Death Rally Review

By , on April 1, 2011

Death Rally
Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5


  • Slick graphics; detailed levels, effects and Retina/iPad 2 support.
  • Relatively easy to pick up controls; simple and effective for creating chaos.
  • Lots of unique 'boss' characters including a few familiar faces.


  • Lacks replay value once you're maxed out.
  • No alternative controls or left-hand options.


Death Rally isn't necessarily top-down mayhem racing at its best, but working your way to the next vehicle, weapon and upgrade along while blowing up opponents has an appeal all of its own.

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While gamers are likely to recognize and associate Remedy Entertainment with titles like Max Payne and Alan Wake, those who were lucky enough to be a PC gamer in the 90's might remember the original Death Rally and its top-down Death Race 2000 inspired mayhem. While not as fully featured as some racers, the arcade-style classic has been reborn on the App Store and players can get back to what's truly important in a race - blowing people up.

However, before you can start causing some real chaos you'll need to go through the process of unlocking, and upgrading new cars and weapons by earning cash through races. Earning cash places less emphasis on winning (although you do get a healthy bonus for doing so) and more on a host of varied objectives such as fast laps; how many people you've eliminated; and whether or not you've defeated the 'boss' for the level. Much like the original game there are several unique characters for each vehicle and in a neat touch you can race against Duke Nukem - a nod to the original game's connection to Apogee.

In what seems like an odd decision, the controls are limited to a virtual stick system that requires no braking or acceleration as your car turns in the direction you move your thumb. While this does make aiming your weapons a lot easier, it will take some time to mentally adjust to steering efficiently.

Visually the game is superb and while there are only a handful of levels the game attempts to mix things up with varied perspectives and mirrored/reversed directions to bulk up the handful of unique tracks. This does limit the appeal of constantly racing to grind out cash, but players are given a choice of six levels that change after each race along with unique challenge levels with gameplay twists such as limiting the weaponry and forcing players to use a specific car.

The real driving force behind Death Rally comes from watching bars fill up after each match and constantly picking up pieces of scrap that go towards new cars and weapons - it's shallow, but strangely appealing despite the repetitive gameplay. If you loved games like Rock n' Roll Racing and Carmageddon you'll get a kick out of this racer as well.


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