This week’s game is an example how mobile games can be used as advertisement. The German developer Fishlabs have made several “branded games” over the last years and established them on the mobile market. One of their most successful games is Sports Car Challenge and was made for the Volkswagen (China) Investment Co., Ltd.(Page in Chinese) . The main target was to introduce German automobile brands as Porsche or Audi to the Chinese market. But the game was also released in other countries.
Even though the game is made for marketing, it has to compet in quality with other free racing games on the mobile market. Does it deliver?
Sports Car Challenge is a 3D racing simulation. It comes with two tracks, one is “Black Forest Germany” that is an adaptation of the real racetrack “Nürburgring” and the other is the frozen “Yunlong Lake China”. The handling of the cars is significantly different on the frozen lake and the more powerful cars tend to be less manageable on it. There for it is better to take the first turns with a slower car on the German track, until you get used to the controls.
Typically for mobile racing games you steer the car with the accelerometer by turning the device. Accelerating is done automatically and to hit the brakes you have to touch the screen. For those of you who want more control, manual shifting by swiping and manual acceleration via touch screen can be enabled. As an alternative you can also use the touch screen for steering. To get the perfect view of your car or the track, you can choose from three different camera positions – a cockpit view and two outside views, for those who want to admire their car while racing.
As for other racing games the selection of cars is an essential part of the game, but since we are dealing here with a branded game it is limited. We have cars from Volkswagen Group that covers Porsche, Bugatti, Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini and of course Volkswagen. You can make photos and videos of the exterior and interior of the car and then share them on facebook. After Races you can also share your times and compare them with others in the Game Center.
Customization options are limited to color and rims, but the game has an option to visit the website or search for dealers and contact them immediately. If you prefere to turn a few laps virtually you can choose one of three game modes; Time Trial, Slalom, Breaking. In Time Trial you try to drive the best time over track. Slalom asks you to drive a short slalom course as fast as possible and in Braking you are have to accelerate and then stop in a target zone. All three modes can be played on both tracks.
In conclusion Sports Car Challenge is a solid free racing game for iOS devices. It doesn’t set new standards or blows anyone away, it was never meant to. It’s purpose is to introduce you to the brands of the Volkswagen Group, not more. Unfortunately that is not enough to be a good game. It feels like a generic racing game that has been painted with some brands. On paper it seems that everything is there, 3D, 2 Tracks, 8 Cars 3 Modes, but lack something different. It has an identity but no soul. And this is the problem with many “branded” games. Because marketers and their concept of “gamification” tend to fall short due to a misunderstanding of what makes a game a game.
Sports Car Challenge is available for free on all iOS devices in the App Store.