Electronic Arts has “shift”-ed back to the iPad for yet another racing experience, Shift 2: Unleashed. And like the console versions, it offers some new ingredients to the game, while keeping most of the racing action that made the original so much fun intact. It may not be everyone’s speed (we keep these puns coming, folks) but portable racing fans will love it.
The game features a number of cars and circuits to race across, including new tracks in Abu Dhabi, the Black Forest and the water fronts of Rio as you try to shoot for first place victories. In some cases, that’s easier said than done, as the AI is quite competitive this time around. Practice really does make perfect here.
Like the original Shift, Unleashed utilizes a solid, problem-free control system that lets you tilt the iPad in order to steer your vehicle. (Touch steering is available as well, if you prefer that set-up.) You’ll have no problem making turns, bypassing cars (sometimes hastily, if necessary) and getting in a few drifts as you maintain speed. And you’ll have several customized rides to do it with, allowing you to adjust everything from tires to suspension, which will not only alter the handling of each car, but also improve your overall performance.
Unfortunately, the game doesn’t support online multiplayer. You are able to log in to Origin and compare your best leaderboard times to others, but when it comes to racing against your buddies, you’ll have to do it locally. And even then, it’s not the smoothest ride, as you’ll have to contend with occasional game crashes. They aren’t enough to hinder the experience entirely, but you can consider them bumps in the road.
When the game does hold up most of the time, it does so with great visuals. EA has paid way more attention to the backdrops this time around, and they look outstanding as you squeal your way through them, moving at a rapid pace. The cars look decent, though they occasionally tread into “blocky” territory with minor glitches. This could use a little patching up, EA.
As for the audio, there are some nice sound effects, backed by decent racing music. It’s not as good as an experience as, say, Real Racing 2 HD, but now that EA owns that developer (Firemint), maybe they can learn a new trick or two. Or hey, have them work on a Need For Speed game…
Despite the fact that this territory has been covered before by other racers (including the first Shift), Unleashed is still worth checking out, and won’t leave much of a pit stop on your wallet, as it goes for a meager $4.99. If you’re an on-the-go racing enthusiast, gear up for Shift.