If you favor driving games, and love games that hook you with that “just one more try” feeling (think Crossy Roads), I’ve got an arcade racer for you. Red Bull Racers for iPad is a slot-car racing game that puts you in a multitude of vehicles, on dozens of tracks, against 0–4 opponents. The races are fun, the gameplay is addictive, and the graphics and sound are smooth and responsive. As a free-to-play offering, Red Bull Racing is definitely worth your time to download and play.
In Red Bull Racing you drive a go-cart, race car, motorcycle, or snowmobile around a slot-car race track. The tracks range from smooth grand-prix style, to rough dirt with jumps, and even snow-packed courses. No matter the track or the vehicle, your job is the same: go as fast as you can to pass your competitors and come in first, while managing your corner speed so as to not go flying off the course and lose time while you watch the other cars leave you behind. There are six “cups,” or racing series. Within each cup are three racing levels: beginner, amateur, and pro. Finally, within each level there are 12 events, nine of them single-player, and three multi-player. As you can see there are lots of races over many course: you won’t get bored.
The game play is quick: each race lasts between a minute and two minutes. The graphics are high-end for arcade quality. The controls are simple: gas, lane-change, and ram, and that’s it. The game play and controls are very smooth: in several hours of play I didn’t experience a single instance of jittery video or audio drop-out. The game is rock solid and didn’t crash even once. The audio is clear, and the engine sounds help you judge how fast your car is going so you know when to slow down. The music becomes tiresome quickly, but there is a music volume slider you can use to turn the music down or even off. There are assists you can use to mark corners for too-fast entry which are invaluable for keeping you on the track. These assists are available as upgrades you buy with game cash but the cost is minimal so can be covered by points you earn for winning races.
Speaking of upgrading, there are several upgrades available for your cars, bikes, and snowmobiles, including speed, acceleration, and handling. Like corner assists, these upgrades are easily covered by cash you earn during races. As with all free-to-play games there are in-app purchases available for real cash. And if you want to advance beyond the beginner level, you’re going to have to reach for your credit card. But really with so many courses, levels, tracks, and vehicles available in the beginner level, you might not ever feel the need to pony up the cash. App-development cost is probably covered in large part by the plentiful in-app advertising, which actually blends into the race courses seamlessly and is never overbearing. At least no more overbearing than on real-life race courses.
I heartily recommend Red Bull Racers for iPad: even if you keep your cash at home, it’s a super-fun distraction, good for 20–30 minute chunks of time, and maybe more if you’re not careful. The game is free to play from the app store.