Review: Forever Drive (iPhone/iPad): Tron Inspired Checkpoint Chasing on Your Own Tracks

DriveForever 2Aw man, I was supposed to have this review done weeks ago! I hit a little snag, you see: I couldn’t put the blasted game down long enough. “Lemme just check one more thing” always led to “Whoa, look at the time!” If that’s not enough of an endorsement for this great arcade racer, read on.

Forever Drive is a top down car racing game inspired by the arcade classics of yesteryear such as Out Run or Super Sprint. It is strictly a beat the clock affair as you sprint through winding curves and lazy, Sunday driving traffic to pass the next checkpoint before time runs out. Collect stars on the track and cruise through bonus zones on the far side of each turn to earn points while cleanly passing traffic and staying off of the sidewalls to raise your combo multiplier. The bonus zones provide a nice risk versus reward dilemma while the occasional power up drifting around the track provides a tantalizing morsel to pull you off the ideal driving line. It’s a classic formula that is every bit as addicting today as it was for the quarter munchers of that bygone era. Four different control schemes including tilt and a toggle for automatic acceleration ensures that everyone can Drive Forever. The bounding boxes that determine collisions on traffic vehicles feel a little large, but nothing that cannot be adapted to. Tailgating is a no-no in Forever City!

DriveForever 1All those points you’re racking up aren’t just for show on the OpenFeint powered leaderboards. Forever Drive features persistent experience point system for a vast array of unlockable goodies such as cars, skins, and background objects. The downside to this system is that level advancement pacing is downright glacial. After the first few levels, it can be hours before another one comes your way. For a game that is meant to be played in quick, three minute bursts, this can be frustrating. Tokens are available which grant a 10x XP multiplier for a session which brings the rate of your advancement back up to where you would expect it to be. You get three of these tokens to start with initially. Additional tokens are gained by competing rare in-game achievements or bought via in-app purchase.

So, we have a solid retro arcade racer beautifully stylized in glowy Tron-like graphics, but how are the tracks? The best term would be unique. Eschewing the traditional racing game paradigm of including a set number of prefabricated track layouts, Forever Drive crowdsources its courses to the masses. Following the lead of Little Big Planet and Infamous 2, Forever Drive includes a track creating “Build” mode that allows users to design their own track layouts and upload them to the cloud for everyone to enjoy. New tracks are seamlessly added from the vast library of user creations while you play the game ensuring the trip never gets stale.

Drive Forever track builderThe Build interface used to make these tracks is a work of sublime beauty. Simply trace a line with your finger from the start to end zone, switch modes to change height or add background objects, and tap a single button to share with other users. The game itself populates the track with checkpoints and bonuses automatically to keep everything functional. Creators are credited using their OpenFeint user ID and thumbs up/down buttons presented after every run lets the community curate the content themselves. The creation and sharing system could not be simpler and new tracks can be developed in minutes with no previous experience. Five slots are available for your use by default, but up to three more can be purchased at $1 each for enterprising architects.

Forever Drive is the perfect 3 minute mobile gaming experience while the persistent experience system and easy to use track creator will keep you coming back over and over again. Factor in the low price of free and Forever Drive is a must have.

Forever Drive is a universal app available for iPhone 3GS and above or iPad via iTunes. Reviewed on iOS 4.3, 5.0, and 5.0.1 iPad 2.

Reviewer Rating: 5/5 Stars – Excellent 5star

2 comments :

  1. Looks like fun, too bad there isn't a PC port yet. Maybe if they sell enough copies...

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  2. Not quite the same, but Trackmania Nations is free on Steam.

    ReplyDelete