Split/Second (iPhone/iPod touch) Review

Split/Second for the iPhone is a little bit of an awkward child. The concept of a Mario Kart/Burnout mash-up for people who prefer to race with sports car, complete with over-the-top (read: crazy) power-ups (called Power Plays here) is certainly there, and while the game has the looks to back it up, several game design let the entire experience fall to the level of mehhh.

Let’s start with the good first. Like I said in the opening paragraph, the game does look pretty. While not to the extent of Real Racing, the game is nicely detailed and cars are not just a bunch of ugly textures but pretty well modeled visually. The sight of things blowing up is actually pretty interesting and I think you’ll be just as pleasantly surprised as me when a cruise liner comes ramming onto the bridge you are racing on. Nice.

Steering is done by turning the iPhone left or right. Your car auto accelerates so you’ll just need to press the brake pedal whenever there’s a need to. There’s the button as well to activate a Power Play at certain points of the race track. If you haven’t guessed it already, Power Plays are like the blue shells in Mario Kart, they activate environmental hazards (like ship crashing into a bridge, explosions) that when time properly can hit your opponents and almost immediately drop them to the end of the standings during a race.

Here lies the greatest failing of Split/Second for the iPhone. Getting hit by Power Plays is an almost certain way of NOT WINNING the race. Therefore, if you find yourself racing at the front of the pack, you might find yourself in last place after hitting debris from an explosion (while not being a direct victim of the explosion), or getting hit at the very edge of an explosion, or driving through a fireball.

The same thing happens when you brush against other stuff, you might see the familiar Split/Second screen and lo and behold, 5th or 6th place. For a game that desires to be Burnout, this low tolerance for knocks and bumps in a race is maddening. It doesn’t help matters that the game lacks a sense of speed. You don’t feel like you are racing here, it’s more like watching a bunch of marathon runners jostling in the middle of the race.

All these just lends to the whole Mehhh factor so much so you wouldn’t care that the game’s single levels are divided into Episodes and that multiplayer options run the gamut from Bluetooth to Online. If the game’s opening trailer had you at “Hello”, the gameplay will ultimately ruin the entire experience and it’s plain to see that the game doesn’t meet its own objectives. There’s still hope for the game though, post-release patches can save a game, but it would really depend on the developers.

Split/Second is now available for the iPhone/iPod touch, click here for details.

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  1. IMCurtain.com May 22, 2010

    Nine Over Ten 9/10 » Split/Second (iPhone/iPod touch) Review…

    Split/Second for the iPhone is a little bit of an awkward child. The concept of a Mario Kart/Burnout mash-up for people who prefer to race with sports car, complete with over-the-top (read: crazy) power-ups (called Power Plays here) is certainly there,…

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by zorocaster and zorocaster, iphone god. iphone god said: Split/Second (iPhone/iPod touch) Review: Split/Second for the iPhone is a little bit of an awkward child. The conc… http://bit.ly/d2273q […]