There are many racing games available on Android, and I’ve had hours of fun with my collection of them. But, sadly, none aim to be a realistic racing game; they’re all arcade games or kart racers. I’m an avid racing fan: I follow Formula 1, watch Top Gear, and play far too much Gran Turismo on my PlayStation. And while installing Race of Champions I knew Gran Turismo was going to be the game I benchmarked ROC against.
On the Play Store its developer talks about “precisely recreated tracks” and the game’s stunning details, with input from some influential people involved in the running of the real Race of Champions. The game had a lot to live ve up to – so needless to say I was looking forward to it.
About the Race of Champions
As its not widely known, I’ll first mention that the Race of Champions is actually a real life tournament! Every year, the top drivers from different disciplines and different countries meet up to compete against each other. They do this in identical cars to rid the sport of the technical advantages that engineering can give the different teams. And unlike many racing events, each car is in full view of spectators all the time, thanks to the compact design and position of the stadiums.
This is the official game of the event; from the description:
The game’s development had input from experienced drivers including ROC’s co-founder and world rally legend Michèle Mouton plus Marc Duez, multiple winner of the Spa and Nürburgring 24-Hour races and a former European Rally Champion.
On the Track
The detail of the tracks and cards really lived up to their claims, with levels of realism I don’t often see on Android. The controls can be changed to a few different methods, for example, some will automatically accelerate the car for you. While I didn’t like every control scheme, it’s great to have different options for something so fundamental to the game.
The pause button positioned at the top left of the screen is, as you can see, very small. I’ve looked up from my phone – thinking I’d paused the game – more times than I’d like! Its a small complaint, but one that persistently bugged me.
The Use of Facebook
One thing that really disappointed me about the game had nothing to do with the controls or graphics, but with actually buying it. Unlike every other app I’ve bought, the developers of ROC decided to require purchase through Facebook, with no other payment option available. Although this isn’t too much of a concern it’s definitely not something I want to see developers do. I like to keep my Facebook data separate to anything important, and I know I’m not the only one.
It’s also worth noting that though the app only costs a few quid I had to top up my Facebook credits by €5 to buy it. If you look on the Google Play Store (the actual app download is on there for free, but you still have to pay via Facebook to unlock the full game), you’ll notice ROC has a lot of 1 star reviews which is a shame as this has nothing to do with the playability of the game.
It’s possible to share your race times on Facebook to entice your friends to beat you, and play the app. This is an optional setting so you don’t even need to log into Facebook for this if it’s not something you’d like to do. The buttons on the menu for this aren’t informative though; I signed in to Facebook for this without knowing what was going to happen! A simple heading saying “Share your race time” would clear up any confusion.
After buying the full game the online section of the game is unlocked. This is situated under Time Challenge on the main menu and sets you up against another player of the game where you battle out for the faster track time on the leaderboard.
I’ve found the game to suffer from stability issues more often than I like. This may be because I run custom ICS ROMs, but no other app seems to be crashing. Thankfully this doesn’t happen during a race, but rather when I don’t quit out and just leave the app by pressing Home and continuing with some other task; I’m also able to continue wherever I left off too, so there’s no real loss.
Reading the comments on the Play Store I’ve noticed some users complaining of stability issues – whether these are the same ones i just mentioned or not I don’t know!
Array of Cars and Tracks
The game includes real life ROC tracks, ranging from London to Düsseldorf, with seven different licensed cars to race in. As you can see from the screenshots these cars look like the real deal – and they act like it too. The high precision in the designing of the tracks are astoundingly great reflections of the tracks in real life, with crowds cheering you on to add to the atmosphere.
There’s seven cars to choose from, these cars are present in amazing detail, and you can really feel the difference in performance and handling from car to car. Due to the nature of the ROC tournament cars cannot be tuned as competing cars are meant to be identical. The only difference between the cars is the colour.
Its a great game, and as a racing fan I really enjoyed it. The experience lived up the the claims of the developers, and to my expectations. As a racing game it’s right up there as the best racing game on mobiles in my opinion. It’s excellent to see such realism, especially compared to other racers on Android, though I feel it messed up by requiring Facebook to purchase. Some polishing of the menus and HUD wouldn’t go amiss but the game itself is outstanding.
Note, however, that the download and install size of the files is the 13MB from the Store as well as an extra 240MB that needs to be downloaded through the app, so be sure you have the space free!