NaturalMotion’s CSR Classics (iOS and Android) is a surprisingly addictive drag racing game brought to you by the same folks who made great strides with CSR Racing years before. I tried the original CSR Racing game many moons ago, but never stuck with it, mainly because, I think, collecting and racing the cars offered to the user did not interest me.
This problem is well solved in CSR Classics, where drag racing is put on a fictitious “strip” (think Las Vegas). Players buy, upgrade, and race cars from a vast catalog of classic cars, from traditional muscle (Ford Mustang, Chevy’s Corvair, and Nova, and the incredible Dodge Challenger, to name a few) to high-end classics like Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin. , and BMW, with a ton in between. Cars can be purchased in “loved” or “unloved” condition. Beloved cars look and perform much better than their unloved counterparts. As for me (and many people who have been involved with CSR Classics), I prefer to buy rusty, sweaty, hit and run relics to earn money to upgrade them, which makes CSR Classics much more than just a racing game, but rather one for collecting and building too.
The racing dynamics at CSR Classics are deceptively simple. To start a race, the driver (that’s you!) Hits the gas pedal to bring the needle into the “green zone” of the tachometer, trying to hold it there while the timer runs out and the race begins. Starting a career in the green zone provides a “perfect start”, which makes life that much easier. If the needle is too low in RPM, your car struggles to get up to speed, while overrunning the engine before start-up causes the wheels to spin, wasting valuable time until the wheels find their grip on the pavement.
Once the race starts, everything is time-based, as you must try to achieve a “perfect shift” through the gears. A fraction of a second sooner or later can cost a race, especially when competing with tougher opponents. The difficulty of the race varies between Easy (you can make a lot of mistakes and still come out on top), Challenging (a mistake here or there is surmountable, but don’t make it a habit), Hard (being at the top of your game or you you’ll go home a loser) and Extreme (I’ve never beat one of these and don’t even bother trying anymore.
As I said, timing is everything in CSR Classics while on the brake, as there is no need to worry about steering, braking, or acceleration (except when starting). However, the variety of career difficulties helps keep your interest, as do the different types of careers available.
In “career” mode, you try to rank up in better and stronger cars, spending your cash to upgrade what you have and buy new vehicles. Within each level are a variety of races, including ladder races, restriction races, crew races, and manufacturer or car specific events. CSR Racing also offers an “online” mode in which the developers say that you can compete against real life opponents. This is somewhat untrue, as you actually compete against other real-life players in ladder events for money, reputation, and prizes. However, what you can’t do is participate in a real-time endurance race against real-life opponents, which is a bit tricky (pun intended).
Like all games, CSR Classics has some problems. The two most obvious are the replay factor, which I’ve run into every now and then if I’ve played a lot recently, but I keep coming back. Let’s face it, there is only one time limit and tapping a guy can do before things get a little boring. But, for me, a bit of free time and the appeal of new cars (which NaturalMotion regularly adds) brings me back.
The other big drawback is a common one in all the “free” games I have played, namely that at some point the developers make it very frustrating NOT to invest money in the game. CSR Racing does this by using “gold”, which CAN be earned in races or by completing free offers, but that is an extremely time consuming and tedious process, especially since there are some really amazing cars that can only be bought with large amounts of gold. .
Overall though, CSR Classics gets a big “thumbs up” from this gaming gourmand as it has provided me, and I believe it will continue to, hours of good play.