details – it really doesn’t feel like a straight up sequel, and instead feels more like a reboot.
Historically, the first game was called Deliverace – a pun on the classic film Deliverance with its deep south stylings. As well as bucked tooth rednecks as the drivers, and the sound of dueling banjos, the game also included a crazy taxi-style delivery mode (just in case people didn’t get the Deliverance gag). Despite this, I guess the feeling at Pixelbite was that the name was still a little too clever for most consumers, and so the game was renamed Reckless Racing.
Reckless Racing 2 doesn’t include any of this. There are no banjo based tunes, instead replaced by toe-tapping beats; and the delivery mode – a fun addition to the original – has gone. Even the racers are a little more clean shaven this time around.
The racing itself is also less dirty. The street racing-style chalk markings on the tracks have been replaced by more pro-looking markings, and there are even crowds in stands around the track. This gives the game less of a Reckless spirit, eschewing the street brawl racing in favour of pro-racing.
This is also apparent in the racing itself. In fact it shouldn’t be called Reckless Racing at all, as there are many driving aids that can be enabled, with some enabled by default. With the racing line and dynamic difficulty enabled, it should be called Driver’s Ed racing.
Having said all that – and taking the game as a standalone, or indeed a reboot – Reckless Racing 2 is in actual fact a great racing game. The car physics are excellent, particularly the way they handle on different terrains – with an obvious difference between tarmac and running off onto sand.
The original did have a much looser and manic feel to it, again making it feel more Reckless. However, that came at a price of frustration for the most part. Here you feel more in control, especially with the slower earlier cars. Of course the difficulty actually ramps up with faster and more powerful cars. Take a sports car out on the dirt tracks and you’ll have a tonne of drift-based fun.
Speaking of drifting, I absolutely love using oversteer to control speed. Previously I preferred tank mode in the last Reckless Racing, but this time it’s the Half Wheel. Much of this has to do with the fact that I still play Mini Motor Racing and I love the wheel control in that. The half wheel here is the closest to those controls, and it’s perfect for controlling the exit of a drift. You’ll find you can play like this with little use of the brake.
So we know the game doesn’t feature the delivery mode, so what does it offer? Well, with this being more of a pro-race game now, it includes a Career mode. Here you must beat the 12 cups by earning gold silver or bronze in each event, before moving on to the next. As with most career modes, you won’t be able to select and play just any cup, and instead must rely on your winnings from previous races, to upgrade or purchase new cars, before the next cup or race is unlocked and available. Only then will you be able to experience the new cars, environments and tracks. As with most iOS games you can of course use real cash to fast-track your progress (cheat!).
Besides the Career you can also play single events, this allows you to play any unlocked track and car at any time – think Quick Race. In my opinion though the best mode is Arcade mode. Here you must play through a linear path of set challenges (up to 40). However, they do not rely on your current career profile, and so offer up a variety of cars and tracks from the get go. I think it’s the best way to experience the game.
There are quite a few games of this ilk on the AppStore now. Each likes to out-do the other. The first Reckless Racing blew us away at the time visually, but now with more power under the hood of most iOS devices, those graphics don’t stand up so well. The reining king right now is Mini Motor Racing, so can Reckless Racing 2 knock it off the top?
Well, it’s a tough one to call, they are both great looking games. I would say Reckless 2 has the edge on detail, but I’m a sucker for the chunky Penny racers/Micro machines look of Mini Motor Racing. Reckless does include more interaction with the environments than those of Mini Motor racing. You would bounce off the track edges, bollards and obstacles in Mini, whereas you can career off the track and over a cliff edge in Reckless, as well as crash and get tangled up in track-side rocks, barriers and dirt.
Where Reckless 2 has Mini Motor Racing beat though is with its online offering. While not perfect, the fact that Reckless has it is a 1UP to Pixelbite. I mentioned in my review of Mini Motor Racing and how shocked I was at the omission of a competitive online mode, and I feel it will come down to the simple fact that when put side-by-side by both the hardcore and the average games consumer, Reckless 2 will look more appealing, purely based on the addition of online.
I did say it’s not perfect though. I noticed problems in game rooms whether I was either hosting or joining games. Cars would jump about on screen (no doubt to stop lag), and sometimes materialise right in front of me, which is off putting to say the least. The multiplayer options are limited too. All you can do is race in three to ten laps, so don’t expect any MicroMachine-style elimination modes, or Mario Kart-esque fun modes.
Overall, Reckless Racing 2 is certainly a welcome return. It doesn’t feel like a sequel though, so fans of the original may be disappointed (particularly if you liked the banjos!). In terms of actual racing, gameplay and options I do think it is a far better game. The controls really are superb (whichever option you go with). Once again though it’s a tough call between this and Mini Motor Racing. That game feels like playing with real toy cars, while Reckless Racing on-the-other-hand feels a little more realistic, and not just in terms of graphics.
The deciding factor then is the multiplayer. It gives the game far more legs than the competition, and will no doubt sit as the dominant Arcade racer on your iOS home-screen. That is until the next super-sprint-style game hits the AppStore – no doubt in a few weeks.
Reckless Racing 2 is out now as a universal app for £2.99. Get it on the