There are so many free titles available in the App Store today that are just terrible. Hundreds of companies and individuals are flooding the market with ripoffs and sloppily-made money grabs. Fortunately, there are still some gaming companies that are dedicated to bringing consumers a quality product rather than a hastily thrown together attempt to strike it rich. Rally Games is one such developer. This studio is headed up by Jeremy Pope, a seasoned video game developer who has worked on a variety of AAA console and PC titles, including Max Payne, Grand Theft Auto 3, and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
The group is hoping that their new iOS release “Top Bot” will help to put them on the map. Top Bot is a clever addition to the racing genre, putting a nice twist on gameplay that is usually cookie cutter across all racers. In fact, I don’t really think I’ve seen this type of racer in the App Store before, and if I have, I probably disliked it too much to remember it.
Top Bot takes the concept of “automatically moving side-scroller” and manages to transform it into a very enjoyable multiplayer racing experience. The auto-moving side-scroller is a title that moves your character for you, usually from the left side of the screen to the right. It’s your job to move the character up and down, avoiding obstacles.
Top Bot takes this concept a step further and adds a racing element to it by pitting friends and strangers against one another in the same level. Don’t worry; this isn’t the traditional side-scroller where you’ll get a game over for striking an object or a wall. However, you’ll still be penalized for going off course. Speed is the name of the game, and certain objects will speed you up or slow you down. Your job is to gain as much speed, as quickly as possible, all while avoiding anything that slows your rampant progression. There is a nice tutorial at the beginning of the game that will explain all powerups and “power-downs” to you.
You can toss yourself into a random match with strangers or challenge your friends. The best part about this title is that it operates a lot like other casual multiplayer games. Instead of you gathering everyone together for a match, you’ll be able to race against your friends’ “ghosts.” Basically, everyone takes a turn, and the application stores that data. That means you’ll be racing against four other contestants who have either already gone or have yet to race. It’s a very smart system, and it allows you to play whenever you want, wherever you want, without having to set something up in real time.
There is a lot of customization in this release. You can use coins you gather through racing to purchase special powerups, designs, colors, accessories, and body parts for your robot. It really lets you go wild with your creative side, and it helps you to individualize yourself when you race against others. It’s a nice touch, and it really helps to give the game some serious depth that would not otherwise be there.
Top Bot is a good-looking game with a solid soundtrack and some very well-done gameplay mechanics. I usually harp a lot on free games, because most of them don’t display much effort or are blatant money pits. This is not the case with Top Bot. This is a free game, that truly feels free, and I think it’s the perfect release to help Rally Games get their name out there as a legitimate iOS developer. This is the type of game that is free and probably shouldn’t be. I think the masses would easily pay $0.99 USD for this title. But the fact that Rally Games is so confident in their development that they’re giving this game away really speaks volumes about what they want to accomplish in the future.
Grab Top Bot from the App Store. It’s a ton of fun and a great casual game to play with friends and family.
Photo Credit: Rally Games