It is hard to deny how popular and profitable the Fast and the Furious franchise has remained over the years. Who doesn’t like Vin Diesel, smashing cars, and that blonde guy? The latest summer blockbuster iteration is Fast & Furious 6 (featuring The Rock for added fury) which brings us the iOS tie-in game available now in the App Store.
The iOS game features a fleet of slick rides ready for upgrading, painting, and racing. It’s a freemium affair that might more accurately have been called The Fast and the Frustrating.
The game begins as many do: You’re a lowly broke racer looking to make a name for yourself in the fast and furious streets. After getting your car totaled in your first race, you’re taken in by a mechanic who shows you the ropes.
You have limited options for your first ride, so we went with the 1972 Ford Grand Torino (Clint Eastwood DLC please). With a new ride and ready to rock, we hit the streets again. You use an overhead map of the city to find drag races, drift challenges, and driver training courses. On this overhead map you can also conveniently tap icons to see the trailer for Fast & Furious 6, buy tickets to see it in a theatre near you, buy the soundtrack, and purchase or rent the previous films in the iTunes Store. Once you’ve deciphered which map icons are races, you’re good to go.
The racing isn’t much more than a minigame. The drag races begin with a countdown in which you must tap at the right time to get a good jump off the line for a speed boost. As you accelerate you’ll need to time your swipes to shift into higher gear; precise timing earns bursts of extra speed. That’s pretty much it. The drift races add a little more complexity by placing drift zones on the track in which you must, you guessed it, precisely time your taps to enter and exit the drift. For those of you looking for more complexity and actual races, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
You can upgrade and customize your car in the garage by earning money and gold “F” bars. There is a large collection of upgrades with different statistical modifiers that don’t really impact the gameplay in any significant way. The gold bars aren’t easy to come by and can be purchased for too much money in the in-game store.
Earning money by racing is the better option to upgrade your ride, but you can only race about five times before you run out of gas. Yes, you will run out of gas and will have to wait 30 real-life minutes or so before the tank gets filled again and allows you to race. When your tank is empty, you are offered a refill for irritating your friends via social networks or spending gold “F” bars. We can’t tell you how frustrating it is to review a game and be forced to take half-hour breaks every few races.
There is no denying that the game looks fantastic. Customizing the gorgeous cars is fun, but there isn’t enough here to warrant much investment of your time. The cars, tracks, and effects are rendered well, but that only serves as a reminder that this game could have been something great. Just like the films, you aren’t here for the story or complexity– just eye candy. Which is the only thing going for this shallow waste of your time.