Namco has never been shy in using the many franchises it developed on the arcade circuit as base material for its wireless games. This year, it looks like it’s beginning to convert some of its modern Playstation era franchises into mobile format. Ridge Racer is an old standby in the genre of arcade racers but will it satisfy the demands of modern gamers?
To start with, this mobile Ridge Racer features simpler controls. No doubt the game is geared towards casual gamers and the constrained cell phone control scheme. You automatically accelerate from the get go. By altering speed with brakes, you’re able to navigate tight corners. Although you’re able to put this game in manual shifting, it seems too much work and the payoff isn’t necessarily there. I got by enough just by using the automatic features so the only thing it would add is more exercise and a perceived sense of realism.
Ridge Racer features a nice videogame background tune but sadly it doesn’t change to match the on screen action and nor can you fit in any of your own tunes. In the graphics department, Ridge Racer incorporates some decent car models. Everything moves fluidly although draw-in and some low resolution textures (particularly greenery) are included to compensate for a phone’s lack of dedicated 3D hardware. I like the inclusion of on screen displays like a tachometer, which I find is missing in other mobile racing titles.
To keep the game moving along, any time you score first place on a course, you can unlock another car. There is also one special car that you can unlock via a time trial. There are four courses and you can also unlock reverse-direction courses. What irked me the most about the game is the lack of imaginative gameplay. Everything is a time trial and finishing less than first place doesn’t move you any closer to any of the game’s objectives. A system of credits or cash might help alleviate this.
Altogether, Ridge Racer is a decent racing game for phone owners. It certainly looks and sounds like Ridge Racer, albeit in the early era. However, the lack of modern racing gameplay innovations detract from any deep gameplay you might experience with it. I might be joking myself by saying equating Ridge Racer with deep gameplay (it would be like saying Daytona USA is an authentic racing game) but even superficial franchises like Need for Speed have moved with every incarnation.