Android Review: Reckless Getaway

If you’ve played any of Polarbit’s games, you should know that mass destruction is always a key element. Whether it’s Raging Thunder, its sequel, or the critically acclaimed Reckless Racing, the developers seemingly can’t get enough crazy stunts and exploding cars into their games. With Reckless Getaway, Polarbit took Reckless Racing’s 2.5D gameplay style and put the player into a Cop Chase environment with mixed elements from the Burnout and NFS series.  Read on for the full review:


Reckless Getaway offers two game modes: Reckless and Getaway. In Getaway, you’re given a yellow muscle car and must reach the end of a course without crashing or getting busted. The game will always keep you on the edge of your seat since the AI’s actions are completely randomized. There are railway tracks that criss-cross the streets in some maps, while other courses have a Tram line in the middle of the roadway, seemingly based off the San Francisco system. Additionally, the cops are rarely predictable. Some are smart and will attempt to out-maneuver you while others will smash into civilian cars driving them into your path. Others hide in obscure places and will appear, almost out of thin air, as you speed by. A direct hit into oncoming traffic will total your vehicle.

It’s usually smart to avoid a speeding train. Especially if you want those stars.

You can score up to 4 stars for any individual race. Each time you wreck your car or get busted, you will lose one star. You “fill” the stars by earning points, either through stunts, power-ups, collecting coins, or wrecking cops. Once you accumulate enough stars from each event, you unlock more chapters and regions in the game.

Available power ups include Boost, High Jump, and Eliminator. High Jump allows you to narrowly escape accidents by jumping over the oncoming vehicle while Eliminator seems to emit an energy pulse that totals anything within a certain radius of your car. Once you play it, it will feel like a medley of Road Rage and Party Crash from Burnout, combined with Cop Chase from Need for Speed.

There are multiple routes on each course. The powerup button on the right is Eliminator.

Since individual stunts don’t yield many points, I haven’t paid attention to what names actually pop up on the screen, you still should be able to harvest a fair score from taking advantage of any ramps and shortcuts.

The easiest way to accumulate points would be through collecting coins scattered along the paths, but even then, traffic and other obstacles frequently get in the way. You’re given one shot to pick up any coins since the game does not allow you to turn your car around. Wrecking cops should be self-explanatory, but you must take care to not wreck yourself in the process.
Reckless mode is traditional Burnout. You’re given a heavy truck and must maximize the amount of havoc you can cause on each course. Whether you wreck civilian vehicles, cops, or municipal elements across the streets is up to you, but keep efficiency in mind because the objective is to give the town a massive repair bill.

Reckless Mode: there won’t be any shortage of explosions while playing this. The stars and health are on the top left while the score/stunt bonus and power ups are on the right.

The control system is just like Reckless Racing. You’re given a fixed camera angle and must use the on screen arrow keys to maneuver your way around the course. Although the option for tilt control is there, I would advise against using it, simply due to the way the physics and vehicle motion work in this game. Either way, the arrow keys should only take about a minute to get used to.

Gameplay – ★★★★★


If the icon didn’t give it away, the visual style of Reckless Getaway is a massive deviation from what was seen in Reckless Racing. While the original game almost blew everyone away with its life-like environment with realistic lighting, Reckless Getaway takes a more animated turn. In a move that seems to complement the arcade-like gameplay, Polarbit aimed for a cartoonish atmosphere, reminiscent of Guerrilla Bob on iOS.
That’s not to say the game looks bad. It’s just not the GTA Chinatown Wars styled environment you might expect when you read the description. The new art direction was implemented very well. Everything from trees to snowy mountains and cliffs, or to simple shipping containers lying around, has been treated with brand new colors and models that pop out at one’s eyes.

A scene on one of the desert courses. The powerup on the right is Boost. The traffic and obstacles on the track make this a challenging game.

To be honest, the new design suits the game much better than that of Reckless Racing. It adds a casual, relaxed feeling to the gameplay, similar to Mario Kart. A cop chase in Reckless Racing would have felt extremely out of place since the original title aims to be a top-down racing sim.

