One thing Big Fun Racing (BFR henceforth) from Decane will likely not do is make a great first impression. To be honest, what struck me on first play was the bland graphics and sluggish controls. However, perseverence turned to prosperity as I found there’s a fun little game lurking in here.
This isn’t exactly a racing game in the obvious sense (especially if you recall the classic ‘Big Red Racing’ from back in the day but oh I digress). The goal of BFR is to zip around a course and run over a target number of gold coins within a set time limit. So while you’re not racing against any other cars, you are competing against the clock (or your prior best time). The game is rendered completely in 3D which might be why the developer kept the graphics simple (must appease the framerate gods). You have 6 cars to pick from, 2 of which are unlockable ‘humbees’ to keep your interest and since they all have different handling and power you’re encouraged to try and pick the best ride for the track at hand. What you get in trade for the basic graphics is a decent physics model and various ramps that will have your vehicle flying through the air with the greatest of ease and this is the real strength of the game (more on that later). The controls consist of onscreen buttons for accelerate & decelerate/reverse and you rotate the phone to steer. As noted, they feel a bit muddy at first but after about 10 tries I got the feel of it and was able to settle into grabbing those coins without too much frustration. Of special note is the hoppin’ soundtrack which is a real highlight. There are 50 tracks included but you can download more online and at review time there were 2 available. More seem to be promised at regular intervals and hopefully more interesting as the 2 mentioned are very basic.
Back to the airborne thing, basically what makes the game is the ability to get major air off of ramps in your quest for coins. Difficult as the controls are to master and as many times as you WILL be retrying most tracks, the mental payoff for a winning run is definitely exciting. So much so that I pray the developer will add a replay mode to view your last run (and from different camera angles). Also, while you can quickly reset your car while there’s time on the clock, it takes too long to restart once it runs out so I hope that can be sped up in an update (did I mention you’ll be replaying the tracks a LOT?). Further, granted the cars are meant to have different handling traits but in general the game really needs an accelerometer sensitivity setting (or just control tweaks in that regardl) since I often had to rotate the phone so aggressively that I temporarily lost visual immersion.
Bottom line here is the game deserves more patience than some folks seem to be giving it out on the app store and other reviews; it’s definitely fun if you give it some time. A little spit and polish for the (hopefully soon) next update will make this a great little arcade runabout and I give special kudos to any developer with the moxie to pull off a playable game on the iPhone in full 3D (except Gameloft but they use magic pixie dust so I can’t count them ).
Version reviewed – 1.0
Global scoreboard – no
iTunes music supported – no but the soundtrack is damn good