Rival Gears Racing started making a name for itself thanks to its incredible presentation and
surprisingly polished gameplay.
And what sets it further apart is the fact it deviates from the freedom offered by major racing franchises and instead opts for a simplistic swipe approach.
As soon as you start you are presented with a voice-acted cutscene that explains how human-driven cars have been outlawed in the near future and a group of racers who miss the old days hotwire the old cars with new technology.
This allows them to mix the past and present into the perfect hovering race machines.
The gameplay is where things get particularly interesting.
Because despite the game's scale and polish it does not allow you to roam freely through the city, which is quite ironic for a game that has a story of people fighting against a lack of control and not being fond of automated cars.
But once you keep playing the game through the first few stages and try some online matches, it’s actually really fun and the control scheme works.
You can’t do cool drifts but there’s a thing called ‘Draft’ which is basically switching lanes at the right times and building up a boost for yourself.
Besides that, there’s not much in the game besides just switching lanes and bumping into opponents to slow them down a bit, and also strictly avoiding traffic as you go.
The game has several boosts that you can pay for and they can be used both online and in the campaign modes, so you can start with an edge before the match even begins.
The online play in Rival Gears Racing is solid and while it’s very obvious that it pits you against some bots in the beginning, it gets better as you play on and get paired with real players in the general matchmaking.
You and your friends can also challenge each other.
But if you’re new, you should just avoid accepting challenges because it’s often people who purposefully seek low-level players out to farm bet money and wins.
And going back to the boosts, they highlight a small part of a larger problem, since it very unapologetically adds pay-to-win elements within the game which you would always have a disadvantage against if you’re not obsessively grinding or paying real money.
There’s also a very large number of upgrades you can have for your car and the items for it that you receive from loot boxes are varied between their rarity, so if someone is spending a lot of money, they will easily defeat you no matter how skilled you are.
For what it’s worth, though, the game is not too aggressive about shoving real-life transactions in your face and the grind does get you many free upgrades if you play and win enough.
You can also watch ads to increase your chances which is fair for a free game, so you can surely enjoy the game without spending money and it’s even addictive thanks to how smooth the game is. Just avoid challenges from high-level players.
The graphics are gorgeous and perfectly capture the not-too-dystopian gritty take on an automized
The UI is very smooth and allows you to jump right into the action while providing you a fair share of information. It does not feel too overcrowded and the variety available to you actually matters instead of just being a gimmick.
There are a lot of cars to go around with, tons of gear and customization at your disposal, and coherent menus that separate the single-player and online modes.
Rival Gears Racing thankfully avoids the sin of aesthetic repetition as the different maps look distinctive enough and despite having a gloomy aesthetic it’s still pretty easy on the eyes.
The sound design of the game is extremely good, every single sound effect is perfect and present in every place where it should be. And the game’s background music is very catchy and changes enough between different segments to remain interesting and fun to listen to.
I wish you could hear your car more prominently within ongoing races, but it’s still pretty good, and crashing into things has the loud sounds you’d expect anyway.
Admittedly the tunes do not have much creativity, but it works just fine here because no one expects a mobile racing game soundtrack to give birth to the next Mozart.
Rival Gears Racing is a fantastic mobile racing game that features smooth gameplay,
beautiful visual design, and seamless online play.
It could be one of the top 10 mobile racing games if it added more freedom to the controls or at least more ways to play, such as movement with sensors. And a remade structure that discourages pay-to-win elements.