With all the racing games available in the App Store, it’s becoming more and more difficult to tell them apart. There are some great titles out there, and then there are the rest. Unfortunately, Drift Mania Championship 2 falls in the ‘rest’ category. It’s a racing game that looks nice, but the actual racing is severely lacking. There is a clear emphasis on drifting in this game, but it can’t make up for a lackluster game.
To start, let’s take a look at the controls. In this game, you have two steering options. You can use tilt controls to steer, or you can put a steering wheel on your screen and rotate that. The tilt controls don’t have the level of precision we’ve come to expect, even after adjusting the sensitivity, and the steering wheel option is even more problematic. Gas and hand brake buttons are on the screen, and once you throw a steering wheel on there, your screen is so full of buttons you’ll need three thumbs to play.
Skid marks are hard to scrub off.
Your screen’s heads-up display might be useful in determining how to race well, but again Drift Mania Championship 2 falls short. Rather than putting you through a short tutorial race where the game explains each element of the HUD, you are instead subjected to screen upon screen of text. Games traditionally provide an escape from laborious reading, but Drift Mania Championship 2 gives you homework.
Once you actually get into the Career mode, where you’d expect to find other cars to race against, you usually find yourself alone on the track. Career mode is based on a points system, where you earn points for drifting and lose points for going off the track. There is a Tournament Mode where you get the chance to race against one other car, and a Multiplayer mode that supports local and online games. While these modes add some variety to the game, they only highlight the control issues.
Orange you happy to see me?
Drift Mania Championship 2 is optimized for the larger screen of the new iPhone 5. It looks great to use the whole screen while you’re racing, but the game is only optimized while you’re racing. In menu screens or while customizing your car, it reverts to its smaller screen size.
The game looks great, and even opens with video of racers showing up for a drifting championship. It surprised us that other games haven’t taken advantage of this and used actual video more. The menu screens do look nice with their high-resolution photos, but the same attention was not given to the cars. They look boxy and pixelated, and the courses only look slightly better.
Dirft Mania Championship 2 is a long title for a poor game. There are worse racing games out there that offer much less than this game does, but it certainly doesn’t stack up against the other racing franchises available in the App Store. It also isn’t friendly to new players. The poor tutorial and frustrating control scheme is high barrier of entry for a casual racing game.