IMG 0808 Review: Split/Second

Overview

The content in the App Store is getting better every day, and that is exemplified by the recent release of Split/Second which launched with the console game of the same name. Split/Second isn’t just another racing game, and instead is an action packed thrill ride as you drive through TV sets rigged to explode at every turn. As you drive through the different locations you earn power based on your driving which you can use to set off the explosions known as power plays.

IMG 0824 300x200 Review: Split/Second

Features

There are three gameplay modes beginning with season mode which is the heart if the game. You progress through a TV season with nine episodes with each episode representing a different location, and each one having four events. There is race mode which is self explanatory, elimination mode where a racer is eliminated every certain interval of time, and detonator mode where you try to beat the lap record solo with every power play detonating along your way.

Quickplay is the second mode which allows you to lay any unlocked event at any unlocked course. Finally multiplayer mode features local connectivity over bluetooth or wifi as well as online multiplayer.

The Good

From the first race you’ll be hooked by the adrenaline packed races in Split/Second. The game presents a racing experience like none other for the iPhone. It’s not just about the best driving skills to reach the finish line first like in Real Racing, Need for Speed Shift, Asphalt 5, etc.

It’s more about being the last one standing as power plays are used by every racer multiple times per race. The game is an arcade racer to say the least as you fly through the course, and you truly need split second reaction time to avoid or maneuver through the power plays.
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Not only do you need the reaction time to avoid, but also to use the power plays as an action button flashes only for a second. You need to be ready to press that button when your opponents are in range of the power play devastation. It’s easy to fill the power meter to be able to use power plays as all you need to do is drift a little, catch some draft, or just avoid another power play.

The power plays make this game an amazing experience so no deficit is too large to overcome, and you can never be too overconfident in the lead. Going through season mode will give you tons to do with nine different episodes, and four events per episode. Each mode plays differently, and after you complete the main three events there is a race in the track of the next episode to unlock a new car and location.
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Race and eliminator mode are great fun as you battle it out with everyone trying to destroy everyone else. Maybe the most challenging mode is detonator where every power play goes off, and you’ll be surprised by each one the first few times through. Then to be able to play head to head locally trying to mess them up is definitely enjoyable.

You also get to play online with anyone around the world to bring this action from the commuter to actual people. Online races are quick to set up and load, and all played without a hitch. They’re tons of fun as usually you’re playing experienced players with tons of tricks up their sleeves. The tilt steering controls work effortlessly to allow for fine precision throughout the game, and the drift mechanism works extremely well which can’t be said for other games listed earlier.
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The game is wonderfully designed for an iPhone game as the racing genre has been able to do as a whole. As you’re screaming down the track, never looking back you’ll see the fine details of the environment go by seamlessly. Then there are all of the power plays which are amazing to see on the go.

The power plays include crashing planes, collapsing bridges, oil tanker explosions, runaway trollies and trains, and so much more. Another great aspect of the visuals are the crashes whether it’s your own, or even better your opponents as they’re cars flip and bounce around you as you speed by. A nice action soundtrack is also included though there isn’t a lot of variety to the music.
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Now this game is a far cry from the console version which has massive explosions on your HDTV. This is a review of the iPhone version compared to other iPhone games, and not console games, and in terms of visuals for the iPhone this is right at the top of the class. It would be nice to see more from the console version make it in to the iPhone build, but for an iPhone game this is quite an achievement.

It would be great to see an iPad native version which shares more of the visual candy with the console version. The iPhone version plays really well on the iPad running at double pixel though it only looks as good as it can running at double pixel.

The Bad

There are a few and odd negative oversights in the game starting with no tutorial. It’s odd for a game to have no tutorial especially when there are timing mechanics, there is nothing you can’t pick up, it’s just odd. Another problem is that the game lacks no control customization.
IMG 0810 300x200 Review: Split/Second
You have automatic acceleration, with an on screen break, and the pop up action button when you’re in range for a power play. You can’t add manual acceleration or chose a different steering option, and can only switch the location of the grace and action button.

When you go online to play it’s definitely fun as detailed above, but there is no ranking system. There is no way to keep track of your online results, and how you stack up with the rest of the world. There are online high scores for points earned in season mode, but nothing for the online component.
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Playing the game has a few minor problems beginning with the crash recognition. As you begin it seems it’s very broad so you’ll be crashing often, but as you progress you’ll see that it’s not the game, but rather the car you’re driving. With new stronger cars you’ll be able to get by more explosions in tighter squeezes.

As stated earlier the explosions looks mundane next to the console version, but that doesn’t mean they don’t look good looking at the iPhone app alone. Another problem is that the game may be a little too easy even racing on normal mode once you unlock new cars. The unlocked cars speed past your opponents so it’s rather boring as you win easily, so play on hard or stick with one of the originals three cars unless you crash often which blanches the playing field.

The Verdict

Split/Second is an amazing driving experience on the iPhone that is the most exhilarating on the platform. It’s absolutely outstanding as your speeding down the track always needing to be on your toes to avoid and create power plays through intricately laid out tracks. The game is wonderfully designed, and will give you plenty to do to make it well worth your money.

Split/Second is a should buy for $6.99 that will be tons of fun for most players, and especially arcade racing fans.

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