Sponsored Feature: Oyatsukai talks Final Freeway for iPhone

Speed racer

Sponsored Feature: Oyatsukai talks Final Freeway for iPhone
| Final Freeway

Let's begin with stating the obvious. Final Freeway, the new iPhone and iPad racer from developer Oyatsukai, bears a few similarities to Sega's arcade classic Out Run.

The car is red and looks like a Ferrari, the gameplay is focused on racing against the clock, you can choose from a selection of laid back soundtracks - the similarities are there for all to see.

But Final Freeway isn't just an Out Run clone. “Out Run was one of the sources of inspiration," says developer Davide Pasca, "but the goal when making the game was to loosely portray the general style rather the experience of that one specific game.

"The now forgotten rendering style and the more straightforward driving experience is what we think sets the game apart.”

Baby you can drive my car

Final Freeway can definitely consider itself fairly unique in that it's not a street racer, a karting game, or a realistic driving sim. It's focused on simple, arcade-style racing action.

Everything in the game is designed to make it as accessible as possible to any gamer. The controls are easy to pick up, with the accelerometer used to steer, and touchscreen buttons designated for acceleration and braking.

There are no direct competitors to race, with your only objective to reach the next checkpoint in time. To complicate matters there's endless traffic to dodge, as well as an ever increasing number of twists and turns in the road the further you progress in the course.

The long and winding road

With eight areas to race through, each with its share of colourful and varied scenery, you'll see some odd sights as you speed through the game.

You won't get long to look at them, though, as the game generates an impressive sense of speed thanks to its smooth framerate. Pasca says that getting the game to its current speed was a priority during its development.

“The key factor for the gameplay are controls and framerate. A lot of testing and tweaking went into making sure that the controls worked well and that they felt as natural as possible for the player” says Pasca.

“The game also had to be fast, so we developed most of it on an iPhone 3G with iOS 4.0, to be sure that it could only run smoother with newer devices.”

With its detailed 2D art-style Final Freeway has an instant retro appeal, but Pasca says the graphics were more difficult than many people might think to create, due to the larger support available for those creating 3D racing titles.

Final Freeway is not something that can be done by picking up a 3D engine. It's a very customised work. In a sense it's both an upgrade and a downgrade, but one that has been well received by experienced and casual players alike,” says Pasca.

Getting better all the time

Released less than two months ago, Final Freeway has already enjoyed three updates, adding new tracks and game modes (such as Time Attack and Course Shuffle options). And according to Pasca, there's more to come.

“We're trying to alternate between content updates and features updates. Update 1.4 will add the much requested iPod music playback, and by version 1.5 we'll probably add more content.

"One thing to consider is that every time that we add new content, it becomes a technical challenge not to spoil the experience on the older and less powerful devices,” says Pasca.

For just 59p / $0.99 / €0.79c, Final Freeway offers a lot of content for your money, and Pasca suggests an eventual price rise isn't out of the question. If you're on the fence, best act now. An Android version of the game is also on the cards, with Pasca hard at work to ensure the conversion goes smoothly. “Right now, the main goal for the Android version is to make its performance and playability as good as possible. Android development has proven more difficult than on iPhone. Of course, the Android version will have all the features and content of the iPhone version,” says Pasca.