Saturday, September 24, 2011

Grand Prix Story review -iPhone/Android

Grand Prix Story, on the iOS

Kairosoft keeps throwing out the punches, least that’s how it seems like with their 5th released app on the iPhone (3rd for you Android users), and they’ll keep coming for more which is understandable considering that these apps are just older games they made on the PC back in the 90s over in Japan. The government should assemble a task force to find more of these hidden gems and have them translated.

The game starts you off with a basic tutorial, though I highly recommend reading the “How to Play” text in the Settings menu. Right off the bat some people will get turned away from playing when they realise that you can’t directly control the cars but don’t let that stop you from trying as you’ll be impressed at what you can do.

As a manager game your job is to make sure your team is skilled and ready to tackle the obstacles that are the races. There are three major criteria to master in this game in order to win.

The staffs are the first half of what makes a great racing team. You start off with a driver and one mechanic, and as you go along you’ll unlock the ability to hire more of them. You can have in total two drivers, though the second can only be hired after you conquer the first Grand Prix tournament. When selected you can train them to become better in various skills like pedal (top speed), shift (acceleration), steer (handling), appl (think charisma that boosts your sponsor bonus), tech (used in building/upgrading) and anlys (analyse which grants more tech points). Each driver has a skill cap so switching to a better driver later can be worthwhile if you want to spend the time and money, and you can only train them so much at a time before they tire out, which can affect driving performance. Lastly, drivers get colored auras from time to time; use them wisely as they give big bonuses when used in upgrading, building, training or racing. I recommend the first two mostly.

The mechanics are the unsung heroes in my book as they provide the background bonus to your driver in the terms of extra appeal, tech and analysis, and when you can have six mechanics per team later on, it really adds up. Tech is the main skill I look for as it is crucial to building better cars and getting better bonus’ on parts. Each mechanic can be leveled from 1 to 5 which require more tech points per level, and the better the mechanic, the more points you’ll need per battle. Keep an eye out for the good ones like Tom Edson and Boba Fatt (beware of punny names) as they’ll have the best level 5 stats. Though the real key to make the best racing team out there is to keep them busy, by researching, repairing, building, anything as a busy team keeps gaining stats and tech points, plus who wants to pay their staff by doing nothing? So time your race schedule, repairs and other plans accordingly.

Cars and parts are the nuts and bolts (*slow clap*) of your team. You’ll have four types of cars, all of which you can upgrade to unlock a better version of. The all-rounded Buggy, the speedy Dragster, the well-handled Wing car and the special types, like the Duck car, that give various special bonus which you only unlock later on in the game, but most are unlocked by pleasing sponsors and upgrading other cars and parts. Experiment with them all to find out what suits you best, but just make sure you got the tech points ready for it as the costs rise progressively. Also be mindful when building new cars or installing parts as the total amount of your team’s tech determines how well it goes, so the more the better, especially if you have the best of the best techs in one single team.

Learn these well and you’ll find that getting 1st place in every race will be easy, though I recommend you conquer the single races before heading off to the Grand Prix as those take time and are a lot more challenging in terms of opponents and leave little time in between races to repair and upgrade/make better cars. Though once you do become number one, you’ll move on to bigger and better challenges, as well as having the room for more staff and another driver.

And this is where the money comes in. Hiring another driver and more staff will start becoming more costly with their monthly wages for staff and annual contracts for the drivers. Winning races is a good way to get some but sponsors are the key. Along with them giving you money, if you get them enough advertisement they will give you various cars and parts to research, along with new skills to train your driver, though they get progressively tougher to please as you go along. It’s tough at first but well worth it as you’ll need to save plenty of cash if you want to build lots of A-list cars and plan to switch parts around in your cars.

Overall the game is easy to play with lots of depth, addicting qualities and replayability. Its quirky characters, bright colors and challenges keep you coming back for more in order to drain your phone’s battery to its last drop. I played it to death, had lots of fun unlocking new parts and types of cars and felt proud of my little digital team for doing so well, especially since I kept my starting driver from start to end and almost conquered every track. I highly recommend the game for those who’re looking to kill time, who enjoying building/management games or who’ve played other Kairosoft games such as Game Dev, Hot Springs and Mega Mall Story.