Racing with a Twist
In Overdrive City, Gameloft’s newest and graphically stunning racing game, you take on the role of an up-and-coming racing tycoon looking to make a name for yourself. There’s a lot of work to do, and some of racing’s best are there to help. But if you want your cars to beat the competition, you’ll need more than cars; you’ll need a whole city. Some racing fans may be put off by the game’s building layer, but the end result won’t disappoint. As former racer Richard Childress said, “Once you’ve raced, you never forget it…and you never get over it.”
Not Another Asphalt
Gameloft is famous in mobile racing through the popular Asphalt series, but it’s nice to see them employing their racing chops in new ways with this hybrid racer/building game. If you were looking for intense speed and precise controls, think again. No pretending your phone is a steering wheel here, all you do is tap to accelerate and release to break. Plus, there’s no risk of crashing into other cars, as you’ll pass right through them. Watch out for those turns; too fast and you’ll skid off the track. Considering each level’s track is different, you’ll need to be vigilant. It would have been preferable to have more nuanced racing mechanics, but you’re not just racing vehicles, you’re also making parts. Buildings like an Industrial Center and a Factory will get you parts such as bolts and batteries. Use them to upgrade your cars and make them the best they can be. You can also use parts to fix other people’s cars and earn coins (the game calls them credits).
To get cars, you need to race cars. You’re provided with a Volkswagen Jetta at the beginning to get started. Ideally you want to finish first every time, but even if you place third, you earn blueprints. Collect enough and different kinds of vehicles will be unlocked for you. Racing also earns Research Points, or RP, which can also be used to get blueprints. However, your cars need keys. Get keys by servicing other people’s cars with your parts. Keys and other prizes are also given by the random vehicles driving around your city. If you see one with a gift icon, make sure to tap it. Additionally, gaining XP in Overdrive City is easy. You don’t just earn points by completing achievements. Placing buildings, completing races, servicing cars, everything wants you to level up. You can even get points clearing away trees and boulders. Reaching another level is almost distracting, but the game gives you more to do the higher you go, so half the time you don’t notice.
Patience Is Necessary
One thing that might turn some gamers away is that Overdrive City needs an internet connection. If you don’t have internet, you’re not playing it. Collecting parts is also tricky. You’d think it be simple, since most of the factories produce three parts at a time. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, as you end up tapping multiple times. The game might be touch sensitive. Waiting a few seconds between taps seems to work best. Another issue is that you need a lot of parts factories. Between servicing cars and upgrading your own, parts disappear quickly. Though most wait times aren’t long, it’s still annoying wanting to service and upgrade at the same time and only being able to do one.
Clearing land for more buildings is also a challenge, as the tools needed are received randomly. If you don’t have them, you need to spend cash, a resource harder to earn and easier to spend than credits. The game offers in-app purchases for cash, the cheapest price being $1.99 for fifty. However, the lowest price for credits is $0.99, which earns you 225. Making cash more expensive than credits is an unfair decision from the developers, as earning cash without paying is difficult. Completing achievements only gives you 1 to 3 units at a time and adding extra slots to your parts factories can cost 6 to 8. Certain parts have you waiting a full hour before they’re finished, so impatient gamers need to spend almost ten units to get them. The game is still playable whether you spend real money or not, but purchasing cash units is still an inconvenience.
Worth A Download? Just Barely
Overdrive City might not be a high-octane racing game, but it’s fun enough to at least get casual race fans interested. With gorgeous realistic cars, a solid city builder mechanic, and a multitude of racetracks, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything boring about this game. Though the game is free-to-play and you don’t need real money to race, you’ll find yourself spending a fortune just clearing land due to lack of easily accessible tools. A few minor changes would certainly make this game play more smoothly.
Is It Hardcore?
Beautiful visuals and easy gameplay. Be prepared to budget if you spend real money, though.