Sports cars are like those long black leather jackets they wore in the Matrix. They look totally awesome when you see them on the big screen, but when you see some loser wandering out of a comic shop wearing one, it looks sorry. It's the same when some sporty hot rod has its exhaust pipe scraped as the driver goes over a speed bumps. Not so cool now, eh?
Such is the standard of cool that we use while behind the wheel of Fast and Furious: Pink Slip, which sounds more like some kind of woman's nightie than a white knuckle thrill ride. The game isn't quite as titillating as that, but it manages to turn out its fair share of impressive points.
As the subtitle suggests, races involve putting your car on the line. Lose and your car rides off with your competitor. Win and you get to put another gaudy Subaru with a tea tray over the back window on your council house driveway.
This collection of cars is pretty vital to your progression through the game because each has its own specification suited to different kinds of races.
During a standard race you want a good all-rounder that holds the road, but still allows you to drift into the corners to keep your speed up on the way out. In a drift race, a car that’s light on its back wheels allows you to rack up the points awarded for sliding around the track. Cop chases require you to choose a car with a top speed capable of escaping from the fuzz before they impound your ride.
There's also a unique type of race that's more akin to a rhythm game, called drag racing. Steering is handled automatically while you take control of the gear box and nitro. Hitting the gear stick at just the right moment to keep you ahead of the pack is the challenge here.
While it's definitely not the core of the action, it does epitomise the amount of thought Firemint has put into Pink Slip to differentiate it from the rest of the pack.
Naturally the graphics are quite spectacular and the sense of speed is blisteringly fast throughout, though for some reason the screen jitters uncomfortably when you’re sat still waiting for the green light. It's nothing major, since you're rarely sitting still.
Local multiplayer races are available between two devices (shame a few more cars can't join in, but it's no biggie). The most entertaining aspect of this mode is that pink slip betting still stands, so you literally win and lose cars between the two devices.
Depending on the experience of your opponent this can mean landing some pretty extravagant rides, not to mention adding genuine tension to the races.
Raw, rubber burning thrills are the focus here, rather than any kind of driving realism, but that’s no bad thing. There’s no denying that Fast and Furious: Pink Slip is the iPhone equivalent of a long black leather Matrix coat, but even 'slightly tragic vulgar cool' is still cool, so it's an embarrassed thumbs up to this adolescent racing rollercoaster ride.