Some games just manage to capture excitement perfectly. It's the last lap, and I'm scraping bumpers with the car in front of me. The rumble strips at the edge of the road are trying to rattle my teeth out of my head.
There's a mad dash for space at the final corner, push comes to shove and my opponent's backend slides out. I gun it past him, and take the chequered flag. An audible whoop escapes my lips, and for a brief moment I feel like a winner.
I'm not a winner though. I was battling for seventh place. I spent a good chunk of the first lap pointing in the wrong direction. But Grid Autosport is thrilling whether you're leading the pack or trying to barge your way through it. It's just that good.
Pedal to the screen
The game fits into the same genre as the likes of Real Racing 3, but there's a big difference here. Grid is a premium experience. There are no IAPs, no wait-timers, and no currencies. It is, purely and simply, a racing simulator.
Which means it's tough as old boots. On the hardest difficulty settings, with the driver aids turned off, tiny mistakes will send you ploughing into gravel traps. Even on the easiest mode, with the game holding your hand, victory is rarely guaranteed.
But you shouldn't let that difficulty put you off. There's a perfect thrill to every corner here, and every collision or mistake will see you gritting your teeth and pushing things even further as you try and catch up.
The touchscreen controls are nigh on perfect, and there's a huge variety of options. You can even go so far as customising the controls to best suit the way you drive. There are numerous camera angles, and you can play around with the settings to create your own difficulty strata.
Plus the game looks stunning. Seriously, it's one of the best looking games I've played on my iPhone. Everything glitters, the car models are incredible - even the crowds seem more animated and alive than usual.
And at the core of it all is that racing experience. That full-throttle, edge of the seat racing experience that sees your palms sweating and your pulse racing. More than once I've screamed uselessly at people as message notifications have popper up over the action.
I love cars now
Grid Autosport is the game that the App Store has been waiting for. It's full of petrol-fuelled fantasies, drips allure from all of its nooks and crannies, and is deep enough to lose yourself in for days on end.
But on top of that, beyond all the gewgaws and shininess, there's the fact that it'll make you yelp in joy when you finish seventh. Now tell me the last time a mobile game made you do that?
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