Fastlane Street Racing is a modern day reincarnation of arguably the best arcade racing series ever developed in Ridge Racer. For those of you unfamiliar with the fifteen year history of Ridge Racer, it’s a racing game that places an equal emphasis on style and substance. Racing is fast and furious while navigating through urban environments that have a unique slickness all its own. Atod AB was smart in referencing the lineage and attributes that made Ridge Racer so great.
Does Fastlane Street Racing realize its potential or does it stall at the starting line?
In Fastlane Street Racing you race in high powered racing cars that have different areas of strengths (handling, acceleration, top speed etc.) against three other cars. While we all know the main objective of any traditional racing game is to finish in first place, the twist that Fastlane Street Racing integrates is the concept of drifting. The cliff notes method of drifting is to lay off the gas pedal while steering hard to the left or right. The net gain from drifting is the advantage of getting through tough corners in a track without the slowing down from using brakes. For the advanced courses that have many sharp twists and turns, drifting is required to compete with the tough AI.
The scope in Fastlane Street Racing is very impressive. Single player modes consist of Arcade, Challenge and Time Trial modes playable in either easy or hard difficulty levels. The modes are fairly self explanatory as the path of progression on all modes are all the same. Winning races, challenges and time trials unlocks content such as cars, car skins and additional tracks.
Atod AB nailed the controls in this game. Fastline Street Racing used the iPhone’s accelerometer to control steering while having on screen buttons for braking and accelerating. Every subtle tilt and turn I made was captured while controlling my car which made the driving very satisfying. While I found the default sensitivity perfect for my race style, others can adjust it for their preferences in the options menu. Since this game is largely fashioned after the Ridge Racer series, I have experience in this style of racer. It is important to note that the physics and gameplay are unapologetically arcade tilted, and I can totally see some people being turned off by the drift heavy gameplay. So while Fastlane Street Racing felt like an old glove to me, it may feel foreign and uncomfortable to some casual gamers.
Fastlane Street Racing is making a bold statement as a contender for the most technically and aesthetically impressive game on the iPhone. The car models impress as they contain great detail without the ugly blockiness seen in other iPhone racers. Fastlane’s tracks have variety and are rendered beautifully. Weird and sporadic slowdown in gameplay - primarily in tunnels - is frustrating and leads to problems with controlling the cars. Luckily, the slowdown doesn’t last long, but it’s noticeable and annoying nonetheless. I wouldn’t be surprised if the graphics engine - along with a stellar upbeat/techno music soundtrack - is pushing the limits of the iPhone hardware.
Fastlane Street Racing brings the total package. With a big lineup of tracks, polished gameplay, gorgeous graphics, and a good number of gameplay modes, this an easy game to be excited about. Even with the lack of any multiplayer modes and some annoying graphical slowdown during gameplay, Fastlane Street Racing is a steal at five bucks. Well done Atod AB!
Fastlane Street Racing lite is a demo version that allows users to get a slight preview without plunking down the coinage for the real thing. It has fewer features, fewer cars and fewer challenges. But that hasn't stopped it from hitting the "Top Free Apps" charts in the App Store.