Borrowing the theme of the popular PlayStation franchise Modnation Racers, including a spin on the Sony “Play. Create. Share.” slogan, Dream Track Nation is a fun little physics-based racer from Chillingo, a company known for making enjoyable and well-designed iOS games.
In Dream Track Nation, while players are able to play through dozens of pre-loaded tracks, half the fun comes from creating your own tracks and sharing them with other players. In addition, you’ll be able to download other user-created tracks, giving Dream Track Nation near infinite replay value. And though the gameplay isn’t without its problems (spotty controls and questionable physics can create frustration), the track creation feature will keep players coming back again and again.
Playing through the levels of Dream Track Nation will help you learn the ropes and get the hang of the controls. Via two on-screen buttons, you’ll either move your car forward or backward. When you’re airborne, you can tilt your device to do flips in the air, earning extra points in the process. Players familiar with the PlayStation 3 title Joe Danger will immediately grasp what’s going on here. By doing tricks in mid-air and grabbing the stars scattered throughout the tracks, you’ll earn a higher ranking at the end of each level. And oftentimes, because levels aren’t necessarily laid out in a left-to-right manner, you’ll be racing in reverse, doing backflips along the way.
But playing through the preset tracks don’t just hone your racing skills. You’ll also unlock different vehicles to use. The differences between the cars are minimal, but it adds a nice incentive to keep moving.
Unfortunately, it’s not all speed and jumps in Dream Track Nation. The biggest problem is that the controls aren’t terribly responsive and the physics are suspect. Too often, jumps will be missed, sending your car hurtling to its destruction simply because either the tilt function didn’t work properly or your the virtual buttons lack the responsiveness needed for precise landings. It makes longer levels tremendously frustrating and could be a deal-breaker to some players.
Where Dream Track Nation really shines is in the “Build” and “Share” modes. Creative users will spend hours using the rudimentary shapes to build intricate and heart-pounding levels. And by searching through user-created levels, you’ll find some really wonderful tracks. Fortunately, the game creates a five-point rating system to help you sift through the garbage.
Online multiplayer is also included, which gives players the opportunity to test their skills against other players from around the world. It’s a nice addition to the game, though you may have some trouble finding other players online.
Bottom Line: Though the controls and physics are suspect, Dream Track Nation‘s wonderful track creation mode makes it worth a look.
Dream Track Nation is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later.