May 16 AT 1:59 PM Anthony Domanico 6 Comments

Gimme dat game: Bang Bang Racing is awesome – the controls? not so much

When NVIDIA announced the Tegra 2 processor for Android smartphones, I think we all knew that gaming on Android was going to get significantly better. True to form, NVIDIA has started partnering with developers to unleash games which take advantage of its powerful Tegra 2 chipset.

On Friday, NVIDIA teamed up with Playbox to release Bang Bang Racing, a fun, action-packed racing game originally built for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 game consoles, now brought exclusively to mobile phones running the Tegra 2 processor.

Controls

Instead of going the traditional screen overlay control scheme (where transparent control buttons are constantly on the screen), Bang Bang Racing uses a unique touched based control system. Simply put your finger on the screen in the direction you want the car to go, and the car will automatially steer toward your finger, moving more quickly the farther away your finger is from the car itself.

The control scheme used by Bang Bang Racing, though innovative and different, makes the game extremely frustrating to play. Having your finger take up part of the screen on a 7+” tablet screen is okay, but you can basically forget about playing this game on your sub 5″ phone. You can ease the pain a bit with practice and through learning the courses more in-depth, but in the end the controls in Bang Bang Racing leave much to be desired.

Judging from the comments on the Android Market, I’d say I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Gameplay

The best feature of Bang Bang Racing is the gameplay itself. The gameplay is fluid and really demonstrates the power of NVIDIA’s chipset. The physics are also pretty awesome, and the car moves and interacts with objects just how you’d imagine a car should in real life.

The concept of the game is a simple one, you are in a field of eight racers, and your goal is to be the first one across the finish line. You can compete in individual races on the eight included tracks, or enter the championship mode to compete in a series of races to win one of four championship cups.

Other Goodies

As is customary with these types of games, there are several goodies that can be unlocked by progressing through the game (read: winning races/championships).

Bang Bang Racing also features OpenFeint support, bringing online achievements and leaderboards so you can see where you stack up against other racers from around the globe.

Pros

  • Graphics are gorgeous, and the physics are done extremely well
  • Controls take some getting used to, but makes more sense than the traditional button overlay on tablets (phones, not so much)
  • OpenFeint achievements and global leaderboards add a level of challenge to the game
  • Multiple gameplay options

Cons

  • The $8 price tag is going to deter many people from purchasing the game, at least until they improve the controls.
  • On the smaller screens, the touch-based controls simply don’t make sense, as your finger will almost always get in the way, especially as you’re learning new tracks.

Final Verdict

Bang Bang Racing is an extremely fun racing game for Android Tegra 2 devices that is plagued by controls that, though novel and innovative, will ultimately leave users frustrated. As this game was featured on PS3 and Xbox 360, the $7.99 price tag shouldn’t really come as a surprise, but I feel this game may not be as successful as it could have been because of the price tag coupled with difficult controls as well as the 15-minute refund window Google has bestowed upon Android.

If the control scheme wasn’t such a huge problem, I would have no problem telling you to shell out the $8 and buy this incredible game. Unfortunately, difficult controls can make or break a game, and for now I have to advise you against this game unless you have the patience necessary to master the controls.

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Anthony loves all things technology, from hardware to apps and games. You can connect with him via Google+ or Twitter by clicking one of the fancy doo-dads above.

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