Ladies and gentleman, start your iOS devices! With the upcoming racing season about to begin, we will attempt to get out of the gate early with our review of F1 2011, developed by Jump Games. F1 2o11 is a single-player game that simulates the experience of driving an F1 car on your iOS device. This title offers racers thirteen different drivers in three different modes of play. Whether you want to race an entire season or just one race, F1 2011 has you covered. Wannabe racers can find this game via the iTunes market from your iPad or iPhone.
The first mode of play is the World Championship mode. If you are new to the racing space, World Championship mode is equivalent to a season in other major sports. You choose a racer and start racing right away. During the course of a season, you will drive all of the nineteen tracks. The object is to place as high in the race as possible. The higher you place, the more points you will score; the player with the most points at the end of the season finishes as league champion.
If the World Championship mode seems like too much of a commitment for you, give the Grand Prix mode a try. Grand Prix is where players have the option of playing a single race on a single track, rather than racing on all the tracks. In this mode, you have the option to choose how many laps you race on any particular track. This is a nice addition, since it allows you to play as much or as little as you want.
The last mode offered is the time trial. Much like the Grand Prix mode, you race a single course, but this time, there are no competitors. It’s just you and the open road, with the object being to see how fast the track can be completed. Be careful not to cut corners and stay on the road. If you go off the track, the lap is nullified, and the race is wasted. This mode is all about getting to know the tracks, so when the laps count, you know what to expect. This mode of play also gives gamers a feel for what driver/car combination works best for your style of driving. It is recommended to play this mode before starting a championship season. Getting to learn each of the courses is a huge advantage for players, and giving your driver every advantage possible is important for success in this game.
Thankfully, Jump Games did more a lot to improve the franchise. The controls for the race cars are simple and effective. Touch the gas pedal to speed up and touch the brake pedal to slow down. Both pedals are shown on screen for quick and easy reference. If breaking is not your forte, follow the arrows on the pavement, and the auto-brake will automatically slow the car down. Steering is about as easy as it can get, considering that F1 2011 uses the device’s accelerometer; simply tilt your device to the left or right and your car will turn. Having such an easy control scheme allows players to focus on the important parts of the game, and that is always a good thing.
Most importantly, Jump Games wants to hear from their fans. On the main menu, there is a “Connect” feature that allows players to send feedback immediately. If a gamer feels the game is missing something, they can reach out directly to the developers. Since few games are perfect, it is nice to know that they want to hear from their customers.
Unfortunately, there were plenty of areas in this game that don’t live up to expectations. Sometimes, having an oversimplified game takes the fun out of actually playing it, and this seems to be the case for F1 2011. The game lacks all the great aspects of racing. Drafting, which is a commonly used tactic in racing to gain a few extra miles per hour, offers no benefit whatsoever. Not only that, but there is absolutely no chance that you will wreck. No matter how hard a racer tries to run someone off the road, it will not happen. The sense of realism is destroyed by eliminating the aspects of racing that makes it exciting and dangerous.
The problems are not just limited to the gameplay. The menu layout, graphics, and soundtrack come across as extremely lackluster. When the game is launched, players are met with a menu that is, apparently, inside the automobile. This layout is confusing at first, and takes a few minutes to understand how to navigate the menus. The graphics are simply sub-par and lack any meaningful details. When driving the course, backgrounds become pixelated. When looking outside, the sky is either partly cloudy or sunny. When passing the stands, there is no crowd to watch the action. As you can tell, the details were simply overlooked. More often than not, players notice the lengths developers take to enhance a video game experience, and frankly, this game fails to immerse players by skipping these details.
Finally, the game’s sound effects sound out of place and weak for the actions they were representing. The engine, whether speeding up or slowing down, does not sound as it should. Also, the sound of tires screeching on the pavement around hair pin turns is missing. The sound effects are important to a racing game, this game just does not deliver the sounds you would expect.
There are far too many other racing games out there to invest time in a half-finished game like this. However, when you compare the 2010 version to the 2011 version, the franchise has shown improvement. If this company keeps improving its product, the next version of this game will be worth keeping an eye on. Unfortunately, as the game stands now, it won’t get our recommendation. F1 2011 gets 3 out of 10 laps completed.
[xrr rating=3/10, max_stars=10]
This review is based on a review copy of the iOS version of F1 2011 by Jump Games