The original Reckless Racing was a good racing game in the Super Off Road tradition that, while supremely playable and good looking, was lacking a bit of focus and had an odd selection of game modes. Reckless Racing 2 aims to change all that, and the good news is that it has done this and much, much more.
The first thing I have to mention, and which will be something to please fans of the original, is the addition of a full, proper career mode. That fact alone will be enough to make anyone who played the original want this, but Polarbit have gone all-out on the gameplay modes this time around. As well as the full career mode, there is an Arcade mode with 40 challenges to play through, online multiplayer, full leaderboards and a customisable single event mode.
The first thing that will strike you when you first dive into a quick race however, is the graphics. They were already decent in the first game, but here they are stunning, with highly detailed cars, high definition backdrops and a super smooth frame-rate that I have yet to see chug. The cars look so much better in this game, and the dust and smoke effects are brilliant.
Whereas the first game had a ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ feel to it, with a ragtag selection of vehicles all on track hustling and bustling, here the game just looks more professional. A race that only features rally cars can look superb, appearing to an onlooker like a proper rally game. The same goes for all the vehicles classes, although if you still want to play with all manner of different cars on the track you are still free to do that. It just feels like a better contest when everyone has the same vehicle. That is what Reckless Racing 2 is all about: choice.
Those who loved powersliding in the first game need not worry, as powersliding is back and better than ever. Once mastered, it is possible to pull some incredible powerslides around massively undulating corners. It is immense fun to whip your buggy all over the track, going sideways just for fun. Those who prefer taking a tighter line on the corners will still get better times, however.
While there are many modes vying for your attention, the career mode is where you will be spending most of your time, as it is here that you earn that all important cash to spend unlocking new cars and upgrades. Each car can be designed to look and play exactly how you like, as nearly every aspect can be changed, from the brakes to the engine. The game even lets you pick a custom colour.
I found the career mode to be pretty gratifying. The quest for cash is a decent ‘meta game’ that does keep you going, yet the career mode itself is good enough that the need to win money actually proves secondary to the enjoyment of progressing in your career. Of the other modes, I surprisingly found myself spending a lot of time with the elimination mode, which is not usually a game mode that I enjoy, but it does seem to work well with the top down format as you can see the position of a lot of cars at once, which encourages you to keep out of last place.
Online multiplayer is here, and works well. I didn’t notice too much lag, but there were a few occasions where it did rear its ugly head, although not so much as to spoil the enjoyment of racing online. The games controls are superb, and can be dragged around the screen to your liking, which is a feature that I would love to see more developers include.
If I do have a real criticism, it is the games tracks. While they are undoubtedly gorgeous to look at, and have some great physics, especially the track overlooking a cliff, and show a lot of variety and imagination in their design, I feel that the actual track designs are not as brilliant as the rest of the game. There are some decent tracks here, but nothing truly memorable.
That is no reason not to consider this an essential buy, as Reckless Racing 2 delivers on just about every other front. The gorgeous graphics, spot-on controls and multitude of modes make Reckless Racing 2 a superb addition to the iPhone racing collection.