There are more racing games on the mobile platform than anyone could ever count, but it’s not too often that you see a mobile game identify itself with Demolition Derby.
Everything that you would expect to see when you look at the name is here – cars, arenas, and lots of destruction.
The game does not stop there, however, as it has many other game modes which makes it obvious that the developers wanted Demolition Derby 3 to be the all-in-one mobile game for your racing needs.
The gameplay of Demolition Derby 3 depends on the game mode that you’re playing.
First of all, let’s talk about the main event here which is the Demolition Mode:
You start off in an arena with a bunch of other cars and cannot exit the boundaries, as trying to do so will just put you up against an invisible wall. Your goal is simple – smash into the enemy cars and try to avoid being hit as much as you can, and the last car standing wins.
Then we have the racing mode, which is the same as any other traditional racing game. You are pitted against a bunch of other cars on a race track and have to reach the finish line before anyone else. The only difference here is that you can crash other cars along the way to take better spots, similar to the Burnout series but much less fleshed out.
Finally, we have a free-play mode that allows you to roam around all of the game’s maps. You might be wondering what can someone possibly do with free-roaming in a game that has race tracks? Well, the game does not have closed-off race tracks solely meant to be used for conventional racing. Instead, it puts you on a large map full of extra roads and secret passages that you can explore for fun.
The controls are the same for all of these modes and the game allows you to choose from three different control schemes.
The basic control scheme which allows you to have simple steering buttons on the left, and the usual accelerate/reverse buttons on the right worked the best for me and felt the most responsive.
So, just how fun is the game? That’s a question that cannot be answered very easily.
All of the aforementioned game modes work well enough, but it takes more than simply being functional to create a good experience.
The destruction in the game is fun and the racing is not half bad either, but you can tell at every turn that the game suffers from a lack of polish due to how much is crammed inside the package.
Take the free-play mode for example. For it to exist, the game’s race tracks have to be created in a way that allows you to explore them more freely. And unfortunately, this caused a lot of random branching paths that are easy to get lost into and then the game’s awkward controls make it difficult to get back on track fast enough to still have a decent chance at winning a race.
The game is certainly fun to play for the first few hours due to the variety it offers, but the issues with its lack of depth and awkward controls become more and more prevalent over time.
The game would have had a better shot at focusing on just the demolition derby aspect and fleshing it out – but unfortunately, the oversaturation holds it back.
That’s mainly because you need precise controls to feel immersed in a racing game, so when you lose your momentum over the game’s clunky controls or keep missing your targets in the derby mode, it begins to get frustrating. A good way to explain the way it feels is that you’re driving on ice or water permanently.
To keep you busy, the game does have a great deal of customization for each of your cars – but you hardly feel anything different no matter how many upgrades you spend money on so it’s mostly cosmetic. There’s also a photo mode that lets you take images without the UI covering up the screen, but the game does not look good enough for you to create any cool wallpapers from this.
And lastly, there’s a Multiplayer mode currently in beta that is very buggy at this time and has poor net-code that makes steering extremely delayed – which is a nightmare for the demolition mode especially. And due to how confusing the maps can be, conventional races become too easy if you’re focused because most of your opponents will simply drive off the track.
So, the game has no way to keep you around once you begin feeling the repetition from its issues.
The graphics of Demolition Derby 3 are very barebones considering how much smartphones have advanced technologically, and the age especially shows if you’re using the first-person camera.
The visuals certainly do the job but they could be much better.
However, if you have a low-end device, this is a good thing for you because it’s one of the few games with this many features that will still run smoothly – as even games like Real Racing 3 run slow on some budget phones by now.
The UI is okay, the only issue with it is that it’s difficult to find certain things at times such as the free-play mode for example. And it forces you to pick a car every time you exit a match instead of after you select a mode like most games.
The sound aspect of the game is surprisingly good.
There are a couple of original rock songs made for the game, which works perfectly for a racing game with tons of destruction.
The sound effects are also decent and there are even additional sounds for things like driving over ice. It’s certainly one of the better cases of sound design that I’ve heard in a mobile game.
Ultimately, the game attempts to add too many things at once and fails to polish anything enough for it to feel above average – with tons of bugs and control issues scattered throughout all of the game modes.
Demolition Derby 3 has a lot of potential and I truly wanted to enjoy it, but unfortunately, the developers have a long way to go before it can compete with more focused and polished mobile racing games.
Despite the fact that the game can be enjoyable, it’s not enough to keep you from switching to a racing game that’s less clunky.