If giant toy trucks racing on dirt tracks with a grungy rock anthem in the background sounds like fun, Hill Car Drag Racing may be the pearl to your jam. It’s not quite Nitro Circus, but ASK Homework’s exhilarating racer comes with an infectious spirit and a sensational grindfest.
Certain games don’t need a tutorial, but figuring out how to manoeuvre through the races in Hill Car Drag Racing is a very fiddly process without one; Before each race, a quick message tells players to tap the gas pedal to begin, but the instructions end there. After some trial and error, you figure out the right button increases gears and the left button decreases them, and much like driving a real car, the gears need to be carefully adjusted according to the gradient of the hill you’re climbing – lower gears work better uphill, and higher gears let you blitz down the slopes like a pro. In theory, the key to winning is simple: maintain a high speed on the oedometer. Putting that into practice against three other competitors, however, is far from a cakewalk.
During the race, players have the chance to collect money and/or stars, which help to purchase upgrades for the engine, suspension, magnets and nitro boosters, which are essential for outperforming your rivals and placing better. Coming in first doesn’t only make you feel triumphant, it also earns you a trophy; If you collect 3 you’re eligible for a ‘boss’ battle, but lose against the boss and you have to earn the trophies all over again, which feels unnecessary. On the other hand, if you’ve raced valiantly and keep struggling to win, you can watch a 30 second ad via the ‘mystery box’ and grab some instant cash or stars.
Despite its apparently repetitive nature, Hill Car Drag Racing‘s gameplay is well structured and enjoyable on the whole. Its detailed graphics and perfectly chosen soundtrack harmonise together to create a well-rounded experience that is interrupted by the occasional ad, which is only frustrating when it pops up in the middle of a race. ASK Homework’s simple yet clever game loop of race, reward and purchase succeeds in delivering the goods drag racing enthusiasts crave.