As any gaming platform finds its roots, the staple genres begin to blossom: role-playing games, platformers, and racing games usually lead the charge. The iPhone is now well in bloom, and top-tier racing games are popping up left and right, so much so that it’s becoming easier to lose track of them. Rally Master Pro 3D is the latest in a long line of racers to hit the platform this year, and graphically it can compete with the best of them. Its claim to fame, though, is that it’s the only rally racing game yet. How does it fare against the competition?
Rally races are all about beating the clock as souped-up cars drive across uneven terrain in harsher conditions than your standard races. In this regard, this one doesn’t disappoint. The game boasts 27 tracks, although they all aren’t vastly different, and a host of adverse weather conditions to muck up the road. This provides both a visual twist to what we’ve yet seen on the platform and a tactical one, as well: driving in the mud is a lot harder than on smooth tarmac.
Take me home, country roads.
As such, we’re grateful for the change of pace. Even though Rally Master Pro is based on a cell phone game from last year, it’s been bolstered with greatly updated graphics and benefits from the combination of touch and motion controls. Nevertheless, we can’t help but feel like some key elements are missing to make this game as memorable as Need for Speed Undercover or Real Racing. The most significant omission that comes to mind is the lack of racing, even against a single other driver. Yes, the sport is all about nabbing the best times, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do it against friends or finely tuned AI.
Part of the reason this was likely left out is that it wouldn’t rightly work with the tracks. Roadways are quite narrow, forcing you to listen to your navigator for upcoming hairpin turns and to more or less memorize the tracks. Stray off course even a hair and you can expect your speed to be greatly diminished. We can only imagine what kind of havoc this would cause against with other drivers on the road. The game is essentially built for that single player experience, which is nicely fleshed out with a lengthy career mode, time trials for online comparisons, and an additional Adrenaline mode, which requires you to avoid causing damage to your vehicle.
This screenshot is brought to you by Rolon deodrant.
As for that last mode, there is a real-time 3D damage model in place, which adds to the realism but can frustrate you from a gameplay standpoint. Not only will damaging the car lower your overall speed abilities, but it also requires you to repair the vehicle between races. This is accomplished via menus, nothing more, and quickly becomes aggravating if you’re not a real gearhead.
Still, we can’t deny that we had fun with Rally Master. The visuals are phenomenal, even though the pop-in of oncoming trees and other roadside eye candy is more visible than we’d like. Being the first rally game on the market, it’s done a lot right, and we wholly recommend you give it a shot now that it’s dropped to a much more respectable $4.99. More than anything, though, it gives us hope that this racing subgenre will be further explored in the future with even more exciting results.