Pixel Racer Review
The word 'Racer' exists in the title of the game Pixel Racer, but I am not sure if that name is entirely accurate. You are a vehicle, you are on a track, and you are trying to get the best time that you can, but there aren’t any other cars to race against. You’re going fast and trying to make it to the end without crashing, with quick decisions that test your ability to react, but is Pixel Racer an actual racing game? I’m still not entirely sure.
In Pixel Racer, you can only make 90 degree turns to either the left or the right. It’s like you’re racing one of those fancy motorcycles from the original TRON, but without having to worry about crashing into the pesky light beams created behind you and other racers. What you do have to worry about are walls.
Each track is a maze of right angles that must be navigated by tapping the right and left side of the screen. The challenge of Pixel Racer—and it is challenging—is being able to time these turns correctly and making sure you choose the correct turn. The right and left turn is always from the assumed perspective from the racer, so it can become very confusing about which left is left even after only one turn. The game begins simply enough, but it amps up the difficulty quickly.
There are 10 different cars to choose from, which basically correlate to difficulty. They vary in levels of speed that exist on a scale of one to 10—10 being the fastest. Since it's a racing game, I assumed that I wanted the fastest car and went with 10—and immediately died. After some experimentation with assorted cars, I found that I was most comfortable with the number one car. Even then, I found the last few levels to be brutally difficult.
Visually the game looks sharp, but it doesn’t do much to impress. It all looks very clean, but all of the levels look the same. The only variation that can be seen is among the cars, which each have a separate design and set of colors. The cars are also the only element of the game that seems to define the word 'Pixel' existing in the title. The cars look like they belong in an early SNES game, but not much else does.
The music consists of one techno song that loops throughout the entire game. It’s not a continuous loop, which is odd, but one that will fade out every few minutes, only to restart. It’s not bad music—just repetitive.
The most important part of Pixel Racer is the racing. It is fun, even if it does become challenging near the end. There isn’t a whole lot in the way of presentation, and there are only 24 tracks to race on. There are no achievements associated with the game, but there are Game Center leaderboards. It’s an interesting little title, and it controls well. However, it’s just not the sort of iOS game that will grab you and force you to play every time you get a few free moments.