Game Reviews

Bang Bang Racing THD

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Bang Bang Racing THD

With all the changes affecting Formula 1 over the last few years, Bang Bang Racing THD’s idea of adding TNT to the track doesn’t sound all that far-fetched to this long-suffering F1 fan.

What’s odd is that despite the name suggesting otherwise, Bang Bang Racing THD actually takes more of an old-skool approach to its motor racing than the real deal.

Yes, there are exploding barrels, oil slicks, and - Bernie’s favourite - artificial water on the circuit, but they end up merely a sideshow to the real obstacles the game throws at you.

Killer Cars

If eye candy is what you’re after - like the pit lane girls on the F1 starting grid - then Bang Bang Racing THD has you covered.

The tracks are filled with incidental detail like crowds and roadside objects, while the cars themselves look great, even when the rear spoiler is hanging dangerously close to the ground.

Control over your (hopefully not too beaten-up) car is maintained by one of five touchscreen methods - no accelerometer controls here.

There’s enough variety to find one with which you’ll be comfortable (I went with the Full Control option that allowed for manual acceleration), though it can be tricky to locate the option in the first place.

This is because the menus aren’t exactly intuitive. The control selection, for instance, is made via a small box that appears pre-race / pre-championship. Putting an arrow button to confirm every selection, meanwhile, sounds like a good idea, but it ends up just getting in the way.

An airbag saved my life

The racing itself is thankfully less opaque, taking the form of the classic ‘semi-top-down’ racers like Ivan Ironman or, more recently, Reckless Racing.

The eight tracks you’ll be racing on are not only pretty, but they're also well designed, with a good selection of tight technical corners and rolling chicanes complemented by semi-frequent shortcuts for those with eagle eyes.

Scattered along the track are the aforementioned barrels of explosives, oil, and water - all of which are criminally underused in terms of gameplay.

None of the obstacles have much impact on your car - not even the exploding barrel - with only the fastest tier of vehicles affected to any noticeable degree by oil and water on the road.

These latter tiers (unlocked as you beat each of the four championships) are the most fun to drive, zipping downhill and through straights fast enough to keep a seasoned racer on their toes as they attempt to powerslide through a hairpin bend.

Hey man, slow down

Or, at least, they would be pretty fast if the game didn’t consistently suffer from slowdown. Our test Optimus 2x handset chugged on practically every corner, going so far as to crash completely when seven of the eight cars were involved in a pileup on the snowy (and slow) Alpine track.

Things are a little better on the Asus Transformer, but it still can't keep a consistent speed when more than one car is on-screen.

Even more damning, there’s no way of saving a championship if you want to leave the app or the game crashes, which isn’t the most mobile-friendly design - especially considering the later championships can last a good 15-20 minutes at a time.

Other minor niggles like having to hit Online Stats before it signs into OpenFeint (which meant me missing out on achievements), and the absence of multiplayer only help pour more water on Bang Bang Racer THD’s fuse.

There’s some solid racing hidden under the choppy framerate. It’s just that, like modern Formula 1, you may find yourself wishing Bang Bang Racing THD eased back on the pyrotechnics a little and let the racing take centre stage instead.

Bang Bang Racing THD

Bang Bang Racing THD’s pretty graphics and strong track design are ultimately let down by consistent slowdown and the inability to save mid-tournament
Will Wilson
Will Wilson
Will's obsession with gaming started off with sketching Laser Squad levels on pads of paper, but recently grew into violently shouting "Tango Down!" at random strangers on the street. He now directs that positive energy into his writing (due in no small part to a binding court order).