Typical - you wait ages for a good racing game and then three come along at once. They’re all from the same company too, as Feral brought F1 2012 to the Mac just recently, and have just released Sonic Racing recently as well (which we have lined up for next month).
The F1 2012 game inevitably had to follow the format of the Formula 1 race season very closely. In contrast, Grid lets it hair down a bit and allows you to take part in a wider range of races that take place on professional race tracks and also on ordinary streets in various locations around the world.
The start of the game is a bit of a shock. There’s no tutorial – as there was in F1 2012 – and you are thrown into a rookie race that you have to complete in order to earn your racing license. The starter car that you’re given for this race seems extremely sensitive at first and even a slight tap of the left or right keys on your keyboard can send you screeching into the barriers at the side of the track. It’s worth trying out a gamepad if you’ve got one available, as that might provide smoother controls.
It doesn’t take long to get the hang of things, though, and Grid also includes a ‘flashback’ option that allows you to rewind the action to just before a bad crash so that you can try again without having to replay the entire race from the beginning.
Grid includes dozens of different race events around the world
Once you’ve got your license you can accept offers to race with existing teams, and this is a quick way to earn some cash and get yourself a better car. But in order to succeed in Grid you also need to earn ‘reputation’ points, and that means saving a decent wodge of cash in order to start your own team. You can then take part in a wider range of races, including ‘drift’ racing where you deliberately over-steer in order to perform a high-speed skid-turn, and ‘touge’ races that take place on public roads winding through the mountains of Japan.
But for many people the real fun will be the Demolition Derby, where pretty much anything goes as long as you manage to cross the finishing line. The 3D graphics in Grid could perhaps be a little more detailed, but the sparks and chunks of metal that go flying in the Demolition games are realistic enough to create an enjoyable sense of mayhem.
There’s a multiplayer mode too, with an option for playing with friends on your home network. However, you have to use the rather obscure GameRanger service to find opponents on the Internet, so you may struggle to find a good race online. And, like many of Feral’s games, Grid is rather particular about its system requirements, so you should check the Feral web site first to make sure that your Mac can run the game properly.
Grid is very much a racing game rather than a technically accurate driving simulator. But if you just want to put your foot to the floor and go all out for some high-speed racing action then Grid is the game for you.