Game Review: Railroad Racer 3D
Release: August 29, 2010
Genre: FPS/Platformer elements
Developer: Exosyphen Studios
Available Platforms: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad (Requires iOS 3.0 or later)
ESRB Rating: 4+ (I do not agree; you dual-wield handguns!)
Website: RailRoad Racer 3D
Railroad Racer puts you in an abandoned mine shaft, cruising down the rails at high speeds in a rail cart. Armed only with two pistols and the ability to jump in your cart, you must collect items and destroy obstacles for as long as you can.
There are three levels to choose from, although there is no discernable difference in gameplay or difficulty. Tap the screen to start and you begin slowly rolling down the tracks. Near the top of the screen is a red and green speed gauge which tells you if you are going too fast. At any given time you have the ability to Brake, which will slow your cart down to minimum speed and put you safely back in the green. This is important for two reasons: Once you get in the red zone, you periodically take damage. Moving slowly also gives you more time to shoot and jump over obstacles.
The other critical functions are Grab, Jump, and Fire. You occasionally pass helpful items such as health, gold bars, and most importantly, bullets. Grab those at every opportunity, but take care not to grab the explosives! Jump over the boxes and lumber sitting on the tracks or take damage. The one unavoidable obstacle is a barrier that completely blocks the track; you must completely destroy it with shooting or run into it and take massive damage.
Railroad Racer 3D looks good overall. All the objects are edgy and rectangular, but very clearly rendered so you know exactly what each one is. The cart rolls smoothly down the tracks, even if it bobs like a fishing boat in rough seas. The jumping is easy to perform and consistently timed with a little practice. I was a little worried about the timing of the Grab function, but one tap and you automatically target the nearest Grab-able item.
This game eventually boils down to luck. Bullets are the limiting factor to your success and always will be. The barriers take 5-8 shots to bring down, but almost always 6. This helps in bullet conservation, but there will come a point when you don’t have enough bullets to destroy a barrier. You have no choice but to take it to the chops and hope you get some health. Unfortunately, you will encounter 3 or 4 barriers in a row with no bullets, leaving you helpless and resigned to your fate.
I don’t like games that take the experience out of the users’ hands. Every time I have died in this game, it has been because of consecutive barriers with no ammo. RR3D doesn’t get progressively harder with time; it just refuses to give you bullet pickups when you run out of ammo. The only reason I occupy the number one ranking on the leaderboard is because I reduced the game to a science and didn’t make any mistakes. Even then I feel robbed because the game didn’t end under my own volition. It is because of this glaring flaw I cannot recommend this game, which is a shame; otherwise Railroad Racer 3D would be pretty fun.