Firemonkeys are undoubtedly the perfect studio to handle the Need for Speed franchise; the studio formed from an amalgamation of Firemint, the undisputed king of mobile racing simulators, and Iron Monkey, the studio responsible for Dead Space, Mirrors Edge and Mass Effect Infiltrator. Need for Speed: Most Wanted should be an action packed racing experience, filled to the brim with content, variety and exciting racing events.
Unfortunately, it isn’t.
Unlike its console counterpart, the mobile version of Need For Speed: Most Wanted is not an open world racing experience. Instead, players are treated to a list of events to compete in, only to find out that they all play out very much the same way. While I understand the limitations behind mobile titles, a smaller slice of an open world Fairhaven would have been better than what has been served up in this iteration.
“There’s a difference between making a little money and being insulting to players, and Need for Speed: Most Wanted is at the verge of crossing that line.”
Players will find themselves competing in a number of race types in order to win cash, purchase more cars, upgrades and to become the most wanted driver in Fairhaven. Despite the vast number of events available, each and every single area you drive through looks exactly the same, which leaves the game feeling a little stale after a handful of play sessions. Variety is the spice of life, and Need for Speed: Most Wanted is relying on the cars to add that spice.
Unfortunately, you will have to part with your hard earned cash to drive said cars. Micro-transactions rear their ugly head as unlocked cars are hidden behind a paywall until you are willing to cough up some really money. Considering the steep asking price of $7.49 to begin with, you can’t blame me for being less than thrilled when an exotic car I unlocked during a boss battle will then cost me a few extra dollars to actually own. There’s a difference between making a little money and being insulting to players, and Need for Speed: Most Wanted is at the verge of crossing that line.
The career mode will have players progressing through the races, slowly working their way up the top ten most wanted list until the are ultimate bad ass of Fairhaven. The real question is, does anyone care?
The default controls will have players using the gyroscope to steer, with automatic acceleration providing a pick up and play experience. Users can opt for an on-screen steering wheel which feels a little finicky at first, but ultimately offers the most control. It’s not as good as Real Racing, but Need for Speed: Most Wanted handles touchscreen controls well.
While the gameplay may leave a little to be desired, the visuals in Need for Speed: Most Wanted are top notch. We tested the game on an iPhone 4, iPhone 5, iPad and Nexus 7 and all versions ran silky smooth, with cars looking gorgeous and the minimalistic hub was crisp and full of life. Even at high speeds the vehicles never lose their detail, which is a true testament to the power of the graphics engine powering the game.