Free-to-play games often look appealing, but it's difficult to know at a glance whether the business model is insidious and fun ruining, or reasonable and worth pumping a few bucks into. With Freemium Field Test, we'll take a recent free-to-play iOS game, put it through its paces, and let you know if it's really worth your time (and money).
If you're one of the millions of people that flocked to see Furious 7 this weekend, you might be eager to relive some of the big-screen thrills on your iPhone or iPad — and Fast & Furious: Legacy is ready and waiting for you. Here's the bad news: It's a free-to-play game that features multiple currency systems, timers that force you to wait for arbitrary reasons, and fair bit of grinding needed to unlock faster cars and later content.
Here's the good news: Despite all of that being true and totally expected for this type of modern movie game, Legacy is actually totally reasonable in most of its freemium design. Better yet, it's actually quite fun in moments, with plenty of presentational gloss and callbacks to the entire film series to pull you along. It might not be the richest or most complex racing game around, but it's a good companion to the films.
Looking for a directional pad, tilt controls, or an acceleration button? You won't find it here, as Fast & Furious: Legacy isn't a traditional racing game. Instead, it collects a series of driving-based events that feature simple controls and interactions. You'll rev your engine and slam on the gas to start each mission, but from there, the game shifts into one of a few forms.
Drag races are very similar to freemium smash CSR Racing, in which you must shift gears to continue accelerating at peak speeds and beat your foe to the finish line. Street races, on the other hand, see you tapping to change lanes as you dodge traffic — and occasionally, police cruisers that try to slow you down by smashing into your ride. And drift events send your car spinning around turn-heavy courses, as you slide your finger left and ride to control its arc while whipping around turns.
None of the events are particularly complex, but they're all nicely executed for what they are, and the game lays the polish on thick. The glossy cars are impressively rendered, the backdrops feature eye-catching neon signs and other vivid details, and the rainbow effect while boosting nitrous adds some fun flair. And while only the B-players from the films have their likenesses recreated here (with still images and text), there's enough light flavor to the dialogue to recall the movies' notable characters and events.
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