Colin McRae Rally iOS Review: Drifting Back Ceaselessly Into The Past (PICTURES)

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Once upon a time - back when video games were young, innocent and on the whole offline - Colin McRae Rally was as dominant among rally games as its late namesake was in the WRC.

With its flat-out, arcade style of dusty road racing, handling that was fun and forgiving but also precise, and for-the-time excellent graphics and a wide variety of stages, the McRae series was rightly seen as the gold standard of the genre.

Since the early 2000s, though, driving games - including Codemaster's now McRae-less Dirt sequels - have gotten far more complex graphically and mechanically - not only on consoles but on mobile devices too. So now Colin McRae Rally itself is back for iOS (iPhone and iPad) is it able to hold its own?

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On the plus side, the core of the game - based on Colin McRae Rally 2.0 for PSOne - is as ridiculously fun as it ever was.

The handling is perfectly pitched, with drift and cornering easy enough to get a hold of for beginners, while rewarding repeated play and expert timing. Translated to either on-screen or tilt controls - neither of which are perfect but both of which work - it makes for a seriously entertaining drive, with muddy hairpins, dirt-track fence post dives and even the occasional road all fodder for your masterful swerve turns.

The game is also full of content, with 130km of tracks, plus a very tight career mode that incorporates damage repairs, multiple stage races and tactics. There are a bunch of cars - though no customisation - and a nicely paced sense of progression. The graphics - while still 3D - are now virtually retro, but are sharp enough to hold the game together.

What it lacks are a few core features - most notably multiplayer. There is also no manual transmission mode, limited camera options and a sense of being a bit 'static'. And to go back to the graphics, when compared to titles like Real Racing 3 the visuals will seem downright poor to anyone who doesn't realise that this is a remade 2001 title, and not a brand-new game.

All that said, iOS gamers have generally been able to place playability, fun and value for money ahead of graphical shenanigans and fancy features. And at just £2.99, with this level of playability, it's hard to argue that Colin McRae Rally won't drift through the finishing line ahead of the pack.

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