Slingshot Racing is tailored to iOS from beginning to end.
This is the kind of game that would never have been created for anything else, but a touchscreen. Published by one of the big names in iOS gaming, Crescent Moon Games, it has got the backing it needs to reach gamers everywhere. And it deserves to be played, especially with a bunch of friends over a beer or two. Your three year old, and your grannie can get into it within minutes, but hold off on the beer at those gatherings. As multiplayer games on one device go I think Slingshot Racing is hard to beat.
The controls of Slingshot Racing are brilliant in how simple, and effective they are. Simply touch anywhere on the screen to hook up to the nearest pole. Keep holding to slingshot around the corner, and then let go. Simple as that, and that in turn leaves it up to you and your timing to determine how well you do. Anyone can grasp the controls from the first race, but it takes skill to master it completely. Sloppy timing is punished by crashing into walls, and taking too wide and slow corners. When playing multiplayer all players get their own hotspot to touch, but otherwise the controls are just as precise.
The single player experience is not the strong aspect of Slingshot Racing. After just a couple of tours I found myself becoming bored with the concept of slinging around the tracks. Sure the game gives you different objectives: race, collect cogs and timed runs. Especially the cog-collecting felt like a letdown, as it relies too heavily on hitting the correct racing lines instead of passionate slinging. Racing is the most fun mode in single player, but it still feels barren despite three opponents to race. Going for 8-12 laps trying to replicate the perfect run instead of tackling, and improvising is not my cup of tea. Then I prefer Speedway to Formula One in real life so it might be my disposition. The campaign is also quite short, and if you really focus you can beat it within three to four hours. Sure there is always the mandatory three stars, or in this case bolts to attain by completing tracks faster. These bolts are also used to unlock new tours to race.
The multiplayer experience on the other hand is hectic, fun and one of the best ways to experience the iPad with friends. I tried it with my students, and all got into it from the first couple of laps. Placing the iPad on a small table you can easily play four people on one device. I then hooked it up to a projector, and speaker to give those watching a sense of the action. Even the spectators got excited, and started cheering as the races get going. With four racers slinging around the tracks it is still easy to identify the different cars using colour coding. Green car has green hot spot for controls. One thing that is really fun is the fact that a small mistake can put the leader in jeopardy, and soon the pack has caught up. Most racing games tend to feel done when a lead looks hard to reach, but not in Slingshot Racing. Worth noting is that the multiplayer is same device only, and there is no online alternative yet. I can see this evolving with ghost races, and later on simultaneous races using Game Center. If you can’t round up enough friends bots of varying difficulty levels can be included. Always having the opportunity to have four racers is great, as it is far more hectic that way.
The presentation in Slingshot Racing is all done in a steampunk style that fits the kind of racing at hand perfectly. The tracks, and backgrounds look awesome rivalling Drawrace 2 in clarity and detail. The vehicles look a bit weird, but that is keeping with the steampunk style. I would have liked the opportunity to personalise the vehicles, and make them my own. That is definitely one of the aspects I associate with steampunk: modification. Now all I get to change is the colour of my vehicle indicator.
I have to rate the game separately when it comes to the single player, and multiplayer experience. The difference is huge, and if I give it a combined rating it might go un-noticed, as it is one of the best same device simultaneous multiplayer games released for iOS to date. It is a shame that the single player campaign isn’t as rewarding.
Rating Single Player
Slingshot Racing $0.99 Universal for iPad/iPhone/iPod
Seller: Crescent Moon Games LLC