Game Reviews

Need For Speed: Shift

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Need For Speed: Shift

Cars don't easily impress me. I'm more interested in the quality of its radio than the fine tuning of its suspension or its engine size, and generally the lack of interest extends to racing games.

But Need for Speed: Shift offers cars and tracks that are so good-looking it's impossible not to be impressed by these over-the-top, petrol guzzling Clarkson specials.

That's the first thing you'll notice about this latest addition to the prolific racing franchise - the stunning visuals. And to be quite honest they’re extraordinary enough to carry the whole game, so the exciting, high-speed driving mechanics are pure bonus.

As with most Need for Speed games, it's not simply a matter of circling racetracks. You have a career to build, and that involves nailing first place as often as possible in order to shore up the cash and pimp out your (already gorgeous) ride. Tuning the aerodynamics, nitro boost and other factors help you to custom build a car ideally suited to your particular size of lead boot.

The cars auto-accelerate, which is generally a welcome feature in mobile racing games as it frees up your thumb for steering, boosting and drifting. The latter of these dust-burning mechanics is especially intriguing in Need for Speed: Shift, requiring you to hit the ‘5’ button as you enter a corner, then fight to keep a cursor in the centre of a ‘drift’ meter.

This careful control allows you to power out of a corner faster than if you took that turns as if you were on your driving test. Mess it up, however, and your car spins to be frustrating halt.

The size, speed and quality of the visuals are sadly weighted down by a complete lack of audio accompaniment (other than an irritating ditty repeating in the background), but it's still hard to be anything but gobsmacked by the game's outstanding presentation and impressively accessible control system.

If it's time for a new racing game, there's really only one choice on the mobile platform right now.

Need For Speed: Shift

A strangely mute game that more than makes up for its silence with some sterling visuals, super-slick gameplay and thumb-bendingly and unique controls. Power drifting and slipstreaming deliver a depth of handling rarely seen on the mobile platform that will delight even the most hardcore fans of the genre
Spanner Spencer
Spanner Spencer
Yes. Spanner's his real name, and he's already heard that joke you just thought of. Although Spanner's not very good, he's quite fast, and that seems to be enough to keep him in a regular supply of free games and away from the depressing world of real work.