Spare a thought for the poor old racer. It's one of the few genres still struggling to make the transition to touchscreens successfully.
With no hope of console-style analogue controls to help players glide gracefully around curves, iOS racing games have frequently been erratic affairs.
Those that do succeed on iPhone and iPad work by thinking differently - DrawRace, for instance, harnesses the power of a single finger to deliver its fearsomely compelling speed scribbler.
Slingshot Racer features an equally novel core concept, and the result is a game that's just as effective as RedLynx's single-digit masterpiece at delivering those tyre-squealing thrills.
On your marks, get set, prod!
Slingshot Racing's another top-down, one-finger affair - the game takes care of acceleration while you tap the screen to fire out grappling hooks that automatically latch onto trackside posts. You'll continue orbiting around it until you either hit a wall or remove your finger.
It's hard to quite know where skill comes into it at first, but, as it turns out, it's all in the timing. The trick to generating and maintaining speed is nailing the tightest line possible, pulling in close around corners, then letting go of the grapple as you arc around. That way, you can take the straights dead-on, hitting boosts pads where possible.
Get the trajectory wrong, and you'll fly off into the side of the track, losing valuable time until you're close enough to the next grapple point to fix your mistakes.
It's a wonderfully tactile system, which is easy enough to understand, yet takes some time to master. Once you've conquered this control mechanism, though, you'll discover a more measured, though no less skillful, racing experience.
Slingshot Racing offers 64 unlockable tracks, split into groups of four. Each "tour" spins the core grappling mechanic out in a number of inventive directions.
Basic races pit you against three other cars in a dash to cross the finish line first; time trials do exactly what they say on the tin; the pickups race tasks you with gathering objects as quickly as possible; while in the Chomper mode you try to avoid the huge metal snow plow bringing up the rear.
Poke With Friends
There's even a multiplayer mode included, in which up to four human opponents can race against one another on a single device. You can take your pick from any of the tracks available, and it's as chaotically entertaining as you'd expect. Sadly, online play isn't offered yet, but we live in hope.
That Slingshot Racing tops things off with an incredibly appealing art style (which looks great on the new iPad) and slick presentation across the board is really just a bonus.
While its somewhat hands-off setup won't be to everyone's liking, Slingshot Racing still delivers an inventive, accessible, and hugely satisfying arcade racing experience.
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