Developer: Polarbit AB
Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store
Raging Thunder-The developers over at Polarbit are no newcomers to the iPhone scene, even if you may not have heard of them yet. They're the minds behind such acclaimed games as Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D and SSX3. The release of their newest title, Raging Thunder, marks the first time the company has released an iPhone app under their name and without any collaboration or third party publisher.
The experience those working at Polarbit gained by developing racing games like Nitro Kart 3D and Indy 500, is easily noticeable in the quality of games they offer. They know what works and what doesn't, and have successfully incorporated the most desired features in handheld gaming — including WLAN multiplayer for up to four players and 4 single player modes — into a neat little package that costs just under 4$. The controls are well calibrated from the get-go and can be easily modified to accommodate the player's style of gaming, through sensitivity and control settings.
With so many different styles of racing games, from uber-realistic driving simulation games like Gran Turismo to karting classics like Mario Kart, it's hard to place Raging Thunder in a particular category.
The best way to describe the gameplay would be to compare it to the classic Cruisin' arcade games. The way you shift around the iPhone to move is fairly similar to the feel of those old arcade steering wheels and the Boost feature provides that same over the top feeling of acceleration in the game.
Raging Thunder even comes complete with a collision and tackling system, to take your opponents out of the race for good. The only thing missing from the classic Cruisin' series is the Catch-Up option, but I'm just being picky.
From a visual point of view, considering the limited hardware, the graphics were way more than I expected. Even more impressive is that Ragning Thunder runs at an amazing frame rate in unparelled smoothness. After playing for roughly 4 hours through the 10 ridiculously challenging courses, I hadn't noticed a single glitch, delay or lag. Simply put, it's a rock solid game that would please both racing nuts and gamers alike.