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Rally Legends review - An authentically grubby racer with mechanical issues

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad
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Broken down

Product: Rally Legends | Format: iPhone | Genre: Racing | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
One of the unique charms of Rallying is the thick hobbyist streak that continues to run through it.

When a souped-up hatchback flips into a ditch in the middle of a frozen forest, even the motorsport's superstars need to get out and push - or at least get ready with the duct tape.

It's perhaps fitting, then, that Rally Legends gives off a strong DIY vibe. It's just a shame that the mechanics are so creaky.

Real racing

Rally Legends really nails the unique risk-and-reward appeal of the sport.

It's just you and your car against the clock and the elements, but you're still up against it. Every overshot corner, clipped tree, and poorly thought-out car setup means extra seconds on the clock.

The results of those mistakes accumulate and follow you throughout several stages. On the one hand, this grants you the ability to quite literally make up for lost time, but it also means that you can compound your mistakes with yet more errors.

Rally Legends demands a base level of competency and consistency rather than outrageous flashes of brilliance - but it doesn't quite give you the tools to do it.

Broken suspension

Unfortunately, the racing in Rally Legends simply doesn't feel quite right. There's a floaty, disconnected feel to the car handling that at times makes you feel like you're steering a boat rather than a tiny car.

The camera angles don't help here. By default the camera locks straight behind your car, which is really disconcerting when you enter a corner. The other angle locks the camera slightly to the side, which is just weird.

It doesn't help that the virtual controls feel a little rough and unreliable. I would routinely find myself driving straight off on corners, seemingly because I hadn't quite hit the steering button correctly.

This was particularly annoying given the accumulated time penalty system mentioned above.

Rallying cry

Technically, too, Rally Legends is a bit of a mess. It adopts a simplified polygonal approach that could almost convince you that it's a stylistic choice, except for the fact that the whole thing lurches along.

I played on an iPhone X, but the resolution defaulted to way below what it could natively manage. However, bumping the resolution up (which makes it feel like an old PC game) adversely impacted the game.

That old PC game vibe is present, too, in some rather basic menus. 

It's a shame, because the developer's commitment to providing a true rallying experience - complete with prolonged stages, humble cars and a handbrake button - is admirable. But the flakey mechanics aren't quite up to the wear and tear of a prolonged racing session.
Rally Legends review - An authentically grubby racer with mechanical issues
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 25 June 2018
A Rally racing game that takes an admirable stab at authenticity, but which doesn't quite have the technical chops to make a proper success of it
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