You can't help but think of Daisy Duke from American TV show The Dukes of Hazzard when playing Reckless Racing. Like the pretty country girl with the short shorts, it's quite the looker and its gameplay covers the essentials.
It's a verifiable off-road hootenanny replete with stunning graphics, physics that put you on the edge of your seat, and online multiplayer guaranteed to keep you playing long after the single-player game is put to rest.
Reckless Racing comes as an easy recommendation, despite the single-player campaign needing a tune up and important multiplayer features being sorely missed.
The gang's all here
Given your choice of six characters each with their own unique rides, you're thrust into off-road competition in five different venues (there are ten tracks in total, five of which are reverse designs of the original bunch).
Simulation handling is out the window - instead you're sliding through one bend after another in this drift racer.
It takes a few races to get a feel for the mechanics, but once you do it's great fun. Expertly designed tracks cut through bubbling creeks and twist along precipitous cliffs, which serve to ratchet up the tension. It's enough to make even Daisy Duke change her shorts.
Thrasher Hill is my favourite course with its dangerously unprotected cliffs. The risk of careening off the cliff is real, but pulling off a drift that takes your car right to the edge is downright exhilarating.
Every race is filled with such moments to the point that the game is as much about racing as it is about seeing how far can you push your luck in these awesome levels.
Gunning for glory
The sheer pleasure of tearing up the tracks motivates you to stick with the game in light of the loosely structured single-player campaign.
Rather than organising races into tournaments or offering a series of rewards and unlocks for winning races, much of the game is open from the start. Each venue has Bronze, Silver, and Gold difficulty levels that can be won for those respective prizes.
You have to unlock the reverse versions of the five original tracks by earning medals (which takes all of ten minutes), but that's the extent of the campaign. More can be done to bring structure to the experience, which in turn would keep you engaged earning medals and unlocking goodies like new cars, venues, or other trinkets.
One solution would be to bring together the three single-player modes - Dirt Rally, Hot Lap, and Delivery - into a cohesive campaign.
All three modes are good - especially Delivery, where you race to pick up and drop off packages within a time limit - so reorganising them into a series of events as part of a larger progressive campaign could instill more drive behind the single-player game.
Where's the social?
Online multiplayer is an attractive complement to single-player, although it too could use more features. The technical performance is stellar and racing in real-time against three other players is a blast.
For a quick race here and there, it works. However, an infusion of features could transform an amusing multiplayer experience into a fantastically fun one.
Reckless Racing curiously opts out of integrating Game Center or any other social gaming network in favour of a proprietary setup. Unfortunately, this means no online profile pages for viewing yours and other players' stats, no option to invite friends to play, and no way of hosting private races, among other things.
Beefing up multiplayer with a performance-based ranking/leveling up system running parallel to the leaderboards would also encourage greater investment of time.
Improvement considerations aside, Reckless Racing offers top-notch gameplay and a phenomenal presentation. In the end, it's the racing that matters most, and on that count this is a game that delivers.
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