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Race illegal: High Speed 3D

For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone
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Break down

Product: Race Illegal: High Speed 3D | Developer: Apetrus | Publisher: Chillingo | Format: iPad | Genre: Racing | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Race Illegal: High Speed 3D iPad, thumbnail 1
Car games should be exciting. Blitzing it down a track, narrowly avoiding a crash, or just lusting over beautiful vehicles are all exciting, and the best car games on iPad - Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, Asphalt 6: Adrenaline - have these things in spades.

Enter Race illegal: High Speed 3D, a racing game that manages to make high-speed motoring about as exhilirating as waiting for the traffic lights to change on your way back from Tesco.

It has all the right ingredients in theory: a risk/reward nitro system, fast cars, exotic tracks, and the now arcade-staple takedowns. It just performs each manoeuvre with all the grace of a learner driver during rush-hour traffic.

I feel the need for sleep

Race illegal: High Speed 3D excels in areas that other games in the genre fear to tread.

So, rather than just play the normal disconnected tournaments and events, you get to take a photo of your ugly mug and insert it into a corny and semi-animated story mode about street race ‘clans’ instead.

Of course it’s rubbish - the ‘story’ would have even the writers of Fast Five guffawing at its corniness and lack of cohesion - but at least it’s something different.

Another area where Race Illegal breaks from the pack is in the variety of its races. Alongside the normal point-to-point and lap-based six-car races, you often get additional objectives to complete along the way, like drift 'x yards’ or ‘don’t damage car’.

They’re not particularly inspired, but their inclusion does occasionally threaten to chase away the overhanging cloud of boredom that permeates the racing itself.

Part of this is down to the lacklustre graphics. The cars are blocky and basic to look at, while the scenery is flat and undefined. There are some nice lighting effects and incidental features like birds flying in the sky, but overall the game looks all of its current budget price.


But the racing is where the real issues lie. Race illegal: High Speed 3D has takedown moves - bash into another car and make it crash - but they never work outside the tutorial, and instead damage your car and give the AI a free pass.

Elsewhere, the game fares little better. The corners are too wide and gentle to need any braking, the tracks are far too long, and the rubber-banding AI is some of the worst I’ve seen in a long time - if you crash, your opponents stop and wait for you to catch them up (and if you don’t, they’ll stick to your tail throughout).

Your race is basically won or lost before it begins. If you don’t have enough tuning on your car, you’ll never, ever catch the frontrunners - the tracks don’t have enough hard turns to promote good driving skills.

Stop your engines

You might think this is where the boost bar and its risk/reward nature would come in, but the way in which you gain nitro for your deeds feels far too random.

Driving on the wrong side of the road and narrowly dodging cars for a whole race can produce nothing, while having a head-on collision will suddenly fill the bar right up for no discernible reason.

There may not be too many arcade racers on iPad at the moment, but the ones that are out already tend to offer up some degree of excitement. Race illegal: High Speed 3D, on the other hand, is about as generic and forced as its title suggests.
Race illegal: High Speed 3D
Reviewer photo
Will Wilson | 12 September 2011
Some interesting gimmicks can't disguise what is essentially a lacklustre street-racing title
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