Review: Dreamway


Steve Litchfield gets rough out on the track with this top-down racing game, here reviewed in its UIQ 3 guise....

Author: Mobile Stream

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Screenshot"... coming up behind the pack,  I spotted the back marker going wide. I dived down the inside and muscled him off the racing line. Picking up speed for the next corner, I took the opportunity to use a different elliptical racing line to those in front of me and hit the apex early. Wide on the exit but I've got track position and YEAH, they can't get past me. Right. Back on the throttle! Now for the battle for the lead of the race. Bit by bit, I started to overtake the Red Baron...."

All of which sounds a bit much for a simple top-down racing game. Also available for most other Symbian OS platforms, Dreamway is well programmed mainly for its collision detection with the other cars (and track walls). Being able to mix it with the other (computer-controlled) drivers is a lot of fun and surprisingly realistic.

On the P990i (UIQ 3), control of the car is best done using the stylus, with you tracing the stylus tip around the track in front of the car, showing it where to aim for at eahc moment. The end result is a perfect racing line if you get it right and a very fast lap. If you get it wrong, you'll be in the wall and will have some catching up to do once the other cars have streamed past.

Seven different themed tracks impress, they're gorgeously drawn and are panned around the display as your car proceeds around each lap. There's also a choice of seven cars, although I couldn't tell any difference in performance between them. And, just to make things interesting, there are 'bonus features' (on Medium and Difficult settings, at least), such as speed-ups, weapons, teleporters and oil slicks. All of which have to be avoided or picked up, as appropriate. In practice, it's hard to make all these out, much less use the ones that need activating, while also trying to drive the perfect racing line, but it's easy enough to avoid the worst hazards (e.g. oil). And it's occasionally spooky seeing another car materialising next to you, Star Trek-style....

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Although essentially well-written Dreamway isn't 100% stable on UIQ 3, I did have a few crashes over my test period, although this might be down to the P990i and its low RAM as much as the game itself. I also experienced occasional slow downs, especially when all the cars were in view at once.

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The acid test of any game has to be whether it's fun though, and I certainly had a blast trying to out pace the computer cars, F1-style, in Dreamway, and to drive the perfect lap. The auto-advance (i.e. auto-throttle) system does mean that you have to be very fast and accurate in order to get round some of the tricker corners but that in a way just adds to the challenge. Go grab the trial version and see if you've got what it takes!

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Note: ignore the little graphic (with time) in the top right of each screenshot - this is from a utility to be unveiled mid October 2006 - you'll see the review here first, on All About Symbian!

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