App Review: Death Rally

Remedy Entertainment may not sound like a familiar company to most people, but they sounded familiar to me for some odd reason. Based in Finland, and having fifteen years of game development under their belt, Remedy decided to venture into the iOS game market with their first ever iOS game called Death Rally. Death Rally was originally developed in 1996 by Remedy for the PC platform. Remedy decided to update the game for the current age and release it for the iPhone. Death Rally is a racing game, so it has to compete with much bigger titles like Need for Speed, Real Racing, Asphalt, and other huge hits from much bigger companies. Not knowing if their games were quality, I went in and made a one dollar investment to see what it was like. Death Rally offers exciting gameplay, detailed graphics, an ample amount of audio, limited replay value, and a big bang for your buck.

Gameplay and Controls

Exciting, thrilling, and fun! These are three words that can accurately describe Remedy’s racing title.

When you start the game, it pins you in the middle of a police chase telling you to escape from the cops. You can learn the controls here, but it doesn’t teach you; it doesn’t teach you anywhere for that matter. Either way, you can’t win this level; you just get caught at the end. Then the story unfolds. You are forced to race in Death Rally for the officer. That’s the story. You go through a bunch of races; there is no more to the story. I found the story to be really lacking, which was a disappointment. Many of the arcade-style racers have great stories. This one just didn’t.

The gameplay, on the other hand, was anything but mediocre. It was fun, exciting, thrilling… I could keep listing adjectives, but it won’t change anything. You race around several tracks trying to win each race. The races are fairly short, which is good for on-the-go gaming. You start the race in a six car grid, however not everyone may survive at the end. Your car is equipped with weapons, so you can either pass the car in front of you or annihilate it with shotguns, pistols, and other fun weapons. These weapons add another dimension to the racing environment.

The weapons and on-track pickups add another flavor into the game to make it more exciting.

The tracks are also littered with exploding barrels and nitrous to give racers the cutting edge. Besides consumables that lay on the track, there are also parts you collect. The parts help you build weapons to use, or even get some new cars. This is a really nice unlocking system they have in the game.

There are plenty of unlockables in the game to get faster cars and more devastating weapons.

After each race, you are rewarded an amount of money; this money can be accumulated for doing things in the race:

  • Position: You get a sum of money depending on what position you finish the race in.
  • Beat the Boss: Each race has a boss to beat. Beat him and you get some cash.
  • Kill Count: See the car in front of you? Blow it up! You’ll get 800 big ones per kill. More reason to be destructive and trigger happy!
  • Cash Pickups: The track has cash all around it; pick it up, it’s free money!
  • Race record gap: Keep running your fastest races, you get paid depending on how close you get to your best times.
  • Lap record gap: Same as the race record, except this one is for a single, fastest lap.
  • Participation: You get paid to just do the race; it doesn’t get easier than that!

With the money you earn from each race, you can upgrade your car’s speed, handling and armor. Each car has a max of each stat it can have. You can also level up your acquired weapons.

Money is obtained through each race. You can use this money to upgrade your cars.

Racing games have been plagued with insufficient controls on the iTunes App Store. The motion controls can be too sensitive or not sensitive enough and require setup; they just don’t work for me. Brake and accelerate buttons are nice to have, but can clog up the screen. The controls in Death Rally are simple since they only consist of one joystick and one button. Nothing clogs up the screen, and everything is nicely spaced out. The joystick moves your car, while the button fires your weapons. The controls are extremely responsive and easy to master; there really doesn’t need to be a tutorial for it.

Death Rally offers users an exciting, fun gaming experience packed into an arcade racer. It adds weapons to the cars to make it even better. Upgrades and other things keep you playing. The story can use an overhaul though.

Gameplay and Controls: ★★★★½

Presentation and Graphics

Knowing that it had competition in this department, Remedy stepped it up a notch when it cames to graphics. The graphics in this game are comparable, if not better, to those of Need for Speed and Asphalt.

