The Fast & Furious films have been a major part of the zeitgeist since the first release in the early 00’s. Who doesn’t like seeing sexy cars race at sexy speeds down sexy streets with…uh, sexy sex? The questions is, what happens when an unstoppable movie franchise hits iOS devices? In this case, you get Fast & Furious 6: The Game, a fitting mobile experienced based on the films.
Fast & Furious 6: The Game easily fits into the series’ canon. Characters like Tej, Roman, and Brian appear with the likenesses of Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, and Paul Walker, respectively. You are then inserted into the universe as a prospective member of the crew. Through drift races, drag challenges, and story missions, you’ll join up and rise through the ranks of the group.
The gameplay here is unlike most racing games on iOS. Where most require a touch of an acceleration button and steering via tilting, Fast & Furious 6: The Game is exclusively based on timing. Races involve tapping various icons within a certain window to boost your speed, drift corners, and shift gears. It’s a nice change from the gimmicky tilt of many iOS games, but it does make it tough to view the races as more than quick-time events.
Racing involves a few different icon touches, starting with launching your car at the beginning of a race. As the countdown moves to zero, you can time your press of the launch icon with zero for a special boost, á la Mario Kart. Once in motion, you’ll be prompted shift gears at certain times; this is done by swiping along the gearbox icon. You can also hit the drift icon on certain turns to boost around the curve. Time it right, and you’ll boost your speed along the turn. Finally, you can hit the nitrous icon for a temporary boost.
These mechanics sound like they bolster Fast & Furious 6: The Game, but they don’t. As stated, this passive way of racing makes the whole experience feel like a quick-time event, like a rhythm-based minigame with no beat. Shifting simply doesn’t work within the given window, and seeing as it’s one of the key factors in winning races, this is an issue. Expect lots of clipping too: I had quite a few races where I drifted through the sidewalk and stayed there for the remainder of the race.
Between these missions of hackneyed button presses, you’ll be tapping even more icons. The game sports an aerial map with numerous races to be undertaken (side note: you can also get information on the film and purchase tickets there). From here, you can try drift challenges, join special races, or make your way through the story mode. If anything, Fast & Furious 6: The Game does give you a lot of options, even if they all boil down to the same middling racing.
In between racing events, you’ll spend time in Tej’s garage; this is where Fast & Furious 6: The Game is truest to its roots. Here, you can buy cars and upgrade your current model. Cars, all of which are real-world makes and models, are ranked via a performance index, and high-end cars will take time to earn. Silver is earned after each racing event, but you can purchase gold with actual money over your Apple ID. Cars and customization options list a silver and gold price, though some can only be bought with gold.
Customization comes in two forms: performance and appearance. On the performance side, you can upgrade things like your engine, exhaust, and flywheel to boost stats like speed and handling. You car’s appearance can also be changed via paint jobs and decals. Fast & Furious 6: The Game may lack in the gameplay department, but it excels in its “ooh, cool cars” vibe.
Fast & Furious 6: The Game isn’t a must-play iOS title by any stretch. Series fans may want to dabble in the universe for the sake of fan fiction, but the game doesn’t hold its own weight. Sure, Tej’s garage is true to the series, but the racing itself is a joke. Tapping icons rather than oddly tilting your device sounds like a good idea until you try it: the novelty, if you can call it that, wears thin very quickly. For a free game, we can’t complain too loudly, though it’s little more than a half-nod to its film foundation.