Neon 2 Cars Racing Saga is a free racing game available on Android phones and tablets. It’s the latest from Universal Games, who were behind the very addictive and rather cute cartoon tapping game Penguin Run earlier this year.
The new game is tablet-optimised, which makes sense, as it’s a double handed tapping game. On a smaller phone screen a player is more likely to tap their own opposing thumb than the screen. (Trust me on this…). Plus, if a player has longer nails, it gives more chance to keep them safe too. The game is playable on all versions of Android from 2.3 upwards and is also fully integrated with social media. Log in with a Google account, and once downloaded, players will have access to the leader board as well as being able to share their progress with their social media followers across several different platforms, including Google+, Twitter and email. There are presently 315 reviews in total, of which the vast majority are 5*. The game has been available since September so it’s not quite as new as some I’ve written about, but it does mean that there have been more downloads too – over 10,000 so far.
As with many free games, players do have to dodge the adverts between games but once the game is under way the adverts stay out of the way in banner format at the top or bottom of the screen. This is a different format of tapping game to normal, as it requires players to play double handed rather than offering the option of either single or double handed (thumbed?) play. Console gamers used to operating one function with their left hand and quite a different one with their right will be perfectly at home with this game.
Neon 2 Cars Racing Saga is unashamedly retro in its look and feel, evoking the cult movie Tron in the design of the black road with the cars as silhouettes with glowing lines around them. This may well increase its appeal with gamers old enough to remember the classic arcade machines of the time, while the simple lines and bright colours make for an uncluttered screen for modern gamers. It would perhaps be even better without the adverts, but that’s the price of free apps these days.
Also simple is the idea – the player controls both cars, the blue with the left hand and the pink with the right. The cars move in parallel up the screen and the skill comes in negotiating different obstacles at different points on each side of the road. A tap moves a car from one lane to the other to avoid squares or pick up circles and triangles. Squares are roadblocks; hit one and it’s game over. Circles are worth one point and must be collected each time. A missed circle also means game over. Triangles are worth two points and can be missed if necessary. The screen moves at a smart pace upwards and the player must keep a sharp eye for upcoming obstacles and take the appropriate action.
The game can take a while to learn, as there is a certain amount of skill involved in dodging some shapes and deliberately not moving aside for others. It is definitely easier to play on a larger screen, hence Universal Games’ decision to optimise the game for playing on a tablet. That said, racing games are a suitable challenge for gamers of all ages. There is no age restriction on this game, although younger gamers may well have faster reflexes than older players, it has to be said.
The appeal of this racing game for me is the retro vibe, the simplicity and the fact that it is easy to pick up but challenging to play correctly. There’s nothing worse than a game which doesn’t challenge the player in some way, but there is no danger of that with Neon 2 Cars Racing Saga. Racing games are fun for all ages, so friends and family could choose to challenge each other then share their scores via social media. Apart from the adverts, the game runs smoothly, even on an older phone on the move. For a racing game, the impression of speed is important. The cartoon style has universal appeal and does make for an uncluttered screen on a smartphone.
Even though racing games are not my personal forte, Neon 2 Cars Racing Saga has many plus points. It’s an addicting game, it’s free, it’s a game for kids or older players, it has simple cartoon graphics and generally it runs smoothly (adverts excepted). For those who dislike paying for a casual game, this is a well designed and testing free game which is certainly worth a try.
All images provided by the developer, Universal Games, and used with permission.