I was the target audience for The Fast and the Furious when it came out in 2001. I was the member of a car club, I owned a Honda and I had friends who were tuners. We knew some of the owners of the cars in the movie, including the guy who owned the Supra that ended up becoming the hero of the flick. It was an interesting part of my life to be sure.
But today, 12 years later with two kids and a wife, I’m no longer that guy. I’ll watch the F&F movies, but at this point it’s all about entertainment, not wishing I could get my car in the film. So what appeal will Fast & Furious 6 — a game based on the latest installment in the series — do for me? Let’s find out after the jump.
Like most movies that contain the words “Fast” and “Furious,” there isn’t much of a plot to be had. You’re a street racer, and you have a car that you race to earn cash to modify your car. Your goal is to join a group of racers — the main characters from the films — so you can commit crimes and what-not.
The plot is just a device to move you around the game, with various levels offering different options. You can also check out some unique movie features, such as trailers or the soundtrack if you like.
Avoiding the Common Flaws
The biggest problem I have with most racing games on the iPhone — or any iOS device — is that you usually have to lean or tilt the phone to get the car to turn. Between pivoting the phone constantly and trying to tap virtual buttons on the screen, it can get quite irritating. That’s why I typically don’t play (or review) racing games.
Fast & Furious 6 avoids this problem by turning the game into a series of quicktime events. For example, each race starts off with a launch. To get the best start, you need to tap the Launch button just as the proverbial checkered flag drops. If you want to drift, you tap the Drift button just as you enter a certain segment on the course. And of course, there’s shifting and nitrous to work with as well, all of them just requiring a quick tap or hold of a button to progress. That keeps things simple, and fun as well.
The Pretty Stuff
The graphics in the game are pretty spectacular. The cars show reflections in the paint, the streets have a glossy appearance and the lighting in the background is impressive. On the Retina display on the iPhone 5, this is just a good looking game. It’s not Infinity Blade, but it’s up there.
The Evil Inside
The problem, as it is with most free games, is that in-app purchases make a sinister appearance. Each race earns you money, and some earn you golden FF tickets. As you play, you’ll need to modify your car so you can beat faster rides, and to do that, you need to spend the money or tickets. Of course, if you want to get those tickets faster, you can buy them.
But that’s not the insidious part to me. What offends me the most is that your car takes gas. And of course, when it runs out of gas, you can’t race any further. To get gas, you can spend the money or tickets that you’ve earned, sure. Problem is, the cost for gas is exponentially higher than most upgrades, making it almost a given that if you want to continue, you’ll be forced to make an in-app purchase. That’s crap. Admittedly, you can earn gas just by sitting around and waiting, but that can kill a vibe when you’re in the middle of a big session.
Overall, F&F 6 is a fun game to play. It is a bit repetitive — drift, race, get money, spend money, wash, rinse, repeat — but that’s not a bad thing. This type of game has a short shelf life anyways, so for the month or two that we’re playing it, I’ll have a good time. And since it’s free — assuming you ignore all that IAP stuff — then there’s nothing to worry about.
What’s unfortunate is that the game doesn’t have more depth. With a bit more to it, this could be a game that I could really sink my teeth into. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and it probably won’t be with this type of licensed app. Oh well, I suppose there’s next time.