From Origin8, the makers of the acclaimed Sentinel series, comes Car Mania. To call Car Mania “another line drawing game” would be a discredit to the game, which does use line drawing and vehicle management but with significantly different gameplay.
Car Mania has three gameplay modes: survival, road rage, and time trial. The game is integrated with the OpenFeint network for high scores and achievements. Survival starts out being the only mode unlocked. In survival, you must guide vehicles to their matching areas. Some vehicles are fast, some are slow, etc.
However, there are a few things that make the gameplay different. For one, you can only move within streets, so there’s not a lot of freedom of movement. There are three maps, two of them unlockable, and all are well-designed and provide a different experience and twists. Also, you can stop cars, and you’ll need to, to clear up streets. Upon approaching stopped cars, other cars will automatically stop. Sounds too easy, right? Think again, if cars have to wait too long, they’ll get angry adding to your rage meter. Crashes also add to your rage meter, and when this is full, you lose (not quite as unforgiving as Flight Control). The gameplay is more time management than Flight Control and simply has that hard-to-describe “addictive” quality to it.
In road rage, you actually try to cause accidents, and the goal is to create as many crashes possible before the rage meter fills up. This is not as easy as it seems though, as the drivers in this mode seem to be way better drivers and will try to avoid accidents. Time trial is essentially the same as survival, but you have to successfully steer as many cars possible within four minutes.
Of course, this is a line-drawing game, so controls are uber-simple. Touch a car and then drag along the streets to set a route. Tap a car once to stop it, and again to get it going. Occasionally road work signs appear on the road as impediments, and you’ll have to quickly tap them to make them disappear.
The graphics are nice and sharp, not anything breathtaking, but certainly nice. The UI is very clean and even includes the underrated fast forward button. Animations are smooth and lively as well.
The audio, however, is a bit disappointing. There is no music to speak of, though you can play your own, and the sound effects are more annoying than anything (perhaps because they stand out more with the lack of music) especially the honking and skidding.
Overall, Car Mania is actually nothing like Flight Control. The gameplay may not be for everyone, as it is time management heavy, but it is feature rich with a good coat of polish and receives a very solid recommendation from me.
Simple, responsive controls
High graphical polish