Review: GTS World Racing by Handmark
This review originally appeared within iLounge’s iOS Gems series within the compilation article, iPhone Gems: Big-Named Games & Inspirational Apps. Additional details may be found in the original article.
We love 3-D racing games—so much so that our first iPhone Gems roundup was focused on them. You can now add to that list Handmark’s GTS World Racing ($8), a title which unfortunately feels underdeveloped relative to the others we’ve previously reviewed. It starts on promising notes: you can choose from traditional or Formula One cars, 16 different countries, and 4 difficulty levels. The steering, despite being accelerometer-based and imperfect, does not suck. There’s decent rock music in the background. And almost everything’s in 3-D, from the cars to the backgrounds. This is all good.
Unfortunately, the game isn’t comparable to the best Sony, Sega, or Namco racers people have enjoyed over the past 10 years; rather, it’s about as advanced as Namco’s disappointing Pole Position: Remix for the iPod. Unlike any of the other titles we’ve looked at for the iPhone, the different countries consist basically of a different flat piece of background art and small changes to the roadside scenery. One country will have palm trees, another cactuses. They all have drab-looking tunnels, and none have any elevated surfaces. And while the engine provides a solid frame rate, even with a few cars on screen at once, nothing ever approaches the detail or visual interest level of Cro-Mag Racing, Wingnuts Moto Racer, or Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart. It’s just stage after stage of bland driving on tracks that are highly samey—steps behind first-generation PlayStation and PlayStation Portable Namco titles such as the Ridge Racers.
None of this is to say that GTS World Racing is a bad game; it’s not. But for $8, a driving game needs more than just simple texture swaps and differences in curves to be interesting. To Handmark’s credit, GTS World Racing is about as exciting as Pole Position: Remix from a gameplay perspective, and better graphically, but its higher price drops it down a little in our view. iLounge Rating: C.