Retro Racing App Review – Pay Homage to Arcade Racers in this Stunning Top-Down Title

It’s no question whether the developer behind the new top-down racer Retro Racing ($0.99) is either experienced or enough of a retro junkie for his new game to to be worthy of your spare change with multiple Amiga titles under his belt. Experience and a good hand come together in this new title from Jamie Woodhouse that will incontrovertibly pique any gamer’s interest.

Like any other game of similar breed, Retro Racing places you in control of a micro car with hopes of dominating races by completing races with the fastest time possible as well as in the top 3. Fans of older titles, namely Micro Machines, will be especially satisfied with the action and the engine working in the background to power the game.

The game consists of a total of 12 races that will each only take but only a few minutes to complete usually with 3-6 laps dependent on their sizes. Thus, messing up isn’t really a biggie and you can always restart in hopes of improving your time or to retry a race.

As you progress, tracks will become a bit more well designed for the sake of a ramp in difficulty. They’ll also have more powerups littered throughout enticing you to divert from your track, at some times, in order to collect. These powerups include temporary boosts in speed, improvements in acceleration, better handling and nitrous, which will only have effects lasting for the given race. Every race comes accompanied with cleverly placed shortcuts that AI players are completely oblivious to – many times, these considered shortcuts are actually diversions meaning that they take more time, but they will be packed with valuable powerups. This gives you the option to give it a go and try your chances at boosting yourself to the front or avoiding the possibility that you fall behind by missing the powerups.

Controls involve a forward button and left and right buttons that essentially take care of acceleration and left and right movement, respectively. With the controls in mind, the game retains an arcade feel to it with races, as we’ve mentioned above, being quite short and also the controls being satisfyingly responsive. However, the game is currently only playable in portrait mode for the iPhone, which can arguably be cramped for players with large fingers.

Once you begin playing, you’ll instantaneously be hooked thanks to the inclusion of the various elements that augment the game and expand on its potential. But, unfortunately, it’s over just as quickly as it started. There are only 12 tracks, which goes by extremely fast – especially considering the fact that the beginning tracks are easier than the later ones. Though AI players get noticeably smarter in the latter levels, you can often finish races 1st place without much of a fight. To ease this small gripe, Jamie has included two different color cars with different specifications that you can complete the 12 races over with. Still, the game is in desperate need of more tracks or additional modes to sustain the replay value that will inevitably die down.

There are other options for someone seeking a top-down racer in the App Store. What gives Retro Racing a slight advantage is its artwork. Though it strays away from realism, gamers with a passion for retro artwork will be in awe. Track scenery is perfectly rendered, and everything comes alive. It’d be a perfect game to play on an arcade machine, really. If there was someway to add iCade compatibility to this sort of game, I’d recommend it to the fullest extent.

Retro Racing lacks in a few departments, but it mostly delivers on providing solid gameplay. Any gamer with a liking for titles with an arcade feel, seamless pixel artwork and top-down racing will fall in love but will sadly be left craving more. Even so, it’s worth the buy-in.

[easyreview title="Our Score" cat1title="Graphics" cat1detail="If you like pixel artwork, you'll like Retro Racing's graphics." cat1rating="5" cat2title="Sound" cat2detail="The upbeat music that was running in the background mixed perfectly with the intense gameplay." cat2rating="5" cat3title="Gameplay" cat3detail="Levels were cleverly designed and were always throwing something new at me, whether it was an puddle of oil or some other hindering object. This was what kept the game alive as did the smart AI." cat3rating="5" cat4title="Controls" cat4detail="They were responsive and weren't too obtrusive, however, they can easily get cramped due to the lack of a landscape mode." cat4rating="4.5" cat5title="Content" cat5detail="We can't expect a ton of levels due to the ingenious nature of each but more would be much appreciated. 12 surely isn't enough; it's only enough to whet your appetite." cat5rating="4" summary="If you're looking for a title to give you a quick dose of excitement every now and then, Retro Racing is down your alley...and ours."]

[easyreview title="Screenshots"]