Burning Tires 3D is another in a long line of App Store racing games. At this point, most developers seem to know that landscape layout, accelerometer controls and scaling ability of the iDevice makes it ideal to bang out a fast racing game to try to turn a profit. Burning Tires, while not a complete failure, doesn’t do enough for us to recommend it to you. However, if you’re looking for a 99 cent game to distract your young child, BT just might fit the bill. We’ll explain.
Though it appears that the cars are supposed to be of a dune buggy/off road variety (and by that we mean they have really big wheels and the tracks aren’t paved), BT plays like a pretty standard iPhone racing game. Steering is managed either by the accelerometer or touch controls. Your car’s gas pedal is like the fat kid on a see-saw: always down. You don’t get to control your speed in any way, other than turning into walls to slow down, and that’s pretty bad for a racing game at this point. There are a standard variety of unlockable courses and cars to choose from, though both rides and tracks all play pretty much the same.
Burning Tires 3D disappointed us with its lack of cultivation. For instance, there is no such thing as a speed boost in this game. Nor a weapon. Nor a powerup of ANY sort. And as it turns out, when all you’re required to do is steer a car around a dirt road, you need more to make an interesting game. The only thing that can lose you the race is poor steering. The AI controlled cars will knock you sideways and sometimes completely around, but it’s pretty easy to avoid them altogether and run a perfect race, winning easily. In fact, BT is a little too easy, period. Sometimes the steering gets a little wonky–making your car lurch left and right interminably, rather than correcting and running straight–and you might lose a place or two. Experienced gamers, though, will probably run through this game in less than an hour, winning every race and unlocking every car and having next to no fun along the way.
We’re harboring a suspicion that this game was, at some stage in its planning process, meant to be played by gamers younger than 13 or so. The game music, which is less “music” and more a series of annoying sound effects, and the sound effects themselves (like a big, comical car horn honk) both seem to be geared towards pre-adolescents. The bright graphics and silly cars are very cartoony and fit that mold as well, as does the simplistic nature of the gameplay and the limited control scheme.
The App Store has a burgeoning category of “family-friendly” Apps that are appropriate for youngsters, and that’s exactly where Burning Tires 3D belongs; it’s the Curious George of iPhone racing games, and it’s likely to bore you to tears, even at its current sale price of a dollar. Unless, of course, you’re 10 years old.