The new mobile game for Project CARS is out – but does it live up to the franchise?
Photo credit: Project CARS GO
This one is for the mobile racers out there: the smartphone game of the Project CARS franchise it out now. Gamevil’s mobile racing game launched globally on 22 March and already made a flashy appearance on social media. With official Project CARS developer Slightly Mad Studios on board, the mobile version promises at least relative closeness to the original games. We were curious what the app had in store and tried the game out ourselves – so here’s what we gathered.
How do I drive?
Let’s start with some hard facts: on release date, Project CARS GO already offers a total of 51 well-known race cars as well as 12 different tracks. However, starting the game for the first time, players don’t get to see a lot of that – yet. The first new racers are going to see is – of course – the tutorial. This one is held by the player’s personal coach Laila who explains all the game controls. Fitting for a mobile game, these are fairly simple and consist solely of tapping and holding a finger on the display.
Talking about the controls, the title follows the path of other mobile racers: despite being a racing game, Project CARS GO doesn’t really give the player any control over their car. At least not over where it’s going.
The only real influence drivers have is over how fast they are going, as tapping on the screen at the right moment will make their car accelerate smoothly, while messing up the timing slows them down. Especially in the early races that aim to go easy on the players and require them to tap only in long intervals, the game feels more like watching an animated race rather than participating in one. However, there is more to discover in the game than this.
Conquering the world on a hunch
After the first race on Monza, we are introduced to the actual story of the game – and yes, there is a story line to follow! It consists of the racer participating in a World Tour that will open up new races to compete in after each completed round. Having started in Monza, our next stop is Mont St. Michel, also introducing us to the next racing mode: drag races!
The new mode definitely earns points for variety but sadly turns out to not be all-too different from the regular races. Players have to tap on their screen in order to manage their tyre temperature and get a perfect start. After that, it’s tapping to shift the gears at the right moment. Nothing too thrilling over here, although we have to admit that the races are far from boring nonetheless.
The undoubtedly outstanding graphics combined with the dynamic camera movement help to forget the overly simple controls, setting a great scene for the car models. Despite the game being visually challenging for the average phone – showing in noticeably rising temperatures – the game also ran smoothly for the entire testing period.
From the second race on, players get a basic idea of what most of the game will be like. After every race, they are awarded with at least two of the three in-game currencies: cash, Madbugs and diamonds to pay for new cars, technical upgrades and paint jobs. The latter are usually obtained in daily rewards or bought with real money, whereas the first two can be bought, but also come as rewards for races and playing the game on the daily.
Ambitious players of Project CARS GO could definitely stay occupied for a while, grinding through the races and stacking up their money to buy better cars, upgrade and customise them and unlock harder difficulties. In these terms, the game has quite a lot to offer – especially, as it is also possible to connect with friends and race against them in a private party. However, players who really want to climb to the top and obtain the best possible cars might face some frustrating in-game mechanics.
The best car models in the game are categorised as Tier 6 Cars – there are only four in total and they don’t come cheap at all. One might assume that’s quite fitting for them being the best of the best, but the Toyota TS050 Hybrid, for example, will cost no less than 1.4 million cash as well as 3,000 diamonds.
The diamond part can be saved up via daily rewards – but hardly so, as the game awards merely two to five diamonds every other day. The alternative is to buy them altogether for as much as 115 euros. Other cars in the highest tier can only be obtained via random reward packages or boxes which can be bought or won in races. This unfortunately has an air of gambling to it but will luckily only be relevant to those who really want to push their max level and play the game to the fullest.
Conclusion – What’s the game really worth?
After our play test of Project CARS GO, we would honestly give it a thumbs-up for the overall gameplay experience. Despite not providing the actual feeling of racing – as players only tap on their screen – the game doesn’t fail to entertain and has a nice loot-and-level aspect to it that will definitely keep players hooked for the first dozen races. Starting off in the game feels fairly rewarding, as the first car upgrades and liveries come quite cheap and the races start to get more difficult at an appropriate pace. Project CARS GO also positively surprises by not being crammed with ads despite being free-to-play. Players will have to watch one advertisement every ten races or so to “fuel their tank” – as it is disguised in the in-game mechanics. This is not really annoying or over-the-top at all.
Considering that the game is a mobile title and as such can really only offer so much, we consider Project CARS GO an entertaining approach that doesn’t get boring for quite a while. Especially so if you’re really into increasing your vehicle’s stats and improving your screen-tapping reaction time. It has to be said, however, that players who expect an experience similar to the official simulation franchise definitely bark up the wrong tree with the mobile version.
Have you tried Project CARS GO yet? If so, what do you think of it? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!