We have all played our fair share of racing games over the years. Many of us still love tilting our devices as if we were actually driving down famous F1 tracks at over 100 mph. But what if you wanted to get behind the wheel of a tiny, 1:16 scale RC car? Nikko has you covered with their new game, RC Racer (out now, Free).
I don’t know what kids grow up playing with these days, with practically everybody owning iPads, Wiis, and what not. But I fondly recall driving an RC Aston Martin on my 8th birthday, and it was a hell of a lot of fun. In Nikko RC Racer, it somewhat imitates the feel of that almost perfectly. It’s ridiculously difficult to control at first just as RC cars are. They turn too sharply and the acceleration is beyond belief. Of course, this isn’t a pro racing simulator like Real Racing; so much of this can be excused. After a few races, you should get used to it.
There are three control schemes available: the common accelerometer-based tilt, the incredibly difficult slider, and the one I love — two arrows. I suspect that most players will immediately change from the tilt option because you need to tilt the device far too much to turn. The two arrows add a little extra control despite the previously mentioned unrealistically fast acceleration.
There are 10 very different cars to choose from. They all look and handle differently to each other, which is great because others are much easier to control. The only problem is the cost. Upon launch, there are two cars to choose from. The next car along will be unlocked once you ‘Like’ their Facebook page. The next 7 henceforth cost 99c. They can be unlocked if you have bought actual Nikko RC cars (there are codes on the boxes), but charging per car is just ridiculous.
The aim of each race is to drive through a bunch of checkpoints as fast as you can. It’s barely even a race! Your highscores can be compared against your Facebook friends’ or match up to Game Center leaderboards. It’s extremely boring after three or so ‘races.’ There’s just nothing to do. It’s like trying to follow a very vague sat nav.
The graphics won’t have you stop racing in awe. It’s nice having a vast environment that you can go off-track and explore. Speaking of which, there seems to be only one huge park where all 9 tracks are set. It’s a well-designed park with ramps and lakes to bring life to the gameplay, but it would be more interesting if there were different things to look at other than trees and a sandy road.
The music is the last area I must touch upon. I don’t usually care for the soundtrack of many games, usually because they are unnoticeable and I rarely play with my earphones plugged in. But the electric guitar (or whatever the hell that is) that features in this game is horrible and extremely inappropriate for such a game. Given the cartoony graphics and colorful UI, I expect a much more mellow and child-friendly tune.
iFanzine Verdict: Nikko have tried to enter the casual racing market on the App Store. By the look of things, they didn’t try very hard. Nikko RC Racer is an extremely boring, dull, and limited game which even a ‘free’ price tag can’t justify.