As far as the actual effects go, there isn’t much going for the game. The highly detailed dust/particles and free flowing rivers with animated splash/contact effects from Reckless Racing are gone completely. The explosions look nice, but that’s about it. There’s no advanced real time lighting anywhere and the textures are fairly low resolution. I could argue that they may be gone because there is a lot more to render at one time; there was no civilian traffic in Reckless Racing, nor was there an active damage system for each AI, and interactive objects on the course were nowhere to be found. Assuming Polarbit aimed to keep the low system requirements, that would be a smart move. The game will run on a 2nd gen iDevice and low end Android devices like the original Droid.

Get out of my way! As you can see, some parts of the game look ok, while others…not so much. This is one of the better scenes.

My last complaint about the graphics is the resolution. It’s not as low as 480×320, but it seems to be something in the middle for high end devices. I can’t be sure but it seems to be rendering at 640×480 or something of the sort on my 800×480 device. It’s no where near as crisp as Reckless Racing PLAY on Android, let alone the retina display.

Graphics – ★★★½


What do you hear when you’re driving down a 2 lane road on a nice day? Now imagine adding a bunch of explosions, wailing cop sirens, and constantly honking traffic, all paired with a fast paced arcade sound track, much like that of Tilt to Live, to that mix. That’s Reckless Getaway’s audio in a nutshell.

Just like in Tilt to Live you lose track of time once the background beat has fully engulfed you. After a certain point, all that goes through your mind is what appears on the screen. Avoid traffic. Blow up cops. Jump off any ramp. The theme is simply perfect for the game.

The other sounds you’ll hear, like vehicles, sirens, explosions are crisp and clear. However, that’s all you’ll hear. The rest of the environment doesn’t always feel real. When you drive over a bridge, you don’t get the feeling that the rapids you see below are actually there. Whenever a tram or train pops up, it makes the same exact sound.

Overall, the music is highly immersive but some parts of the atmospheric audio could be better.

Audio – ★★★★


Unlike Reckless Racing, this game has no multiplayer component. The problem with this approach, as seen in the past, is that the single player mode must be long and compelling enough to justify the purchase. We can probably forgive Polarbit for that since one of the only reasonable ways to implement multiplayer would be a co-op mode. Another mode could have been “Cops and Robbers”, in which one player, the cop, would attempt to catch the other, the thief. Polarbit has been updating the game with content every few weeks, so we can always hope multiplayer will be added.

Both modes, Reckless and Getaway, feature 20 unlockable events; this gives us a total of 40 levels. Each of these events takes between 4 and 8 minutes to complete. Now, the game provides no difficulty presets. Instead, it’s designed so that the levels become increasingly arduous as you progress. So while a beginner level would take 4 minutes to complete, one of the levels near the end would take 2 or 3 attempts, each taking 6 or 7 minutes.

The event menu. There are 4 events per chapter.

That might not sound like it’s too much, but there is a certain level of re-playability for each individual level. Various approaches for completion are incorporated into each course. You can replay the same race around 3 times without repeating your moves, since the game provides a myriad of alternate routes, each with its own perks and detriments. With everything taken into account, gameplay time should be over 5 hours.

Leaderboards are handled by Polarbit’s proprietary system rather than OpenFeint. The system is more or less generic; it shows you your rankings for each level among every other registered player. There aren’t any real Achievements, aside from a list of completed stunts. I haven’t had any problems with stability. The game runs at a fluid 60 FPS and hasn’t crashed a single time.

Replay – ★★★★


Polarbit’s newest title will cost you $2.99. About half the price of a fresh title from Gameloft or EA but with similar gameplay times. If you’re into racing games, I’d even say this is one of the best pick-up and play titles available for the genre. The same can’t be said of Asphalt or Need for Speed, since they are large games with long loading times and events. They don’t provide the ability to squeeze in a level anytime, like Angry Birds and Doodle Jump do. Reckless Getaway does a nice job of accommodating this quick, casual style. If you’ve got $3 to kill, I would put this game very high in my list of recommendations.

Value – ★★★★★

Final Thoughts

You may think this new art style is new for Polarbit, but if you’ve been gaming on iOS since the original Armageddon Squadron and Raging Thunder games, it should be clear that Reckless Racing was the deviation, if anything. Whichever format you prefer, the developers have shown that they can release smooth, high quality games on all platforms regardless of how they look. Most of all, they’ve proven that they are the masters of making casual mobile racing games. Raging Thunder, and both Reckless games are fantastic choices that can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere.

Final 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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