Drag Racing: See You at the Finish Line

Sports car enthusiasts often compare cars based on their straight-line performance, and while there’s much more to them than simply acceleration, the popularity of drag racing can be seen in many aspects of popular culture, like the movie franchise “The Fast and The Furious”. The idea is simple: take your car over a pre-determined distance before your opponents to win. In practice however, there are many variables and factors that determine a vehicle’s speed: forced induction or naturally aspirated engine? front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive? These are just a few of the decisions that one needs to make when building the ultimate drag racing machine.

Drag Racing is an Android-only game which takes many of the elements of car tuning and drag racing and makes for an addictive game which is great on the go for those spare moments you may have.

Drag Racing

Gameplay

Drag Racing takes a similar approach to many other driving games:

  • buy a car,
  • compete in races for money,
  • use that money to level up your car.

It’s a formula that has been done many times but works to keep you coming back for more. In a fairly recent update, the team at Creative Mobile have added the ability to tune your  cars, adding further complexity to a game which you can play at your own pace.

In addition to the cash you earn for winning, some races provide Respect Points (RP). To purchase some of the upgrades you will need a certain number of Respect Points. The respect points also help encourage players to play online, as wins in online mode are a good source of respect points. If you are having trouble getting wins and respect points, you can purchase them using your Google account.

There are 10 levels of cars, ranging from the Volkswagen Golf GTi all the way to the Bugatti Veyron. Naturally, you start out with a limited amount of cash so initially your choice of car is restricted, but at first its not too hard to get some wins and build your car up. Each car behaves differently; some of them get more traction if you maintain high revs when given the green light and some of them prefer nitros in higher gears than others. Thankfully, you can take your car for a test drive before you buy it to see how it reacts before you drop your cash on it.

The garage view

You can choose to race over a quarter mile or a half mile and must change tactics accordingly, particularly regarding when to use your nitros (if you have them). Online races are randomly selected with similarly skilled opponents and there is a choice of whether to race a car you have tuned or to race the same kind of car as your opponent, sometimes with Nitros and sometimes without. The randomness of the online portion of the game makes it more interesting than racing against the computer, in my experience. There is now also an online league where you can climb a global ladder.

The race selection screen

Controls

The game places you behind the wheel of your car, where the view through the “windscreen” is that of a spectator from a grandstand. An accelerator appears only for the launch as it is not needed for the rest of the race. The only other buttons you need are the + shift button and the N2O button. The game has recently received an update supporting multi-touch so that you can more easily apply the NOS while still accelerating, so that is a welcome addition.

Unfortunately with touchscreens of today not being pressure sensitive, your accelerator is an “on or off” affair which makes it very tricky to time your revs perfectly during the launch from the line, especially with each car revving differently — but it’s something your opposition (if human) has to deal with as well, so just a factor of the game.

The controls are responsive although I find myself changing up too many gears occasionally if I accidentally touch the shift up button twice rapidly. Overall, though, the controls are simple to use and work well for the game. Gear changes are signalled by a colored icon in the middle of the screen, but this can be disabled if you prefer, in which case you’ll rely on the sound and a light on the speedometer for gear changes.

Gear change signal

Presentation

Visuals

The models of the cars are well-drawn. Each car is immediately identifiable to those who are familiar with the cars in the game. A new update for the game allows players to use respect points to pay for a paint job on their car so as to add a little spice to the online part of the game, since racing against the same car in the same color can be a little drab. As this game is free, it is supported by advertisements, though these are not visible during the races and are placed in an unobtrusive location on the menu screens.

Sound

There is no music to speak of in Drag Racing, and that’s probably a good thing as you are not in the menus long enough to listen to them, and during the game you only want to hear the sound of your engine to time your gear changes. The cars have different sounds although I am unsure if they are all unique. Ferraris tend to have that higher pitched exhaust note while the Bugatti has a lower rumble.

Conclusion

Drag Racing is a solid game with plenty of cars and different races to keep you going. There is constant development on this game with updates arriving every week or two. A popular group exists on Facebook for fans of the game and the developers seem to listen to the feedback from players. Its a unique take on racing and a refreshing change from the usual cockpit position or rear view of the car styles of most racing games. If I had one criticism, it would be that it is a little hard to level up your cars.


Summary

A well-executed drag racing game under constant development made all the better by the fact that it is free. Excellent replay value but can cause frustration if you get stuck trying to level up your car.

8
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