“ Developer: RedLynx Ltd „
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Draw Race is one of those concepts that makes you wonder why no-one came up with it before. Standard racing games test your reflexes and ability to drive a fast car around a track. Draw Race takes a much more slower, considered approach which, at first, seems at odds with the idea of a "race". You are presented with a track and have to draw what you think is the best racing line around it. Once you have done that, the race will begin. You sit back and watch as your car follows the line you created and has to beat a computer controlled racer.
It's a brilliantly simple idea and one which has been very well executed. The graphics look pretty, giving you a top-down view of each track which are populated by some cute little racing cars of different colours. Tracks are well-defined and the graphics are crisp and clear; simple without being simplistic.
Track design generally is good and the difficulty level well-balanced. Tracks start off fairly easy, with nice long stretches where you can build up speed and fairly shallow corners that allow you to master the steering before you move onto the harder, more twisty-courses which will test your ability to choose the right racing line. Taking exactly the right line becomes increasingly important as you progress and being off-line by even just a few millimetres can result in a crucial extra second being added to your time, meaning you end up finishing behind the computer car.
One gripe I did have is that on later tracks the course design becomes so complex that it can sometimes be difficult to work out which way you are supposed to go around them, let alone work out the best line. You are simply shown your starting point and the initial direction you must travel; after that you are on your own. There were a couple of times when I was told that I had made an illegal lap and had to do it all again - but was given no clues as to which was I WAS meant to go. After this happened a few times I started to get a bit annoyed.
In order to progress, you need to beat the computer opponent, and as with any game, things can get slightly frustrating if you reach a level that you can't do. True, races are usually bunched into batches of around 5, so if you can't beat one, you can move onto an alternative one; but you won't be able to open up the next set of five levels until you've beaten all the ones in the previous set. There were times when I was close to throwing the game across the room, as I just couldn't beat a level, which prevented me from making further progress in the game.
Controls have been brilliantly implemented. From the description so far, you might be thinking that the game is going to be pretty simple. After all, how difficult can it be to draw a line around a track? The answer is (on later levels at least): surprisingly so. The main reason is that because the controls are well-balanced to make sure you have to think carefully about both the racing line you choose and the speed at which you progress.
Dragging your finger quickly across the screen means that your car will travel faster on that section, moving it slower causes it to slowdown or even brake. Speed is particularly important around corners as trying to take them too fast will result in "drifting" which will slow you down dramatically, losing crucial time and ground on your computer opponent. Thus, it's not just about drawing your race line well, but also about judging the speed at which to draw, making races far more tactical than you might think.
A number of different modes give some additional lastability. The default mode (and the one I play the most) is a race against the computer. You plot your course, then race against a computer controlled car which you have to beat in order to progress to the next level. There are also two rather good additional modes that allow you to pit your wits against up to two other people. Essentially, you take it in turns to draw the preferred racing line for your individual car, then watch the race unfold to see who selected the best way. The addition of this competitive human element adds an extra dimension to the gameplay, although the fact you have to wait for your friend to draw their line means that the overall pace of the game is somewhat slower and the excitement levels a little more muted.
Long-term playability is the one major doubt I have about this game. Obviously, there is the option to go back and try and shave some time off you best lap time, or to raise your position in the online tables. Personally, though, I doubt I will ever want to go back and do this - once I've completed each level to my own satisfaction it's unlikely I will ever play them again. In fairness, there are quite a lot of levels provided, so even if you do only play each one until you have beaten it, there's a reasonable amount of challenge and game time here. The downside is that there have not been any updates to this game recently (certainly not in the form of new tracks), so I suspect the developers are no longer actively supporting it.
Because it's been around for a while, Draw Race is now actually free to download, which makes it an even more attractive title. There are the inevitable in-app purchases built in to try and tempt you into parting with your money, but for once, these are not essential to allow you to progress.
(c) Copyright SWSt 2012