Jan 21, 2013
Publisher: Electronic Arts
If you don’t want to buy a specialized controller, the iPad is arguably the ideal device on which to play racing games thanks to its ability to sense motion. Since you can rotate the iPad to simulate the action of a steering wheel, your interaction with the game feels much more direct and immediate than it would with a standard analog stick. However, the iPad’s lack of buttons can be a detriment; a true racing simulation would allow you to accelerate, brake and shift, but there’s a limit to how much interaction is possible when you’re using the iPad to steer. As a result, iPad racing games tend to be arcade affairs with limited control over the action.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted is no different; acceleration and shifting are automatic, so you’ll never get the feeling that you’re taking part in a real race. In addition, you might be a bit disappointed if you played the original Most Wanted on a computer or console back in 2005, as the iOS conversion lacks the original’s large world and ability to roam freely. Nevertheless, Need for Speed: Most Wanted is an action-packed racing game with better graphics and a better feeling of speed than its top competitor, Real Racing 2.
The game essentially follows the formula established by the Gran Turismo series; a map essentially serves as a placeholder for a list of races, most of which require specific types of cars that you can purchase with the winnings from previous races. Since there’s no story or need to travel from one race to the next, it’s simply a case of race, buy, repeat.
The tilt-based steering in Need for Speed: Most Wanted is incredibly responsive. If you don’t want to tilt, touch-based steering is also available. While driving, tapping the screen with the left thumb brakes and holding the right thumb while steering causes the car to drift, which recharges your car’s supply of nitrous more quickly. Swiping up with the right thumb activates the nitrous, giving your car a temporary speed boost. Quite frequently during the review process, we activated the nitrous when we had intended to drift into a turn. Races are rather easy to win, however, so this was seldom a serious issue.
While the iOS version of Need for Speed: Most Wanted may lack a story, exploration or a realistic driving simulation, it has so much style that you may not care. The graphics are among the best we’ve seen in any iOS title and the animation remains fluid at all times on our third-generation iPad. If you’re looking for an approachable iOS racing game with a great feeling of speed and not too much challenge, this may be the one for you.