It's one of the most exclusive social clubs in the world and you could be the next member to join...
Cars and video games is a classic recipe, so much so that there’s little opportunity to bring anything fresh or innovative to the table. The whole motorsport thing’s been done time and time again (Colin McRae, anyone?), Grand Theft Auto’s got the car boosting corner of the market covered, while the Driver series puts you behind the wheel of a covert cop car with which you’re tasked with driving criminals off the road. So Nokia is to be commended that Glimmerati, the newest addition to the N-Gage garage when it arrives in the showroom this summer, offers something a little bit different.
This time around you’re not a professional racing driver, career criminal or associated with any law enforcement agency. Nope, you’re a two-bit chancer with a recently-deceased uncle and a rather large inheritance. Which, somewhat questionably, you decide to use to fund a street racing habit in order to gain access to Club Glimmerati, a high-society (and high snob) racing gang. In order to progress up the club rankings you’re required to complete missions and tasks that other members set you, ranging from ramming other drivers off the road and chasing helicopters to the more traditional street race. Not all the action takes place on the blacktop; certain missions will find you behind the wheel of a speedboat in the harbour at Monaco. Real-world locations are as much a part of the game as the mission-based storyline and Milan, Paris and the Alps all play host to the vehicular action.
Of course, it does look as though you’ll need to take Nokia’s word on this, as you don’t actually see a great deal with the top-down viewpoint that the game employs. This is a break from the usual chase-camera view that racing games like Asphalt Urban GT use and it suits the N-Gage down to the ground as it doesn’t ask as much of the handset. As a result the action is fast and fluid, perfect for showing off the arcade-style handling to its best. If you’re after a detailed simulation in which you can alter gear ratios and your car’s suspension settings you’ll be disappointed but if you want tail-happy, power-sliding exuberance you’re on the right track.
At this point in time the only potential fly on the windscreen is the game’s ‘mature’ rating, which has been applied for the sexual innuendo that permeates the in-game conversations with the Club Glimmerati members. For a game that Nokia is championing as being something different, only to rely on a cliché as tired as the whole ‘supermodels in supercars’ gimmick, it’s disappointing. Whether this is enough to spoil the game as a whole is uncertain; look out for the full Pocket Gamer review later this summer.