Need for Speed Shift for iPad. Street Racing Game Review

Need for Speed Shift for iPad [rating: 4.5/5]

Sets the Bar for Street Racing Games!

The motor racing genre of games has always been one of my favourites, from Sega Rally and Gran Tourismo to Project Gotham Racing and Power Drift I’ve been playing them for a long time and enjoy the chance to get my adrenaline buzz in the safety of my own home rather than out on the roads where instead of damaging a few pixels the damage from a crash would be considerably more damaging.

Need for Speed Shift for iPad like all the other NFS incarnations is a street racing game although while the emphasis is still on the ‘dirty’ racing style these are closed street circuits that you find yourself racing and so you don’t have to worry about other non-racing cars or the police as you race to the finishing line.

The controls are going to be very familiar with players who have played racing games on any of the iDevice’s before. Steering is controlled via tilting the screen left or right while acceleration and breaking are all handled for you for the most part. Certainly for your first few attempts using the Rookie controls are going to be the easiest, however you aren’t necessarily going to have the most fun driving like this so you can also choose from the Professional or Expert control methods that will require you to control the acceleration, brake and gear change.

Which control method you select while the level of difficulty may rise, after all breaking, accelerating, changing gear and steering while navigating a corner is much more difficult than just steering the controls and their responsiveness are a pleasure to use. In addition the method of power-sliding is very well implemented with a quick twitch of the iPad all that is need to pull off that ever so satisfying drift.

While drifting is fun it’s not required as much in other similar street style racing games and considering how well it’s been implemented that’s a little disappointing. What is rewarded though is aggressive driving, again something that is much better kept to the virtual streets than real life, and you will gain additional points for slip-streaming, blocking and aggressive over taking all of which are definitely required as you progress though the levels.

The graphics will want to make you show off your iPad even more than you do already and surpass that of Real Racing. The city back-drops of London, Chicago and Tokyo look great as do the effects of your car as the speed along the city streets. I especially like the slip-streaming effects of the air rushing of your car any time you slip behind the car in front of you to get a tow and a boost of speed, it not only looks great but acts as visual prompt as to the fact that you are gaining the benefits of being in the right place.

So we’ve established that the game looks great and most importantly for a racing game handles great, now lets get under the hood so to speak and look at the numbers.

There are 28 cars in total including 8 exclusive ones including my personal dream car the Koenigsegg CCX which was a joy to drive. All of these cars are customizable with the tires, suspension and nitro’s all purchasable with your winning. As long as you have some money left over from purchasing your car in the first place that is.

You can also pimp your ride to make your truly your own with a range of spoilers, rims and custom paint jobs and body kits. The three locations include a total of 18 tracks with the night ones proving most impressive to me.

The are three modes of play, for those wanting to dive right in there is the simplicity of Quick Play while those looking to build their career can choose the Career Mode. It’s not easy either, which is no bad thing. You’ll have to earn your money on the track and balance the modifications to your car with purchasing new ones.

Even on the lowest of the three difficulty levels the AI seems intelligent and moves well to block and to overtake. While the AI can be aggressive it’s not to the point of frustration and being aggressive in your driving will be rewarded too.

Finally there is the local multi-player mode which works over both Bluetooth and WiFi, it works well but is limited as it requires you knowing someone else with both an iPad and NFS Shift. Online multi-player would have made this a 5 out of 5 game.

Need for Speed Shift for iPad is a winner both on and over the track and is a great balance of racing sim and arcade racer. I would even go as far as saying that NFS Shift for iPad is better than Real Racing!

The Good

  • Great looking
  • Intuitive and customizable controls inc. drifting technique
  • 28 great looking cars including the amazing Koenigsegg CCX
  • Pimp your Ride!

The Not So Good

  • Not enough use of drifting for a street racing game
  • No online options inc. multi-player or leader boards

Price: $14.99 (iTunes Store Preview)
Released: Apr 01, 2010
Reviewed Version: 1.0.0
Size: 204 MB
Languages: English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish
Seller: Electronic Arts
© 2009 Electronic Arts Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Rated 4+
Requirements: Compatible with iPad. Requires iPhone OS 3.2 or later.

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