Game Reviews

Motor World: Car Factory

Star onStar onStar onStar onStar off
Motor World: Car Factory

This is a freemium game review, in which we give our impressions immediately after booting a game up, again after three days, and finally after seven days. That's what the strange sub-headings are all about. Click on the links to go straight to day three or day seven.

I am not a manly man. I find it hard to grow a beard, unlike this chap. I'm not a hunky outdoors man, like this fella. I'm a weed, unlike this guy.

But the one area I can "fake it 'til I make it" is in the car department, as I played a load of Gran Turismo growing up. I know why an FF car is different to an FR car, what BHP means in relation to the power of a vehicle's engine, and the minute handling differences between the Impreza and the Evolution.

But I'm always happy to have my car knowledge enhanced, and luckily I've been handed Motor World: Car Factory to review. Maybe I'll learn about the detailed workings of both car creation and manual labour. If so, it's full steam ahead to man island.

First impressions

Well, isn't this just a lovely bit of delicious. Motor World: Car Factory features 8-bit art and stolen era-relevant sound effects. The speech brings to mind a squeaky and robotic cockatoo, and as your workers leap to work the jump sound from Super Mario Bros. plays. It's brilliantly anachronistic.

Which is the last thing I thought I'd say about a game from the usually very safe Mobage. Aesthetically speaking, this game oozes individuality from every chiptune-loving, sugar-fuelled, pop culture-punk pore.

The meat and potatoes of the gameplay are sound, but unremarkable. You start building a car. You keep tapping on your car to make your workers continue to build it. Your workers finish building it. You sell it.

From this you make money and improve your workers, engage in research on Car Breeding (combining two cars to make a new one), and try to avoid running out of Doughnuts, which act as both experience points and a crude energy system.

There are special requests to fulfil, too, one of which is a drag racing mini-game that plays a lot like CSR Racing - albeit a CSR Racing you might find on the Atari Lynx. So far, I'm impressed.

Day 3: Pixel people

I can't stop playing Motor World: Car Factory, and I'm seriously considering dropping coin so I can play longer and harder. Its cavalier attitude and playful sense of humour create a potent hook.

I now have a decent enough car franchise, with space to sell four cars, a place to pump gas, and a tuning shop. These bring in the majority of the money, and while it can be time-consuming to build cars and then wait for them to sell, there's something fascinating about seeing a vehicle go from bare bones to finished product.

Making my metallic fantasies a reality are my workers, and it's surprising how attached you become to them. Of my five employees, Eric - who wears a luchador mask - is my star assembly man, weighing in at a hefty Level 6 after I fed him loads of Doughnuts. However, the one I see a lot of potential in is Hailey, and I'm slowly working on bringing her up to Eric's level of experience.

As they advance through the experience ranks, they work harder and better in their jobs, but for a temporary boost I could instead feed the team special items. Some change their size and have no other discernible effect, but some prolong the period for which a character can work before he needs another Doughnut.

When not making cars, I'm catching industrial spies, fulfilling an order for an action movie, watching local news reports, or sponsoring competitions, I'm researching more effective ways of making said cars, or extracting even more value from the buildings on my forecourt.

There's plenty to keep on top of in Motor World: Car Factory, but you enjoy doing all of it, just for the next pay cheque and the next pixellated vehicle.

Day 7: Man, it's good

Yesterday I won 200 Doughnuts in the lottery.

Today Hailey surpassed Eric as the master mechanic of Xeromoto: her plucky determination and a binge on the aforementioned sweet treats has pushed her a full level past the wrestling-obsessed former master.

My imagined narrative between Eric and Hailey is a pretty good indication that I've become invested in Motor World: Car Factory far beyond the normal freemium building game. I'm just glad there are no accompanying toys, because I don't think my bank account could stand another round of abuse like that again.

But I want to spend money. I want to throw cash in Motor World's direction - not because I'm forced to, but because the developer deserves it. I now have my own avatar in the game (sadly underused as I have no friends on Mobage to show it off to), I'm slowly but surely filling out my car collection, and I'm over a quarter of the way to researching all the upgrades.

I've got my eye on another forecourt to increase the number of cars I can have ready to be sold at one time, and I can't wait until I can afford to do so, as the overly epic music that kicks in while building these structures is hilariously incongruous against the high-pitched squeaks of the team building it.

I've enthused about the game for the last seven days, but there are some niggles to mention before signing off.

The most obvious of these is that if you're impatient you're going to get frustrated. Build times for some vehicles can be eye-wateringly long, and extra buildings seemingly take forever to complete.

To upgrade cars to make them better takes finite currency, and you just don't earn enough of it naturally to do this across all your vehicles without spending real money. IAPs seem way too steep - a recurring theme at the moment in this genre.

And on occasion the camera is a mite tricky to control on an iPhone, mistaking swipes to pan across your land for gestures designed to pick up and fling workers.

These quibbles aside, please go and download Motor World: Car Factory - it's a raucous, rebellious, retro-reverential release that has personality by the wagon-full. Yes, you'll need to be patient at times. And, yes, its IAP value is suspect. But just existing in its silly and frivolous motoring world is a delight.

How are you getting on with the game? You can tell us and the rest of the PG community about your experiences by leaving a comment in the box below.

Motor World: Car Factory

Perky and punky, Motor World: Car Factory is a humdinger of a freemium-builder, only let down by its occasional attempt at convincing you to purchase squiffy IAPs through lengthy builds and optional improvements