Drive and survive with Offroad Legends

Offroad Legends from Dogbyte Games is a new physics-based side-scrolling racing game for iOS devices. The game is available in two editions — a free “Warmup” version, and a paid version with additional levels and Game Center support. The paid version is currently the No. 1 top gainer in paid games, and the free edition is presently the No. 3 top gainer in free games.

Offroad Legends is a “hill-climbing” game that tasks players with driving a selection of vehicles over increasingly-challenging terrain in an attempt to reach the finish line as quickly as possible. Players control their vehicle with simple on-screen controls for acceleration, braking and tilting left or right. Vehicles have a “health bar” according to how much damage they have taken throughout the course, and taking too much damage causes the attempt to be failed. Similarly, taking too much damage in one go will immediately cause the vehicle to break down. Vehicles have dynamic destruction according to where the impact took place — hitting the ground particularly hard with the front wheels can cause them to fly off, for example, though it is possible to continue competing with just the back wheels of a monster truck.

The game handles well, with the vehicles feeling impressively “weighty” despite the somewhat improbable physics seen throughout. Levels are challenging but not impossible, and the controls are well-implemented, never getting in the way of the player even on the small screen of the iPhone.

Some variation in gameplay is provided by four different vehicle types and occasional different types of challenge. A “lava jump” challenge, for example, tasks players with flinging a vehicle as far as possible in an attempt to land on a platform marked with a target symbol. Players will also collect a selection of cars as their career progresses, and have the opportunity to tune them as they see fit for optimum performance. However, tuning changes do not affect the cars in career mode, which is a bit of a shame. It does, however, mean that players are able to compete on an even playing field without the risk of creating an undrivable vehicle.

The game is primarily a solitary experience, but in the paid version players may compare their performance with others using Game Center leaderboards and achievements. This facility is not available in the free version, and players must play from the beginning again if they decide to “upgrade” to the premium edition.

The presentation of the game is excellent. The graphics, which support the Retina display of both later iPhones and the new iPad, are fast, smooth and pleasing to look at, and the sound effects and music are good quality. The game is not interrupted by advertising at any point even in the free version, and the game is not riddled with progress-throttling in-app purchases. The only in-app purchase available comes in the premium edition and can be used to unlock all of the game’s content without having to earn it. The game features cross-promotion with Dogbyte Games’ other titles 8-Bit Ninja as well as Istom Games’ Nyan Cat: Lost in Space — both titles are advertised on billboards on the tracks as well as via an “other games” option in the main menu, but play is never interrupted to promote these titles.

Offroad Legends is presently enjoying a healthy degree of success on the App Store, and deservedly so. If the developers can continue to keep the game fresh with new content over time, it’s possible they could have a long-lived hit on their hands.

Offroad Legends’ free version is currently placed No. 7 in the Top Free Games chart, while its paid edition ranks at No. 5 in Top Paid Games. Follow the progress of both incarnations with AppData, our tracking service for iOS and social games and developers.