Drag Racing: Bike Edition races up the Top Grossing Android app charts

Drag Racing: Bike Edition from Creative Mobile is the sequel to the Estonian developer’s previous title, simply known as Drag Racing. While its car-themed predecessor was available on both iOS and Android, the lastest game in the series is only available on Android, where’s its been quick to head to the upper reaches of Google Play’s Top Grossing charts.

Note: This title was tested on a Motorola Xoom tablet running Android 3.2. No compatibility issues were encountered.

Drag Racing: Bike Edition is a racing game, though as the title suggests, it revolves around fast acceleration in a straight line rather than navigating meandering corners on a circuit. Players square off against a single opponent — either computer or online player-controlled — and must then outpace them through careful timing of gear changes. Prior to the race starting, players must rev their engine in an attempt to hit a “sweet spot” on their rev counter when the light turns green; this gives them the best possible start. After this point, acceleration is automatic, and it’s up to the player to change gear when the rev counter hits similar sweet spots as the bike moves through the gears.

As the game progresses, the player acquires in-game currency which may be used to either upgrade their current bike or purchase new ones. Rather than following a linear upgrade path, players may upgrade a wide variety of components on their bike, giving the game something of a “simulation” feel similar to popular console games like Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 respectively. This feeling is further enhanced by the ability to fine-tune the bike’s performance in an attempt to get the best out of its current components.

The game monetizes through sales of the in-game currency, though in order to prevent the title suffering from an unbalanced “pay to win” scenario, upgrades and better bikes are locked until players have scored a certain number of “victory points.” These are acquired by completing races and meeting the conditions for the game’s various achievement-like trophies. Unlike cash, victory points may not be purchased, so players must progress through the game in order to make more expensive purchases. This helps ensure the game remains fair and balanced throughout, but eliminates the need for “grinding” to afford more expensive purchases if players are willing to open their wallets.

The game features the ability to play online against other players, though there is no social functionality as such. Players are unable to add friends or communicate with others. There is a detailed stat-tracking facility, but no means of comparing these statistics against others. There is, however, a global leaderboard for the game’s multiplayer mode, though exactly what this ranks players by is difficult to determine.

This lack of explanation is something of a pattern for the game — it relies largely on an icon-based interface and does not explain what some of them mean. For example, in the single-player career, some races are marked with a money icon, but the game does not explain whether this means it costs money to participate in the race or if cash prizes are greater for that particular event. It’s a small issue, but fixing it would make the game a little friendlier to newcomers.

Drag Racing: Bike Edition is a simple but good quality game that provides a good amount of content for free. It’s available now via Google Play and has already been downloaded almost a million times. An iOS version is in the works but at time of writing, it is not available in the App Store.