If you have a need for speed whilst out and about, but want to keep on the right side of the law, then maybe Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit on the iPhone will be right up your street.
Whilst this games big brother on the home consoles gives the player the chance to play as both racer and cop, this mobile version concentrates solely on the Police career. Whilst this may not be to everyone’s taste, flaunting with the law is a favorite past-time of many a racing game fan, it still has it’s fair share of adrenaline fueled racing, all in the name of justice.
The player has 24 missions to work through of various types. Progression unlocks further events and vehicles, in a similar way to the full size game, although in a more linear way. This means that there is plenty here to keep your average Mobile petrol head busy, especially when you include the two player head-to-head racing via local wifi or bluetooth. Why the action is limited to two players, and why there is no online multiplayer is a complete mystery to me. This, in my mind, is the games biggest flaw.
There are four different events to compete in that include racing to the scene of an incident, stopping a racer in a given time limit and taking down multiple racers. All of the different events are good fun and offer enough variety so as to stop the player getting bored. To help the player and prevent them from constantly using their expensive police car as a battering ram, they are provided with a few weapon style gizmos. The classic spike strip can be deployed to take out a following cars tyres, the EMP shuts down the electronics and brings the target car to a halt and the road block will need some very deft driving to avoid, both for the target and the player. There is also a nitro meter that can be filled by driving in a reckless manner and then activated with a simple swipe for a nice boost in speed.
And the other controls are just as simple, although take a bit of getting used to. The player brakes by hitting the bottom left of the screen and steers by tilting the device. The tilt steering does a reasonable job and is becoming the standard for iPhone based racers, but it does lead to some hilarity as keeping a good view of the screen generally involves tilting your head with the device and thus getting some strange looks on the train. Or maybe that is just me.
From a visual and audio point of view, everything seems to work. Some of the vehicles are better looking than others, and it is best not to expect too much as the hardware limitations prevent the gorgeous looks of the full size game. The game has a nice soundtrack which, if not to the player’s taste, can be swapped out for whatever resides in the music library. I have seen a lot better, but also a lot worse. There are a few issues with running the game though. On one iPhone, the game just refused to run at all, on the other there were some definite slow downs and hiccups along the way.
But when it works, it works well. The game really is a lot of fun and would be the best iPhone racer were it not for a few playing issues and the lack of online multiplayer. As it stands, NFS Hot Pursuit on iPhone is a good game, but not a great game.
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit on the iPhone is available from the App Store for Â£2.99