Days of Thunder for iPhone review
Depending on your cinematic taste, Tom Cruise’s 1990 stock car racing film Days of Thunder may linger in your memory like the taste of a fine wine…or perhaps like the smell from that leaky milk bottle that your child dropped down between the seats of your car that you then didn’t find for a couple of months.
Regardless of your memories of the movie, Freeverse and Paramount have teamed up to make an all-around exciting game for the iPhone and iPod touch.
In Days of Thunder, you step into Cole Trickle’s shoes, trying to earn your way up to the top rung of stock car racing. You begin on the Amateur circuit, and as you win races and earn high finishes, you progress up through the Qualifying, Semi-Pro, Pro, Super Circuit, and Endurance circuits.
On each circuit, the opponents get tougher and the races get longer.
As you progress through your career, you unlock tracks and cars, earning special achievements for things such as completing a race without pitting or by causing a marked rival to explode in flames.
In all, there are 14 cars to be won, and 39 races to compete in, spread across 12 unique tracks. I’ll admit to not yet having mastered all the circuits - in fact, after way too much “research,” I’m just now reaching the Pro level. But that’s a good thing, as the game is quite entertaining.
Just like the movie, very little of Days of Thunder is realistic. Also just like the movie, that lack of realism doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of fun. In fact, far from it - Days of Thunder is one of the most fun games I’ve played on my iPhone in quite a while.
The action is fast and furious, the sound effects are good and not too annoying, and the soundtrack is even bearable.
The interface is quite simple - gas on the right, brake on the left, and occasionally, a button above each of those. Steering is accomplished by tilting your iPhone from side to side, and the developers got the sensitivity just right - it doesn’t take too much motion to turn, but every little twitch won’t send you into the wall.
There are two main racing tactics to use in Days of Thunder. The first is the smooth, professional style - you move up slowly behind a line of traffic and draft off the cars in front of you.
As you draft, a meter slowly builds onscreen; when it maxes out, a hammer icon appears. Tap the hammer, and you get a sudden burst of speed you can use to pull out of the draft and pass the traffic. That’s how a pro would do it.