However flashy a racer may be, however many gizmos and gadgets it might flood the track with, the focus must always be to reward those with an aptitude for driving.

Arcade racers, by design, tend to make life a little easier for those of us who look like a clutz on Gran Turismo or hang at the back of the pack on Forza.

The presence of nitro boosts does no harm, but, as lost hours taking on the world's best on Blur has taught me, it's not a substitute for actual talent.

Unless you're playing Need for Speed: The Run.

Hacky and Hollywood

So common are Need for Speed's releases on mobile that you might think new games in the series essentially code themselves. But, for once, The Run actually feels like a different proposition, if only because it appears to put the series in reverse gear.

From the outside, the format seems to follow the standard arcade racer model. Taking you from one location to the next, Need for Speed: The Run is a mixture of races and speed-based challenges, loosely tied together by a typically low-budget Hollywood movie style plot.

The races themselves offer up the kind of fare both Need for Speed and rival Asphalt have arguably mastered over the last few years: races built around the idea of keeping things clean on the straights, sliding around corners without incident, and using boosts to help you to the finish line.

Need for Speed: The Run has one of the three pinned down – nitro boosts, coupled with the ability to slow down time for short periods – but EA appears to have forgotten about the other two.

Muddy muddle

Running off track for even a second can wreck a race, with the car getting stuck to the mud almost as if the back were caught on something.

AI can be equally infuriating. One of the game's non-race modes – a speed trap, where you're required to drive as fast as you can through set points on the track – is often sabotaged by on-track cars that hamper their own progress seemingly just to take you off course.

It's almost certainly a bug rather than a genuine tactic, though takedowns are possible - even if you're never entirely sure how you managed it.

Most problematic of all, however, is the fact that even mastering some of the tracks – tightly nipping around the corners and flying down the straights – won't win you the races. Need for Speed: The Run seems overly reliant on its power-ups for success, leading to frustrating restarts aplenty where you're reliant on luck delivering a clear path for your boosts.

Need for Speed: The Run has the feel of a half-baked game. EA has clearly thought about delivering as much variety as it can in terms of actual race content, but it's let the quality of the on-track encounters themselves run away as a result.