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Forever Drive

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

Taking the toll (road)

Product: Forever Drive | Publisher: Supermono Studios | Developer: Supermono Studios | Format: iPhone | Genre: Racing | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.2
Forever Drive iPhone, thumbnail 1
Forever Drive: is it a name, a challenge, or simply a plea?

It's a question that will play heavily on your mind as you play Supermono's highly anticipated social racer. Taken purely as a game – in terms of balance, controls, and design – it's very easy to take its title at face value, giving in to your addiction and racing on and on and on.

But there's something built into Forever Drive's very framework that seems to want you to do the exact opposite. Yes, Supermono's latest is freemium all the way, and it's a choice that results in the game almost working against itself.

Making tracks

Forever Drive has a strong sense of community. Each and every one of the top-down tracks on has been designed by players.

Having a crack at your own course is even easier than the racing itself, with designs realised via a level editor that lets you track the most complex of paths just by drawing it out with your finger.

Your course, along with the thousands of others no doubt currently floating about in the cloud, will then pop up in other folks' games, with Forever Drive piecing those in its collection together at random to deliver one seamless experience.

Indeed, there's little time to pause for breath. One track rolls into the next – details of your run and the tracks' top performer flashing by at the top of the screen – and it becomes increasingly hard to put your phone down voluntarily.

Part of this addiction, however, also stems from just how easy the gameplay is to pick up.

With its default setup, Forever Drive is as easy to hold as a steering wheel. Pads on the left and right control your direction, while (admittedly rarely used) brake pads in the bottom corners keep you in check when approaching a particularly spiky bend.

Race for life

Indeed, while time is a factor in Forever Drive – checkpoints along the way come with increasingly tight time limits – it's keeping on the straight and narrow that serves you best.

Passing cars without smashing them is the key, each one successfully negotiated adding a multiplier that boosts the XP you've clocked up at the end of every run.

It's the score you manage to amass that determines your world ranking on each track, rather than the time itself. Make it to the end without touching the sides or clashing with traffic and you'll find yourself taking records on tracks aplenty.

But Forever Drive's reliance on XP for upgrades slows it down considerably.

In XP mode – which is where Forever Drive wants you to play – your score is everything. It unlocks both the cars you race with and the buildings that decorate your tracks. The problem is, every time you miss a checkpoint or fail to finish a track one of the three credits you're awarded at the start of the game in XP mode is wiped off.

These credits are essential for those aiming to keep play motoring in Forever Drive, given that they multiply your XP by ten at the end of each stage.

Once your first three credits are gone, more can be picked up via in-app purchases. But considering Forever Drive is without instructions whatsoever, it's particularly frustrating that you'll likely use up all three credits on your first run in just a few minutes.

Cough up for credits

Having played on, I'd advise everyone who suffers in such a manner during their first run to open up their wallets and pick up plenty of credits – it really is worth it.

But, without such foreknowledge, there's a good chance scores of player won't, simply because there's very little opportunity to get the gist of what Forever Drive has to offer before it starts trying to dip into your bank account.

There is, of course, the option to race in Cruise mode. Gameplay is almost identical here, but there's no additional XP multiplier, meaning your long-term progress is inevitability slowed.

Nonetheless, Forever Drive's freemium fumble doesn't tarnish what the rest of the game has to offer – rather, it simply sits at odds with the rest of the game. When it comes to edge-of-your-seat arcade-style racing, Supermono has delivered an engine with just the right balance.

It's just a shame the same level of care hasn't been taken in balancing Forever Drive's in-app purchases, because those who put the game down early out of reluctance to fork out will miss out on a game that could sit on your iPhone for as long as its name suggests.

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Forever Drive
Reviewer photo
Keith Andrew | 17 October 2011
One of the most addictive racers on the market, only freemium grumbles stop Forever Drive being an instant classic
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