Top Five Motor Sports Games

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If you prefer a dose of petrol with your sports, then this week's game round up will be right up your racing track. We're looking at motor sports, motor cars, motor bikes, and motor boats - which should be enough to satisfy your need for speed. They're not all perfect, but they're the best of the genre that All About Symbian has reviewed. So read on as we recap Nokia Racing, Need for Speed: Shift HD, Powerboat Challenge 3D, Moto X Mayhem, and GT Racing: Moto Academy HD.

Nokia Racing

All About Symbian score 84% | Store Link

One of the simplest and most addictive games I've seen yet on Symbian, a combined puzzler/arcader that works absolutely superbly as a 'one more go' casual title. On your own, or against a friend, you guide your car towards refuelling points and service centres, and away from hazards. The further you get, the higher you score. A game for one or more players (via Bluetooth), it's an insanely good way to while away a few minutes here and there during your day.

Nokia Racing is most definitely addictive. That it's produced (curiously) by Nokia itself and that it's totally free, are only extra factors leading you to grab this game for whiling away bored moments.

Finally, as it's coded in Java (i.e. not Qt) it's applicable to all touch-driven Symbian phones, not just the most recent - in practice, the only downside of being in Java is that touch instructions on the screen have to be separate, i.e. there's no multi-touch. A minor shortcoming for such a great little game though....

Top Five Symbian Motor Sports GamesTop Five Symbian Motor Sports Games

Need for Speed: Shift HD

All About Symbian score 80% | Store Link

It’s yet another racing game for the new Symbian platform! It makes a lot of sense for Nokia to ensure this genre is strongly represented – it shows off the graphical capability of the N8 (and the rest of the devices in that family, including the C7) and they are strong brand names that give the platform legitimacy. Even though it’s more 'arcadey' that GT Racing: Motor Academy (reviewed here), Need for Speed: Shift feels a touch more realistic and a lot more fun.

There’s no comparison when you take the Symbian^3 version of Need for Speed and look at previous NF titles on Symbian – they’ve always been Java builds. This is native code and it shows. The frame rate is high, you’ve got responsive controls that transfer well through to the car – how it handles does vary according to the car and mods, and that’s great to see in the game.

Need for Speed Shift is polished, looks great, and is a genuinely challenging game that doesn’t present you any races that are impossible to progress beyond. Over time, I suspect it will start to feel repetitive, but EA have a recipe that works in these games. This is a successful transfer to the Symbian platform. Strongly recommended.

Top Five Symbian Motor Sports Games

Top Five Symbian Motor Sports Games

Powerboat Challenge 3D

All About Symbian score 79% | Store Link

One of the coolest characteristics of the best car driving games is when they allow you to 'drift' around corners, effectively controlled skidding. If you agree then you may well enjoy this aquatic equivalent, with Powerboat Challenge 3D providing the ultimate in slippery turns. With over a dozen different courses to race in a variety of race types and with slick visuals, this game has got a lot going for it.

It's not obvious until you start to play how much planning each manoeuvre can involve, in that the faster you're going, the longer it takes to turn. And with buoys often placed near to the bank on corners, you've got to imagine and then perform ever more extravagant turns, picking up the sweet spot for each buoy on the way. 

Not a classic game, but still worth the purchase price if you fancy trying your hand at powerboating. After all, the £3 purchase price is somewhat less than the £300,000 needed for the real thing!

Top Five Symbian Motor Sports Games

Top Five Symbian Motor Sports Games

Moto X Mayhem

All About Symbian score 78% | Store Link

Remember the old kids game of patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time? And how frustrated you were that you couldn’t do it while your best friend could? I think that’s how Steve felt when he passed me Moto X Mayhem to review and I promptly labelled it as a fun, challenging but fundamentally a great game. “Too hard for me” said Steve, and he went back to taking pin-sharp pictures of shiny hardware while I started reviewing this great game title.

You’re going to need a sense of balance to make your way to the finish line. First up is the throttle and brake on your bike – controlled with the touch-screen at either side of the screen, this is the easy balance, from gunning the engine, to letting the speed idle down or slamming the brakes on. Remember that it’s only the back wheel that is connected to the engine, you will be blipping the throttle most of the time to give you just enough speed.

There is a steep learning curve to go through as you work out the best way of getting as much speed as possible out of the bike, the best way to fly through the air, and when to hold back and be really careful on an almost vertical hill. But Occamy Games have managed to get everything in a sweet spot where it all just works.

Challenging? Yes, but equally as rewarding. Moto X Mayhem is a twitchy arcade game that needs a lot of skill but is insanely quick to play – and perfect for a mobile game. Recommended.

GT Racing: Motor Academy HD

All About Symbian score 70% | Store Link

Cards on the table, I am a big racing game nut, which means I’m comparing GT Racing not to previous Symbian titles, but to the bigger titles on the gaming platforms, such as Need for Speed (more on that later in the week, on Symbian), Codemaster’s Formula 1 2009, and the grand-daddy of them all, Gran Turismo. Fair? Perhaps not, but the bar has been significantly raised on mobile games since the N-gage was retired, and regular users will likely have an X-Box or PS3 in their life.

GT Racing does have some good elements. For all my negatives on the track design, the display of the graphics around the track doesn’t lag and the drawing distance (how far ahead of the car the graphics are processed) is long enough that there is never (for example) any empty space suddenly filled by a clock tower as you get closer.

It’s not perfect – the cars you drive against seem to be floating over the circuit rather than on the track and where they are pointing only bears a passing resemblance to their actual direction of travel, but as I’m already in “90’s Amiga mode” while playing GT Racing, this just adds to the retro charm (or looks horribly poor from a gaming perspective, you decide).

Top Five Symbian Motor Sports Games

Top Five Symbian Motor Sports Games

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