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RPM: Gymkhana Racing

For: iPhone
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iOS gaming's Mondeo

Product: RPM: Gymkhana Racing | Developer: Blue River S.A. | Publisher: Bulkypix | Format: iPhone | Genre: Racing | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
RPM: Gymkhana Racing iPhone, thumbnail 1
Hello. If you don't know what gymkhana is, go to the bottom of this review and watch the video. We'll wait.


Welcome back. As you can see, gymkhana is a motorsport in the same way that skateboarding is a mode of transport: yes you're getting from A to B, but you're prioritising style over function. With possibly lethal consequences.

It demands the deftest of touches, as just a few degrees of the wheel in the wrong direction or a smidge too much acceleration can have you smashing into the many obstacles littering a circuit.

Blue River has decided that the most precise form of control for its interpretation of the sport is a virtual controller, and while we can't compare this with the missing accelerometer controls we suspect it's made the wrong decision.

The game automatically deals with gear changes, leaving you to handle turning, acceleration, and braking with four arrows at the bottom of the screen. There are a couple of steering wheel alternatives that involve sliding your thumb around the screen, but they fare no better.

Demand the improbable!

If this were a slow-paced title it wouldn't be so much of a hassle, but RPM:GR can get pretty demanding. Your only opponent in each of the 25 courses and five stage types is the timer. Each track has seven stars to shoot for, earned by doing the gymkhana-style driving as well as more outlandish activities.

There are objects to hit, walls to cover with colour by skidding through nearby paint, bollards to whip round, chicanes to weave through, and many more, each bestowing a star to unlock additional areas.

Here's the catch, though: it isn't enough to do one set of challenges during one attempt, then another set the next, and expect it to count to the overall score.

No, to earn additional stars you have to complete previous challenges at the same time as finishing new ones, learning the most efficient route to maximise your time on the tasks presented.

Which would be much easier of you could control your car properly. It's all very well asking you to glide a high powered Ford Focus-alike perfectly round a hairpin bend, but not with the range of control schemes available here.

Ken Block breaker

It's a pity, because the game engine itself is solid. It's good-looking, there are nice spot effects, its sound is high quality, and when you finally cramp your hands into the right position to play it the driving model is quite flexible, with a penchant for dramatic back-end swings.

There are few frills included, though. There's no online competitive modes, and leaderboards aren't integrated into the main game, meaning you have to go to OpenFeint to see how you stack up. And once you've burned through the tracks provided there's no way to create more, even though RPM:GR is practically begging for a course editor.

Real gymkhana is about handling accuracy, and RPM: Gymkhana Racing wants that from you too, but it doesn't give you the right tools. Aside from this one major problem, it's a solid objective-based racer that's just a little light on content.

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RPM: Gymkhana Racing
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 29 November 2011
Imprecise controls and a lack of lasting challenge hamper this otherwise perfectly adequate translation of the sport it's named after
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