Confession: As soon as I knew Colin McRae had landed on the App Store, I got hold of a copy and played it almost exclusively for a week. My interest – as with many of you – was sparked mostly by the feelings of nostalgia and remembering playing the Colin McRae Rally titles on the PS2 10 years ago. I expected that the nostalgia would be what kept me playing, but it wasn’t that. The game is quite frankly the most fun racing game I’ve ever played on iOS.
Real Racing 3 is a fantastic title, and is a brilliant racing game with lots of cars. But, what Colin McRae lacks in content, it makes up for in thrilling races. Back when it was launched for PlayStation, the game’s graphics were up there with the best of them, and ten years later they’re starting to look a tiny bit outdated but it doesn’t detract from the experience at all.
When you open up the game you get a couple of different gaming options. You can go straight in to a random stage with a random car, play a specific stage or rally, or you can go full on championship mode. Championship mode is the only one that enables you to unlock more content, and is a necessity if you want to get full value for your money.
As you play through the championships you unlock more locations and cars. The game offers four classic rally cars: Ford Focus, Subaru Impreza, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI and the iconic Lancia Stratos. Each car in its own right is an iconic rally car, but the game could really do with a lot more cars and more locations. Once you’ve played through the Greek and Australian stages, unlocked Corsica and raced that, it can get difficult to keep wanting to play.
Gameplay is this games’ biggest feature. It’s fantastic. You get the choice of using your device’s accelerometer, or using on screen controls to steer. To speed up and slow down you have on screen, virtual, floating gas and brake pedals as well as a handbrake when tilt controls are on. If you decide to use on screen, manual controls for steering, the brake and accelerator shift to a fix point on the right hand side of the display.
Once you’ve chosen your preferred method of control, the fun begins. You touch down on the gas pedal and let loose on a gravel track, battling to keep your car under control as it skids and slides, throwing up piles of dust and powering around the stages. Just so you know how well or badly you’re doing, there’s a progress bar at the top showing your position relative to the fastest computer controlled opponent. But, you barely have time to look at it, instead, I found myself completely focussed and engrossed trying to make sure I didn’t damage my car hitting trees and rocks, or taking off on a jump at the wrong angle. Thankfully, the ever trustworthy voice of Welsh co-driver, Nicky Grist is there to prepare you for each turn as it comes up.
Even writing about the game, and the intensity and fun that it is, I feel a smile spread across my face. It is fun. So. Much. Fun. And part of it is that the car can get damaged. If you hit something you better believe there’ll be some physical damage on the car that’ll you’ll need to repair later.
Once you get through two stages of a rally you’ll have the option to repair your car, and depending on how well you did, you’ll get up to 1 hour’s worth of repair time. The hour is split up in to 5 minute slots. Once you’ve used them all up, that’s it. Hence why it’s so important not to damage your car too much. Believe me, I’ve gone through the final two stages of a rally with my car unable to get over 40mph and struggling to turn left. It’s all just part of the game that makes it so great.
If you want a fun, intense and engrossing racing game, you simply have to download Colin McRae Rally for iOS. Yes, it’s a little lacking in content and unlockables, but it’s a one off cost of $2.99/£1.99 and there are no frustrating ads or in-app purchases. You pay for the whole game, and it’s worth every cent.
Download the game from the App Store (link). It’s compatible with iPhone 4S/5, iPod touch 5th gen and any iPad released after the iPad 2 (inclusive).