Uber Racer 3D – Sandstorm review

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It’s still surprising how iPhone games manage to slip under your radar sometimes, despite being vast, playable, technically-impressive titles like Uber Racer 3D – Sandstorm. The sheer volume of new games and apps pouring onto the App Store is evidently still capable of hiding even the most remarkable new titles, and evidently that’s exactly what happened to this hidden gem.

Uber Racer 3D – Sandstorm is a post-apocalyptic racer in which atrophied muscle cars are given a new lease of radioactive life in breakneck tournaments set amongst the ruins of our fallen civilisation.

There are 12 cars to choose from, increasing in aggression and speed, though, only a couple are affordable at the outset. Winning racers are paid in valuable oil (presumably the only currency of worth after the apocalypse, after tins of Spam) that can be spent on vamping up your existing motor or trading it in for a bigger, better model. These cars are vastly different from one another, and given the lack of racing rules you need to choose your vehicle carefully depending on your driving style.

Four different types of races are included, such as time trials, one-on-one and circuit racing. Of particular interest is the elimination mode, in which the last car in each lap is kicked out of the race. You can play through a 30-day career mode, too, involving different types of races with new tracks unlocked as you go, or there’s a quick race mode available allowing you to replay any previously unlocked events.

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Visually Uber Racer 3D – Sandstorm competes with the iPhone’s best of the best, and this reason alone makes it surprising that the game hasn’t soared to the top of the App Store charts. The environments are darkly lush, with broken ferry’s littering the war-torn desert landscape for you to weave through, whilst fallen skyscrapers create narrow, debris-strewn tunnels in other places.

The textures are quite stunning, and apparently aren’t repeated at all – every rock has been individually painted to give the game a life of its own. The depth of view is equally impressive, with the broken-down remnants of the old world visible through the haze of sunshine and lens flares in the background.

The cars themselves also have an artistic style that goes beyond texturing. As you crash and ram your way through the races, you car suffers the consequences and doors, bonnets and bits and pieces fly off or flap around realistically. Sparks fly from pieces of body work that grate against the wheels or engines, affecting the superb suspension and damping physics of the car’s movement.

The controls are simple and classic, offering tilt-based steering and an accelerator button that doesn’t care where you actually place your finger on the screen. The HUD simply follows your wandering thumb about the display, meaning you never miss the button and always know where to look for a rev counter and speedometer.

All this magnificence conspires to make Uber Racer 3D – Sandstorm the best game on the iPhone you’re currently not playing. It deserves to stand alongside Real Racing and Rally Master Pro, so put your foot down and get to the App Store as fast as you can.

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