[app url=”https://itunes.apple.com/app/id895008823″]

There are free games lurking in the App Store which are so brilliantly crafted and brimming with content that it almost feels unfair that we don’t have to spend a cent to play them. And then there are games like Guess Car Brand. The sort of game that some might consider offensive had the developer demanded cash upfront to play it.

Even as a freebie, Guess Car Brand is hard to recommend with much enthusiasm. It’s not that it’s particularly miserable to play – it does precisely what it’s meant to do – but it’s just too bland and one-dimensional to engage the player in any meaningful way. Here’s the basic premise: a car brand logo pops up on the screen, with the lettering erased, and you’ve got to guess what it is, by selecting from letters at the bottom of the screen. Over and over again, until you run out of coins or, presumably, the game runs out of car emblems.

Guess Car Brand 2   Guess Car Brand 3

You start with a few hundred coins and collect a handful more as you guess correctly, and these are then used to pay for Who Wants To Be A Millionaire-style lifelines. If things get tough, these helpers can either automatically place one letter in it’s correct place, remove all the incorrect letters from the selection, or allow you to contact a friend via Facebook, Twitter or European social hub VK. It all starts off without much challenge, throwing up the biggest brands in motoring, but eventually you’ll be faced by relative unknowns from smaller countries, and you’ll need those lifelines. Run out of coins, and you’re pretty much done – unless you want to shell out for more coins using real money. Yes, folks, they’ve implemented a sneaky little pay wall here to monetize even this terribly basic game.

Guess Car Brand 4   Guess Car Brand 5

The problem here isn’t with the general gameplay mechanic employed. It’s hardly fresh, but the “guess the word using the given letters” framework can make for engrossing gaming – an iOS game like Icon Pop Quiz offers the same idea but is done in a stylish, compelling manner with well constructed progress systems that make you want to keep coming back for more. Guess Car Brand, however, does little to warrant further play after you’ve exhausted your marque logo knowledge. It needs more gameplay modes, more ways to play, some kind of incentive to keep gamers interested. And it needs a substantial graphic overhaul too – it’s functional, yes, but the user interface and presentation could do with a bit more flash.

Serious car lovers might give Guess Car Brand maybe half an hour of their time, but once they’ve gone as far as they can go not even these passionate motoring enthusiasts will have much reason to play it again. Guess Car Brand is a very basic take on a very basic idea, and if it wasn’t free it would be very hard to suggest anyone bothers with it. As it stands, even for free, it’s a few minutes of car trivia you can live without.

Guess Car Brand Requires iOS 7.1 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.