F1™ Challenge Review

By , on October 11, 2013
Last modified 7 years, 8 months ago

F1™ Challenge
Download on the AppStore
3 out of 5


  • High difficultly level makes for tense, high stakes racing.
  • Slick presentation and official teams provide a sheen of quality.
  • Lots of content to unlock.


  • Difficult to get the stars necessary to unlock later content.
  • Steering can be a little tricky, especially on iPad.
  • IAPs to unlock levels quickly seem cynical.


Though its production values are impressive and its licenses plentiful, F1 Challenge's steep difficulty curve and mean approach to unlocking content throw up unnecessary road blocks.

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Formula 1 is all about precision. Brake too late going into corner or accelerate too quickly coming out of one, and your championship hopes can be drowned in a pool of your opponent's victory champagne.

Perhaps that's why The Codemaster's latest take on F1, a top-down arcade-style racer, feels a little strange. It presents you with a format usually reserved for skid-tastic, tyre-squealing follies like Micro Machines, and then asks you to control some of the fastest racing cars on the planet with pin-point accuracy.

In many ways, F1 Challenge's unusual juxtaposition of content and context delivers impressive results.

The machines themselves, belonging to 12 of the official Formula 1 racing teams, look fantastic. To steer these piston-pumping powerhouses around the track, you swipe your thumb up and down the right side of the screen, as if guiding the vehicle by the nose. Braking and acceleration are handled automatically, but you can can activate a kinetic energy boost once or twice per lap to give you a quick burst of speed.

This system of control takes some getting used to. It's very easy to run off the track due to oversteer or understeer. On iPad, sharp turns can be particularly tricky to pull off, requiring you to move your thumb an uncomfortable distance along the side of the screen.

The content is equally tricky to get your hands on. Once you've played the opening few missions for each team, which consist of time trials, duels, and qualification laps, you can find yourself at an impasse. Earning the requisite stars to unlock later levels becomes increasingly frustrating, with the top podium position incredibly tough to achieve.

Interestingly, there are individual in-app purchases that will unlock each team's racing season for you, which does make you look at the game's difficulty through sceptical eyes.

However, the challenge does make each race incredibly tense - so much so that our thumbs ached after many Grand Prixs. We're not sure the game needs to be quite so tough on the player, and would prefer races were easier to unlock - especially in a premium release like this. But petrol heads will doubtless get some mileage from F1 Challenge's slickly orchestrated burnouts.


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fagan 7 years, 1 month ago