About This Place

First started in late 2007, Kasey's Mobile Game Review (then just a regular feature of Kasey's Korner) started as a simul-post between here and IGN. Later I realized there's no reason to post it twice, when I can use the traffic on my own site. so, here we are, in 2010, and the mobile game industry has grown a bit. What do you think?

KMGR of "Flatout"

Flatout Windows box artImage via Wikipedia

Flatout is probably the game that launched the "race and wreck" genre, that later includes the Burnout series. Now that it's finally made its way to mobile, does the mobile retain the flavor? Sort of. However, the weak AI means the game isn't really that good.

Flatout mobile is a 2D racing game more in the spirit of "Sprint". You drive one of 5 vehicles (only 2 available at first, rest are unlocks) on a variety of surfaces, could be snow, dirt, or even tarmac, or combinations thereof. The "fun" part is you get "nitro charge" by bumping into things, preferably other cars, but obstacles and road barriers will do. You can even cut through the trees if you think that'll work. Also, there are obstacles like tires, logs, and such in the middle of roads and running into them will slow you down, which is bad, of course.

The game has 24 tracks, dividied into 3 "cups", bronze, silver, and gold, in order of increasing difficulty. The problem is, even at the gold cup, the game isn't that difficult. You need to place top 3 out of 4 to advance, but out of 24 races I placed first in all except 2 races, and none I had to retry, really. The game's AI seems to be a bit too... tame.

Your car is NOT indestructible, however. Hit too many road barriers, and your top speed goes down, and flames start coming out of the engine. However, the car is so tiny on screen, it's hard to tell if that's really a fire or just a couple orange and red dots, which leads up to the second problem... size. You see, there are 3D racing games for mobile on the market, and I've reviewed them before. So this conservative 2D title just isn't very... well, innovative. While the 2D graphics are impressive, it's hard to tell contours on the ground (inclines and declines) with an isometric view, and that makes driving harder than it should be.

What's more the controls are, well, not that good. Most games acknowledge the QWERTY keyboard on my LG enV by doing 2 control crosses... The cursor keys, and the 2QWES cross. This game only accepts control from cursor keys, so you can't use 2 fingers to steer, only one, and that's annoying. What's more the vehicle refuse to move in a straight line. You thought you lined it up straight, but after a second or two it starts going left or right, and you have to input some correction. This means you're always turning left or right, and that gets annoying when you just want it to go STRAIGHT.

At least the courses are colorful and interesting, especially the last one, where you have to do FOUR cloverleaves each lap for SIX LAPS. There are no explanation or graphs about what's different with the vehicles. So once you got all 24 races, that's pretty much it.

All in all, FLATOUT is an also-ran that tries to tie into the franchise name, but in this case, I have to say it's a failure, due to very weak AI and lousy controls.

Overall rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: some feeling of Flatout series, good tracks, decent isometric graphics
Cons: 2D game with little imagination, missing the "charm" of Flatout, weak AI

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