Car Club: Tuning Storm by TapSoul (on sale now) is not the kind of game I would generally like, but for some reason this one has me coming back and playing over and over again.  The basic premise is that you race various cars for coins and you use those coins to purchase upgrades for your car.  The racing itself is a very simple straight track, like a drag race/quarter mile race.  There is no turning; you only use shifting gears and nitrous to control your speed.  Shift timing is important as it greatly impacts how quickly you reach your maximum speed.  Controlling the timing of the nitrous burst is also very important and often determines whether you win or lose each race.  That’s the simple part.  The game also allows for customization of your vehicle(s).  You start with one type of car for free and then can purchase, either through your coin winnings or real $, additional cars to race and customize.

Some changes are free but many cost the in-game coin currency.  Paint colors and neon options appear to be free but new hoods, doors and bumpers cost you.  Upgrades to the vehicle like weight reduction or increased top speed also cost coins.  You can of course purchase additional coins and you can spend real money to unlock various cars.  It appears there are 10 total cars and you can buy most of them for the in-game coin currency.

Entertainment value – 4/5

I’m not an expert on cars but I do like the idea of customizing them even if I’d likely never drive one on the street.  I like the simple racing enjoy upgrading the performance of the car so that I can do better (win) on the next race.  I also like how, if you lose a race, you get a small amount of coinage to help move you along.  Trying out different colors, parts, different neon lights is – for some reason – entertaining to me.   The 3D graphics engine allows me to spin and rotate the car so I can admire my handy work.  Admittedly, most of the coins I spend go toward improving performance but making color changes, especially the free ones, is pretty fun.

Ease of Use 4/5

Never had to open the manual on this one.  I actually never looked to see if there was a manual, it was so easy.  The only reason I did not give it 5 out of 5 is that navigating the menus sometimes made me stop and think before moving on.

Likelihood of replay 4.5/5

I’m quite sure I’ll be playing this game again and again.  The nice thing is that if you’re patient, you can earn coins repeating the same races over and over so that you can afford the upgrades to win the later races.  If you’re not patient you can spend money for in-game coins or just buy faster cars right off the bat.

a view from the garage

 

Graphics and Sound 4/5

The graphics looked good to me.  Sometimes when looking at this type of 3D rendering, it feels un-natural but I think cars, buildings, roads tend to lend themselves well to this style and I think they look pretty good.  The sound is OK.  In the garage mode you have a sort of calm, electronic mix playing in the back ground.  During the races you hear engine, shifting and nitrous burst sounds and no music.  Also, you can’t play your own music while the game is running.

Overall 4/5

Positives: This game is fun if you like racing and/or customizing cars.  The game play itself is simple and intuitive and earning coins is easy especially if you’re patient.    I think my kids would really like this game too because it seems simple enough that a youngster could figure it all out very easily.  Since I have the in-game purchases turned off there would be no risk in them accidentally buying upgrades.  The various customization options could keep someone busy for hours earning coins and buying new parts.

Negatives: I got the game for free but it appears they want to charge 2.99 as their normal pricing.  I probably would pay only $0.99 for the game just based on my own gut feel and comparisons to hundreds of other games out there.  $2.99 seems like too much for the amount of content they provide for free in the game.  Plus, they have in game ads.  They are not obtrusive but still, if I’m paying for a game, I don’t want iAds showing up.

Where to get it

iTunes

How much is it

Free to $2.99 plus multiple types of in-game purchase options.