Can be tough on Pro and Expert levels
|Time Played||1 week!!!|
|Game Progress||Finished all 3 levels, won every single race (inc. individ times), unlocked everything and got gold, silver and bronze in the mini games|
|Other||Get this game!!|
Anannya Sens Review
Contender for game of the year?
The problem with Fishlabs games is that when we get them, we fight over who gets to review them. Then once the dust has settled and I've won, my other reviews will usually take a complete backseat to me playing their games non stop until I have finished them to the nth degree. This is in no small part down to how excellent they always are and it's safe to say that they currently set the standard for mobile games for mid user handsets (I ain't counting iPhone stuff here btw).
Rally Master Pro is absolutely no exception, and indeed, raises the bar even further in my opinion. Think the quality of Sega Rally when it first came out, the graphics and replays of Gran Turismo when it first came out and the playability of Wipeout when it first came out and you have some idea about how good Rally Master Pro is.
The graphics are quite sumptuous. That's probably the best word I can use to describe them. The lighting and weather effects have reached new heights as denoted by the way the sunlight beams onto your car and the way drops of rain linger for just that split second as if on a real windscreen. Indeed, I was actually torn between the in-car view and the outside car view. From a purely driving games expert aspect I had to play the in car view, to understand the speed and also the turns, but the graphics were so nice to look at that I actually watched most of the replays and marvelled at the vector style shading and detail, not just on the background, but even on the little bits of gravel which kick up as you go off road.
Sound is great on the game, in fact it's a game I would recommend always playing with the sound on. From the thumping intro and in game tune to the more mellowed car information screen tune, the music is great for the game. But what really elevates it is the co-pilot speech. In true Sega Rally fashion, your co-pilot shouts out the upcoming turns so you don't have to always keep an eye out for the directional symbols. This makes playing the game much more enjoyable as you begin to anticipate that hard right. I still haven't figured out what he's saying for the narrow roads / bridges, but what they hey, you just have to make sure you go over them straight.
Controls are simplicity themselves with the car autoaccelerating and you only having to worry about left, right and braking. On many driving games this takes the fun and skill out of driving, but on this game, the courses are very challenging and the car will oversteer so you have to ensure you press the right direction early for a very tight turn, but then press the opposite direction so you come out of the turn straight as a pin and don't oversteer off the main track. Basically, the rally aspect is huge fun to play and the simple controls really aid the enjoyment that the driving skill requires.
Playability is, quite frankly, second to none when it comes to driving games. There are 3 modes, career, time trial, adrenaline and mini games. Yes, you read right, mini games but I'll get onto those in a moment. Standard career mode unlocks tracks to play and cars and you also get the chance to control the weather conditions in the other modes. Clock each level and you will get to play the mini games as well. What makes this so great to play is that it's so slick and addictive you will feel like you're playing a console game. Each track is challenging on the dry but play them in the rain and snow and you've got a whole new ball game. Your cars do get better but there's one big big element that makes the game more than your average driving game. There's damage.
Ok, I know what you're thinking, damage is nothing new right, we've had it before, even on some mobile games. But in this game damage becomes a huge part of your strategy. To finish a level on career mode you have to get the fastest overall time over the course of 9 races. So some you can beat course time and others you don't have to, as long as your overall time at the end of the 9 races is quickest. But here's the catch. Your car takes damage from everything and you only get the chance to repair it every 2 races. So if you race a great line and don't take much damage, this shouldn't be a problem. But this isn't always easy to do, especially on the professional and expert levels where the tracks, speed and weather make it very hard to stay on the racing line at all times.
If you're thinking, so what, repairing every 2 races can't be that bad can it? Well, yes and no. To repair the car you've got a choice of playing one of the 3 mini games (you don't choose which one) and the better you do the higher the percentage repair will be. You don't have to play and can let the car auto repair but if you do this you won't get as high a percentage. So if you autorepair you might get 65% of your damage repaired but if you played the mini game and did really well you might get 95% of your damage repaired. The mini games are fun too, one is based on reaction time (the hardest), another on rotating squares to get a connecting tube from A to B, and the third one on holding a button down a certain length of time to get the required tyre pressure. All the games are based on car racing requirements, so the themes never seem out of place.
The thing with damage which is fairly obvious but hugely important is that you take damage whenever you are not racing a perfect line on the track. So if you veer slightly off, collide into the wall, or go airborne from a bridge and land you will always take damage. Of course, the more you go off road / hit things, and the higher the speed, the more damage you will take. This isn't so important in the easy level, but on professional and expert it makes things mighty tough. So you may be able to make it round the track in a record time, but if you take loads of damage doing it, you may not get a chance to repair your car for a few races, and this will put huge pressure on you to finish the next race with near perfect racing.
So the game becomes a juggling act of trying to finish in the quickest time and also trying to make sure you don't go off road or hit things too much. It's this dual aspect to the racing which makes the game so addictive, combined, of course with the actual racing itself.
Well, I can't say enough about this game. I've finished everything, but am still debtating whether to play some of the courses again to improve my times, or to play the adrenaline mode which ranks you based on how little damage you take around the course. If I ever bore of these, there are 3 fun mini games to play as well. And with the graphics and sound, and ease of controls, driving games don't really get any better than this.
This is one of those games I can safely say that everyone should have on their phone. And there aren't too many of those in that list I can tell you. Another example of near perfection from Fishlabs, now I can't wait for GOF2, although once that comes out you may never hear from me again!!