Need for Speed Shift for iPhone review

Need For Speed Shift, Electronic Art’s £3.99 sequel to Need For Speed Undercover, is one heck of a racing game and it looks phenomenal.

Driving feels smooth and nuanced; tilting the iPhone to steer feels natural and effortless, and so far no other racing game for the iPhone has implemented the tilt control better. We also found that it responded well to both subtle and dramatic steering.

Braking is intuitive – you simply tap and hold on the screen. You can also choose what the game takes care of for you (in terms of steering assist or automatic shifting, for example). If you choose manual transmission, you up and down-shift with a single vertical swipe on the right side of the screen.

Once you’ve raced through the courses in Chicago, you can unlock levels in London and Tokyo. The game’s 18 tracks provide extra replay value, because you can unlock more achievements (fastest lap time, stay in first place for an entire lap, etc).

As you win races, you earn cash for upgrading your car or buying a new one, and you won’t get far without doing so strategically. The game rewards you for both driving accuracy and aggressiveness, and the more you score, the more cars you’ll unlock. Twenty different models are available.

The game’s soundtrack is rockin’ and the engine and road sounds are good, but that much grinding motor noise grew tiresome, so we ended up adjusting the volume settings to make the effects quieter.

Need For Speed Shift supports both Bluetooth and WiFi multiplayer, the former with up to four players and the latter with a maximum of two.

OUR VERDICT

Our only complaint relates to the menu options. They’re not always clearly labelled, and can be a tedious to navigate. The other issue, not surprisingly, is that extended playtime can be a serious battery drain.

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