Game Reviews

Burning Tires 3D

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| Burning Tires 3D
Burning Tires 3D
| Burning Tires 3D

Just as your old Mum will tell you, looks aren't everything. But they sure count for a lot – if you don't think so then you're a better soul than us, or just a good fibber.

Looks count if you're buying a car, shirt or, indeed, a mobile phone. They count when you're playing the dating game (though don't tell our partners we said that), and they're integral to how you compose yourself.

As a 3D motor racing game, Burning Tires 3D will attract a lot of attention just because of its flashy visuals. But can it back them up by offering a decent playing experience, too?

Things look promising – in all senses. Burning Tires 3D is an arcade racer through and through, so you can kiss goodbye to absolute realism. The races take place on tracks set in three differing environments – one hot desert, one hotter lava world and one not hot at all polar landscape – and they're filled with jumps, chasms and things to crash into.

Consequently, the cars you'll be driving are built tough and feature chunky tires and four-wheel drive. There isn't a single licensed vehicle among them, but the cars look crazy enough that you don't mind.

You will mind, though, that the first and only car you can select at the beginning of the game is an ugly-handling green thing that looks surprisingly ordinary. It's not an unsalvageable situation, though, as you only need to finish the opening tournament in first place to unlock two new cars.

As with all such racing games, you get points appropriate to your finishing position and, with just three races in each championship, you don't have many chances to make good.

But make good you will – eventually. Getting used to your car's handling is a monumentally fiddly task, and you'll never feel completely at ease with it. And thanks to the bendy and bumpy tracks, you'll probably have covered more distance laterally across the race track than you will straight along it.

This is in small part due to the fact that it can be difficult to see what's coming up on the track, at least on handsets with smaller screens (Burning Tires 3D looks better on a Nokia N70 or similar than it does on something like a Sony Ericsson w810i). But it's much more because of the turning controls that are, in a word, horrible.

You'll find that as you press left or right on your handset's directional pad, your car turns far too sharply to begin with, and not sharply enough later on. The turning isn't graded, leading to your car steering at a constant rate. So if you find yourself drifting to the side of the track on one of the few straights in the game and you steer in the opposite direction, you'll rapidly be heading into the scenery on the other side of the track. If you could view your racing line from above, it would be a series of zig-zags from one side of the track to the other.

This poor control spoils what fun Burning Tires 3D has to offer. There are other faults we don't like (chief among them that even if you complete a flawless lap, the three computer racers are right on your tail to overtake you) but none as irksome as the problem with the handling.

Given that there's no shortage of great 3D racing mobile games (Project Gotham Racing, Need For Speed Carbon, Fishlab's own Planet Rider) that play as well as they look, you really should make an effort to avoid being seduced by Burning Tires 3D's beauty.

Burning Tires 3D

A pretty 3D racing game that unfortunately plays as bad as it looks good