Cracking Sands Review
- Mario Kart-a-like concept, but with its own twist; energy defines everything you do.
- Plenty of gadgets and vehicles/upgrades to play with.
- Drifting mechanic haphazard in its deployment; tilt gesture takes some getting used to and even then isn't a solid thing.
- Clever stage design let down by the otherwise dated presentation; possibly a concession to older iDevices.
Cracking Sands manages to walk a tight line of balance between giving players too much self-sufficiency and not enough variety. At times it stumbles, but as a Kart-a-like racer it still manages to capture the fun of the genre.
- Full Review
- App Store Info
Going solo isn't always easy, especially when a major success like Reckless Racing 2 is under your belt. Polarbit and Pixelbite made a wonderful team and the end result was a racer that may still defining the high-water mark for the top-down racing genre. Recently Pixelbite made a small splash with Repulze, but something was missing - it lacked a sense of whimsy. Now, Polarbit releases their own racer, Cracking Sands, and while the concept is fun and calls upon the shade of Mario Kart, it lacks refinement in its execution.
In fact, if we use Mario Kart as the starting point for explaining how Cracking Sands works, this will take less time. Ultimately a player's driving skills only count for half of their success. Each vehicle is equipped with on-demand nitro boosts, as well as gadgets of the offensive, defensive and utilitarian variety - there are no random power-ups to worry about; no mystical blue-shells robbing you of victory.
Instead you'll have to manage your vehicle's power by collecting batteries of various sizes scattered around the level while avoiding the mayhem of the vehicles around you. When everything is crashing and bashing together on the wonderfully complex and multi-pathed stages, this works out to be a perfect system... but should you get a break-away moment, all the power-ups in the world won't stop you from basically sitting on your nitro and enjoying the no-sweat victory.
Of course the AI makes this harder than it sounds as it's not so much interested in winning as it is making sure _you_ don't win, but you never feel overwhelmed.
And that's really all there is to say - there are modes to unlock; vehicles to buy and upgrade; online multiplayer; and the controls are simple (if a bit loose when it comes to 'drifting'). Nothing reaches an exceptional level; from the presentation, to the gameplay itself - it's all middle of the road.
It's unfair to compare something like Cracking Sands to Reckless Racing 2 - they are, after all, entirely different games - however it's hard not to feel as though Polarbit missed a trick or two here and there. Still, it's a fun racer and one that manages to remain fun for hours, so take our lament with a grain of salt.
DescriptionIn a world ravaged by global warfare, small pockets of survivors scratch out a meagre existence, living off the remains of a shattered civilization. Society has been reduced to a tribal state, where rank and social standing is based on one thing and one thing only: death races!
Cracking Sands is an action-packed racer featuring a band of merry lunatics driving small vehicles fitted with big guns. Your trigger finger will be tested just as much as your straight racing skills. Like the saying goes: if you can’t go around something (or someone), you go through them instead.
Mix and match pieces to create your own custom character and kart, then equip it with all the machine guns, missiles, mines and exotic implements of doom it can carry. Unlock new parts to tweak your character and kart even further.
Cracking Sands features multiple single player game modes as well as online multiplayer, allowing you to square off against both the vicious AI and other racers from all over the world!
What's New in Version 1.0.32 New Attack weapons: Shotgun & Rail Gun
2 New Defence weapons: Stealth Mine & Power Mine
2 New Utilities: Coin Magnet & Jump Pack
15 New character parts
New Track for Single Races
New camera setting
Adjustable difficulty in Single Races
Ability to abort a started cup
Multiplayer stability fixes
Free coins to earn
Various minor bug- and issue fixes