Game Reviews

Disc Drivin'

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Disc Drivin'
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Driving as an activity isn't always fun. Speeding down the autobahn is exhilarating - driving to the pharmacy is boring. It's the same activity, but there's a critical difference: speed, fun, excitement make the driving enjoyable.

For all its effort to provide competent gameplay, Disc Drivin' isn't entertaining. While it's decently designed and eager to deliver a competitive experience, playing it feels more like a chore than exhilarating race. More features might instill value, but the core concept just isn't fun.

Hard disc drive

A racing variation on pub game shuffleboard, Disc Drivin' has you racing a small disc through closed courses. You take turns with another player, flicking your disc until someone reaches the finish line.

Obstacles and power-ups try to spice things up, ranging from ramps that send your disc flying through the air to oil slicks that spin out your ride.

Along with pass-around multiplayer, the game supports local wi-fi and Bluetooth competition. There's also online play, although curiously developer Pixelocity has declined to integrate Game Center or OpenFeint and opted for its own network.

It would have been preferable to tap into an existing social gaming network, but at least the online functionality is here.

Mundane multiplayer

There's no single-player Career mode or anything of the sort - Disc Drivin' puts all its eggs into the multiplayer basket. Unfortunately, this highlights the weakness inherent in its turn-based racing concept: it's a drag.

While turn-based multiplayer works in the context of strategy and role-playing games, it doesn't feel right for a racer. Disc Drivin' is slow, pedantic, and downright boring. Flicking a disc down a track feels more like a lame family reunion picnic game than fun-filled portable racer.

It doesn't help that the game is built to be slow. It takes a couple of seconds to take a turn, but minutes and hours before your turn comes around again. Sure, you can opt for pass-around multiplayer if you want a speedier race, but even these aren't that exciting. More tortoise than hare, to be sure.

Fused disc

Disc Drivin's problems are compounded by the fact that races are only between two players. Real Racing 2 has 16 players online and this turn-based bore can't manage more than two? I say this not to draw a comparison between the two games, but to highlight that it's possible to do robust multiplayer on iPhone and iPod touch, and developer Pixelocity has declined to go for it. [Note: Up to four players can compete online, but only using your friends list; you can only do head-to-head randomly.]

Then there are the annoyances. Ramps, for instance, sound like a fun way to fling your disc ahead of the competition, but they can send your disc off the track completely.

There's also the frustration of accidentally touching the screen and your turn ending without your disc moving forward much. Unsurprisingly, this kills your chances of winning a race.

Disc Drivin' achieves a basic level of quality that makes it playable, bu there's a distinct lack of fun that stems not from missing features - although there are some - but from its fundamentally uninteresting concept.

Disc Drivin'

Slow turn-based racing makes Disc Drivin' a mediocre game that lacks fun and excitement
Score