iPad Game Review: 2XL Trophylite Rally HD Reviewed by Tom Slayton
Trophylite Rally HD is an excellent off-road racing game by 2XL. It offers a variety of modes of play, vehicles, tracks, and graphic options that combine to give the player a feature-rich racing experience. Oh, and did I mention that it's "smack me on the side of the head" fun?
The game opens with a very nice video. They are obviously quite proud of this video because you get to watch it over and over. In fact, you get to watch it every time you launch the game. You are given the option to skip the video each time it plays, however, I was unable to find a way to disable it by default; and believe me, I looked. After the video, you are then given a chance to create a profile and start your game. There are 31 vehicles, 15 tracks, and three game modes; arcade, career, and multiplayer. In arcade mode, each race is discreet and highly customizable. This is a great place to learn how to play the game, and you should hone your skills before going deeper into the races. In career mode, you progress through a variety of tracks and opponents, however you must finish at least in 3rd place to do so.
There are a number of game types that are well-suited to the iPad, and driving games are at the top of the list. There?s a reason why automobiles are operated with a steering wheel and not a d-pad, and the iPad?s accelerometer does an excellent job of reminding us why. For those of you who were raised on game consoles, take heart, for Trophylite XL HD does indeed offer an option to steer with your thumb. I gave it a try while my wife was watching over my shoulder and she quickly ran off to get some Dramamine, stating that it looked like a chimp was driving. While I found the experience ridiculous bordering on absurd, I?m sure there?s somebody out there who prefers it, and whoever you are, 2XL Games hasn?t forgotten you.
Before reviewing a game, one of my favorite things to do is to turn my 8-year old loose on it. Usually when he plays with a racing game, his brow furrows and his beady little eyes narrow to a squint as he concentrates on not swerving all over the track. When he launched Trophylite Rally HD, however, his face lit up and his mouth spread into a grin that was almost larger than his face. With racing games, it?s easy to get caught up in the game?s features and technological strengths (which Trophylite Rally HD has in spades, believe me). What is unique about this game, however, is the wonderful sensation of speed, coupled with perfectly responsive controls. In no time, you?ll be sliding around corners and flying over jumps. You may not win your race every time but the developers have put a lot of time into making sure that you?re not fishtailing back and forth and slamming into obstacles as you learn. As your skill improves, you can disable the steering-assist feature, which will increase the sensitivity significantly. This excellent design decision rewards experienced players without punishing the uninitiated.
The graphics in Trophylite Rally HD are outstanding. The environment is sharp and crisp, and the models are smooth. Most importantly, however, the framerate is absolutely phenomenal. I suppose one advantage of writing games for a single piece of hardware is that it takes all of the guesswork out of how far to push the envelope. While this game is graphically impressive, you just don't get the impression that it's pushing the hardware all that hard. The end-result is a beautiful game that just flies. Graphically speaking, the only thing that I found vaguely disappointing is the fact that the terrain seems to be completely static. That is, the muddy/sandy/gravely sections of track don't seem to affect your ability to steer (although they might, I just couldn't pick up on it). Additionally, the game takes full advantage of the iPad's touch Interface including all of your old favorites like swiping to move between options and finger-sensitive sliders in the settings menu.
The sound effects in Trophylite Rally HD are what you'd expect in any good racing game. The engine revs and dips to simulate the shifting of gears, and the tires make a satisfying sound as you slide through the corners. There is also an option for a co-pilot, who calls out the upcoming terrain so you can better prepare. This option is enabled by default so if you don't like it, be sure to turn it off in the audio menu. The only thing missing is in-game music. Although you have the option of playing music from your iTunes library as long as you start it before you launch the game. A very nice touch on the developer's part is the fact that the video does not start if you have music playing.
Trophylite Rally HD is high-octane fun. If you're a racing fan, this should be an insta-buy. But even If you're not, the excellent controls and beautiful graphics should go a long way toward convincing you to give it a try. If you choose to sign up for their free Live Account, you will have access to in-game achievements, game stats, and leaderboards. Additionally, you will be able to compete to win real-world discounts and prizes through this service. Previous versions of this game were plagued with bugs (including a nasty one that crashed the game right after the opening video) but the game has been recently patched and I haven't been able to find anything to complain about since.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5): 5
Graphics: - 5 - Silky smooth animation and high frame rates combine to provide an A-list iPad driving experience. Sound: - 3 - Decent in-game sounds. If you want music, however, start your own before you launch the game. Controls: - 5 - Hands-down the best driving controls of any iPad racer. Intuitive and responsive without being squirrelly. Gameplay: - 5 - Several different game modes mean there will be something for everybody.
Playing Hints and Tips:
Initially, set your ego aside and leave the steering-assist and the co-pilot on. You can turn them off later once you get a feel for the tracks and the game. Experiment with different acceleration and braking strategies through the curves. Being able to "powerslide" around corners will mean the difference between winning and losing. Pick a single truck and stick with it. Upgrades do not transfer between vehicles.