iPhone Life magazine

Review: Reckless Getaway by Polarbit

Generally I prefer my games to have a somewhat compelling set of goals, but there are times when I do enjoy the simple pleasure of mass destruction.  Still, while I figured Reckless Getaway would be fun, I was pretty much expecting it to be a “few minutes here, few minutes there” sort of game.  Turns out I’ve become quite addicted to this little gem.  With it’s over the top… well, everything it feels like you’re in control of a chase scene stolen from a John Woo film.  About the only thing I wish at this point is that there were a variety of cars to choose from, but otherwise it’s a nearly perfect no holds barred racer.

That's Not Benny's Jet
 

Reckless Getaway has two game play modes: Getaway and Wreckless.  Each are comprised of the same 20 levels spread across 5 chapters, and Getaway mode has an additional Tutorial level.  You can earn up to four stars on each level, and each chapter requires a certain number of stars in order to be unlocked.  The modes are independent, though, so unlocking a chapter in one mode does not unlock it in another.  That’s okay, though, because you’ll find yourself happily playing levels over and over again to try and get all the stars you can.

So how exactly do you earn stars?  Stars are based on points, which in turn are based on how creative you are in a given level.  The “easy” way to earn points is to collect coins, though more often than not you’ll find coins aren’t so easy to reach.  You also earn points for simply passing cars, but you can earn more points for actually destroying them.  You also get points for air time and jumping over other vehicles.  Of course the truth is the most fun thing to do is destroy everything, but like I said, there’s no harm in being creative.  On the flip side, if you get run off the road or held back so you get pushed back past the bottom of the screen you’ll lose points.  Even worse, if your car gets so damaged that it’s considered wrecked, you automatically lose a star that can’t be recovered no matter how many points you score.


 

The level design is incredible.  There are so many layers to some of these tracks that it’s almost hard to figure out where you need to go.  That makes it all the more fun though.  It also makes things tough to memorize, which is mainly a problem if you’re not very good at the game like me and can’t get enough stars to unlock a chapter.  In Getaway mode you get a nifty little sporty type car which is good for speed but not so good for taking damage.  In Wreckless mode you really can be a little bit more reckless because you get the cab of a semi to do your dirty work, so I do tend to find that mode a bit more satisfying.  Getaway mode is great if you want a challenge, however.

To control your vehicle you can choose to have arrow buttons on the lower left and right sides of the screen, or you can use the accelerometer to tilt your way through the tracks.  Tilting actually isn’t too bad, but I still prefer touch control.  It seems to give you a bit more precision, which in a game like this is absolutely necessary.  Both control schemes have a sensitivity slider, so you can try and fine tune things to your liking.


 

Reckless Getaway looks amazing.  The backgrounds are beautiful and highly detailed, and the cars look great as they are driving along, flipping from being hit or doing a “Dukes Of Hazard” over one obstacle or another.  There are nice little special effects as well, such as fluff rising up as you drive over snow or smoke billowing out of your vehicle just before you wreck.  One thing I would have liked to see a bit of was weather effects, but I guess you can’t have everything.  The sound effects are a perfect compliment to the action.  Sirens blaring, the sound of metal compacting: the only thing really missing is some honking horns.  The music sounds like it was plucked right from an 80’s cop show or some cheesy heist film, and it really sets the right mood for the game.

Reckless Getaway was a very pleasant surprise.  Not because it was fun – that much I expected.  The shock came in how addictive it is.  Now I imagine should I somehow manage to collect all the stars the excitement will probably wear off a bit, but knowing the way I play I don’t see that happening any time soon.  If you’re looking for a racing style game that’s more focused on the damage you can do than actually having to come in first, you definitely need to check out this title.

Overall Score: 9/10
App Store Link

This game was reviewed on an iPod Touch 4G running iOS 5.0.1.

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Eric Pankoke has been a gamer for more than 20 years. He began with arcade games, moving to consoles and eventually handhelds and Pocket PCs. Now he spends most of his time on one of his iOS devices. Eric has written more than 700 gaming reviews, which have appeared on a number of gaming websites as well as several issues of both Smartphone & Pocket PC and iPhone Life magazines. He regularly contributes to iphonelife.com and TouchMyApps. Ultimately he hopes to eventually develop games himself for whatever the hot mobile device is when he finally gets moving.