Details, details, details… The textures used are extremely clear and vividly colored. Everything just looks nice and crisp. I couldn’t ask for anything more when it came to graphics. Skid marks, burn marks, explosions, and even gun shots add flare to the graphics. Details can be seen all the way down to road surface. The game runs extremely smooth and the frame-rates are high. The graphics are just spectacular in this game.

The graphics in the game are vividly detailed and beautiful.

The menus are a little clustered in the game, but are still well laid out. The main menu has a little learning curve that can make it extremely intimidating at first. I really wish they would give an introduction to how to use the menus since it can be confusing. Here is what the menu is composed of:

  • Options Button: Set the options for the game. Change the volumes around, turn off the background music, and other things. The bar is located on the top labeled options.
  • Game Center Button: See what achievements you’ve completed. This button is located on the top to the right of the options button.
  • In-App Purchases: Purchase an add-on to get 1.5 times the cash rewards from each race. This button is located to the left of the options button and labeled with a dollar ($) sign.
  • Race bar: Located on the bottom of your screen; allows you to scroll through to see your available races.

The menu can look confusing at first, but it’s actually not that complex.

The graphics in the game are really crisp and clear. The detail is astounding and Remedy didn’t hold anything back on them. The menus are organized, but have a small learning curve. Overall, the graphics are amazing and definitely took some effort to do.

Presentation and Graphics: ★★★★½


Audio can turn a good game into a great game, or it can backfire and turn a great game into a sub-par game. This game’s audio definitely turns a great game even greater. The background music (BGM) and sound effects (SFX) are really terrific.

When you start the game, it starts out like a movie. After getting caught by the cops, you are brought to the main menu where you hear the destructive, fast-paced BGM the game offers. This BGM fits the game’s style perfectly. After all, Death Rally wouldn’t be Death Rally without some rampage music.

Complimenting the BGM well is the SFX. The SFX are abundant and explosive. You can hear every skid, clash, explosion, weapon… The list goes on and on. The sounds are clear and well played out. The SFX definitely adds another dimension to the gameplay.

Remedy did a stellar job with the audio in this game. The developers thought up of everything, whether it was the menu effects, the BGM, or the sound effects. The audio gives even more life to an already lively game.

Audio: ★★★★★

Replay Value

Death Rally had great gameplay, detailed graphics, and stellar audio so far. This is where it starts tumbling downhill. The game doesn’t offer much replay value. You race… Then you race again… Then you, can you guess it? Race again. That’s it. There isn’t a story to keep you hooked; it’s kind of dry when you think about it. The fun and excitement, along with the mild addictiveness helps keep the replay average, but nothing more. The game can use a multiplayer mode, more modes of gameplay, heck, even some more difficulty levels. Its only current difficulty is really easy once you get the hang of the controls. I would really love to see a destruction derby mode for this game as well. The game does have an addictive quality to it which makes up for a lot, but the lack of multiplayer and other modes really bring down the game.

Replay Value: ★★★½

Value for the Money

This game sells for 99¢* on the App Store. For a price that is less than a soda, you’re getting lots. The gameplay, graphics, and audio all took a lot of work and are of high quality. It is fun and somewhat addictive. However, it lacks in the replay value and can become repetitive quickly. Still, it’s well worth the dollar you spend on it.

Value for the Money: ★★★★

Final Thoughts

Remedy has taken its first steps into the iOS gaming industry with a game that takes the other higher-end, well-known racing games for a huge run for their money. This game offers extremely fun and exciting gameplay which will make it sell. The simple controls do wonders for it and it fits into the mobile gaming market perfectly. I cannot wait to see what else Remedy can offer in terms of iOS gaming. This is their first step; hopefully not their last.

Final Scores:

  • Gameplay and Controls: ★★★★½
  • Graphics and Presentation: ★★★★½
  • Audio: ★★★★★
  • Replay Value: ★★★½
  • Value for the Money: ★★★★

Overall Score

* All prices are in US currency.
This review was written by the Review Team. Cumulative scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
All accessories, applications, themes, tweaks, or other products were purchased by iFans at their respective prices unless stated otherwise.

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