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 Crash Car Mania

Crash Car Mania is probably inspired by Flatout's "driver launching" sports, but they turned it into something else instead. You move along the track, hit controls keys at specific times as well as launch, control the driver during flight (and hit more targets), keep flying to another vehicle and so on untilend of course, and try to score the max points. It is way too reliant on timing, and its lack of support for QWERTY keyboard make it difficult to play. At least it is 3D-ish.

The main menu looks promising, as it seems to promise some sort of 3D action. I picked tutorial, and was introduced to the mechanics. It was then I realized while the presentation is 3D, the gameplay is still only 2D, or more precisely, more like 1D. You have this fixed track, arrow-straight, but with some up-down variations. The objective is to "finish" the track, by reaching the end, by jumping the various obstacles, and when need be, launch the driver and do some mid-air moves so he lands close enough to the next car to continue the trek, and the process repeats until 1) driver not close enough to next vehicle 2) driver suffered too much damage 3) timer ran out.

The controls are all mapped to number keys, specifically, 4-5-6 and 7-8-9. 4 and 6 reverse and forwards the car. Double-tap 6 to nitro-boost. 5 to launch driver. 8 to "bounce" the front end (which allows a "jump" without a ramp), and 7 / 9 rotates car car nose-up / tail-up respectively. This makes the game almost unplayable on a phone with a qwerty-keyboard, since on such a phone all the numbers are on the top, and no alternate control schemes are given.

So a typical level goes like this: you start the car, nitro-boost it, it flies down the track, then just before the car hits the wall, you do the bounce (8) and it flies up just enough to clear the wall, lands on the other side. You boost again, and the car flies up a ramp. You see the hoop ahead. You hit 5 and wait for the arrow to line up, and launches the driver through the hoop. You made the driver somersault a few times (5) and he lands on an explosive spring, which launches him again. He lands on another one, bounces off, lands on another one, bounces off, and finally lands just behind the next vehicle. The vehicle starts, you boost, and do another ramp jump, but this time you hold 9 to do a "somersault" in the vehicle, and landed, and hit the finish line.

So you see, it's all about the timing of key presses. And if the keys are not lined up right, then the game is not playable, right?

Graphics are 3D polygons, with auto-camera, but the camera doesn't always show what you wish to see. It's always a bit off to the side and behind, though it sometimes switches back and forth for no particular reason, and camera angle is not in your control.

All in all, the game is a new idea, but it's basically a timing/action puzzle, so it's not THAT well implemented.

Overall rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: fresh angle and fresh game, 3D-ish view
Cons: still 2D game, not good for QWERTY-keyboard, annoying viewpoint

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