Motor racing used to be so simple. It's always mattered what car you drove, of course, but technology used to take its place much further behind driver ability.
Put simply, the driver with the best mix of guts, judgement and sheer racing nous usually came out on top.
Pocket Racing harks back to such times. It’s not about differentials, diffusers, and other items of race car technology beginning with ‘d’ that I don’t understand. It’s about pure racing.
That’s not to say that Measured Software’s game is an accurate simulation of racing. Hell no. It’s far too much fun for that.
You view your selected car (from a choice of five) from a zoomed out, top-down perspective. Acceleration around each of the five tracks is automatic, and you don’t have to worry about braking – it’s handled for you whenever you steer.
This steering is a simple case of touching the right side of the screen to turn clockwise and the left for anti-clockwise. If you’ve ever played Micro Machines or the original Grand Theft Auto, you’ll be right at home with this approach.
Front row finish
Your only racing rival is a ghost, which is based either on one of your own previous times or one of your fellow gamers'. In an excellent touch, you can select an opponent to race from the online high score table, which not only gives you an idea of where you stand in the rankings, but also what you need to do to improve.
There are a few little niggles that spoil the package slightly, such as having to scroll all the way through from the top of the high score table in order to get to the ‘mere mortal’ times.
You’ll also likely notice a less than smooth framerate if you’re running the game on anything less than a 1GHz beast like a Nexus One or a Desire. Given the simplicity of the game, I find it a little tough to swallow that my usually more-than-capable Milestone doesn’t seem to be up to the job.
Still, both of these issues can be rectified in future updates. As it stands, Pocket Racing is an excellent addition to the Android Market, and will provide a fun challenge whatever your racing credentials.