Lunar Racer - A Different Kind of Racing
Coming off the success of Super Stickman Golf, everyone had high expectations of Lunar Racer. I think those expectations were met, but it didn't go much farther than meet them, unforunately. Those who are not fans of racing will still enjoy this, much like the non-fans of golf (me) enjoyed Super Stickman Golf.
You, the racer, start off in a transport ship, along with three opponents. When the light turns green, you are all dropped out of the ship and onto a planet, to which you are pulled by gravity. The difficulty of the opponent racers is just right for what it should be, and even on your first race you don't feel left behind. Each race lasts about 60-90 seconds and is hectic all the way through. There are powerups to be had throughout the track, which randomly give the player or opponent more nitro, a space car seeking rocket, a spike that can be dropped behind you, a bubble shield, or a space car seeking rocket that hits everyone in front of the shooter. Each time a victim is hit, it gets stopped, whether it be mid air or on ground, and resumes after 1-2 seconds.
The controls are extremely simple and easy to pick up. Nitro is used by tapping the right side of the screen, and to be pulled back to the planet faster, when in the air, tap the left side of the screen. Any game focused on tilt controls isn't generally asked for, or wanted on an iPad because of the size; but the devs have made the default sensitivity just right. The tilting sensitivity is high, but perfectly done, I had no want to adjust them, whatsoever. Which is a good thing, because, unforunately, there are no customization options, spare the ability to mute the sound and/or music.
Lunar Racer has a total of twelve tracks to unlock, all spread out into different planets/environments. To unlock said tracks you must get a certain total amount of stars. Stars are earned by gettings first (three stars) second (two stars) or third (one star) on any given track. Sadly, two of the tracks can only be unlocked by gettting five or ten wins in multiplayer, which is only local at the moment. So if you don't have a friend who would help you out, or another device, you're out of luck. Each track varies greatly by terrain and environment, and gives the racer a whole new experience each race.
If you're good enough to get three stars on a track in Amateur Tour, you unlock Pro Tour which has much smarter and seemingly faster opponents. The challenge presented in Pro Tour is highly welcomed since the opponents in Amateur Tour get easy to beat after playing for a couple of hours.
Multiplayer is included in the game, but unfortunately its only local multiplayer at the moment. The developers have said, on twitter, that they are working on global, online multiplayer; however. If done right, much like Super Stickman Golf, online multiplayer would make this game just so much more fun, not that it even needs it.
At the start of every race you are given a set amount of nitro, this nitro is a key element to winning a race so you, as the racer, must put it to good use to earn more nitro by doing flips, or by doing perfect landings.
One of the many things that make this game good, is the insanely extensive garage. From what I've seen so far, there are at least ten body types, five different colors, and ten different wheels. Comsetic upgrades are bought with coins and go up in price for each successive one you buy. Here is a list of things that you can change with your space car - all cosmetic.
- Body Type
- Body Color
- Canopy Color
- Wheel Type
- Nitro Animation
In order to buy things from this garage, you collect coins which float around in the track, in each race there are 50-200 coins, depending on the track. If you complete at least one of three unique challenges in each track, you get a multiplier which can potentially give you 4X the coins you collected. 2X for completing one challenge, 3X for completing two, and 4X for completing all three. The first time you manage to complete all three challenges, whether it be in seperate races or all in one race, you are rewarded with a bonus round. Bonus rounds put you on a planet with stars all round, and unlimited nitro. An average bonus round can get you around 600 stars. The game also features (although some may not call it a feature) an in-app purchase store with which you can buy more cosmetic stuff, although obviously not needed.
Achievements and leaderboards are done through both GameCenter and OpenFeint, a feature most devs today are putting in their games. Leaderboards show who have the fastest time for each level. Lunar Racer has a total of 22 achievements which can be obtained by doing a specific number of spins, firing a number of rockets, and other feats that can be accomplished by simply playing the game normally.
Varying tracks, a crazy amount of cosmetic stuff to do to your car, and gameplay that will have you wanting for more, are very good reasons to pick Lunar Racer up - now!
Rating: 4.5 Stars - A few issues such as having tracks that can only be unlocked through local multiplayer, and the fact that there is no tilt sensitivity customization, bar Lunar Racer from getting a full 5 star rating.