Dream Track Nation App Review – A Stitched Up Racing Game in Need of More Stitching

Released yesterday on the App Store, is Dream Track Nation, a somewhat casual side-scrolling racing game for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Through it’s multiple game modes, it’s clearly not something to miss for only a buck, but also clearly has room for improvement.

I downloaded DTN yesterday hoping its hyped game modes, online multiplayer and level-editor would satisfy, but I was letdown just a bit. Released yesterday, the game is a side-scrolling racing title in which you control a car through a various amount of flips, jumps and more with an overall object of reaching the finish line in time. With multiple game modes, different vehicles to be unlocked, a built in level creator and even a multiplayer mode, is not something you find on the iOS platform regularly, especially with only a $1 price tag.

The main mode has a total of 60 pre-designed levels available to be played. These are split up into three different locations, each sporting differently themed environments. These 60 levels can be played in two sub-modes: time trial and collecting all of the stars within a level to pass. So basically there are a 120 levels to complete in the form of 60 levels. The content here is good, though the difficulty balancing is not so much. Beginning levels are easy, followed by easier levels and then suddenly the levels get extremely difficult.

An additional way to play is the integrated, worldwide multiplayer mode. You can race against another person via Game Center, which works extremely well, although finding people to play with can sometimes be an issue. This is where I wish Game Center had some sort of reputation system built in to punish people who quit while in a game, but that has nothing to do with Dream Track Nation, so I’ll leave that rant for some other time.

I know that level-editors are difficult to include on games running on the iPhone and iPod Touch, and the developer Pow Pow Games has done a terrific job with this one, although there are things that needed to be fixed. It’s very difficult to build your own tracks as the screen is mostly unresponsive, moving items is extremely difficult, the smart idea of implementing a way to duplicate items has not been implemented properly and there’s no efficient way of testing built tracks. Also, sharing tracks online is in no way easy as you seemingly cannot change the name of your track after you first save it, and the sharing system is very lackluster; buttons are too small, the creator’s name is not displayed, etc.

The artwork is definitely one of the main points to cover when complimenting Dream Track Nation. With obvious time and effort being put in, the aforementioned aspect of the game boasts a wonderful stitched theme. Everything looks as if it was stitched together, piece by piece, which gives the game an extremely good and unique look. Additionally, the controls have been designed very well – they’re responsive by way of both tilt and on-screen buttons.

Content isn’t an issue here, it’s the other flaws that create that feeling of resent when opening the application. Regardless, the amount of things Dream Track Nation provides you with naturally do make up for the relatively annoying mess that is created by the application’s many gripes. With all honesty, it’s one of the better side-scrollers on the app store, though, and being only a buck makes it that much better. I just ask that the problems mentioned above be fixed because right now, as a whole when every aspect is considered, the quality of DTN doesn’t stack up too well with many other applications.

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