So oil company Mobil is the next company in line to commit a racing game and have unleashed it upon us un-knowing souls for endless fun. Right?
Well, no. Mobil 1 and the Vodafone Lucozade Johnny Walker McLaren-Mercedes team have been partners for many years now, and in the wake of such apps and game such as Lotus´ wildly confusing link-up with soft-rockers Linkin Park and then Total´s more impressive game Micro Race, the Mobil oil company is now launching their idea of a racing game. You can race cars and win great prizes, such as an all-expense paid trip to the inaugural Austin Grand Prix this November, or as the website claims:
To experience the Mobil 1 Racing Academy, which features 3D graphics, multiple car racing and an amazing full screen mode, you must have the Unity software plug-in on your computer.
First things first. Registering is very easy, and this is of course a given, so that if you win, they know how to contact you. Simple, right? And it then goes pretty much downhill from here on end.
You enter races, which by the way is NOT in 3D at all, more on that later, and race such exciting places as Brandenburger Tor, around the Hagia Sofia and more. Racing itself is pretty straight forward. You have UP for throttle, DOWN for brake, LEFT for, well you get the point. There is also a boost button, SPACE, which gives you a welcome extra few hundred horsepower.
The game is rubbish, there is no denying it. I am sorry, I wanted to make a really good and detailed description of the game, but I could not progress far enough into the game to actually know what happens in the end.
Each ‘race’ takes about 25 seconds and after each one you are asked a simple question. Get it right, and you have 15 seconds off your finished race time, and this is for every race. So far so good. I would then expect that by the end of the game, you are presented with a list of other drivers and you can, probably, compare your times and try again as many times as you want, until you nail it.
As I have mentioned a few times now, the game is rubbish and here is the reason. Not 3D, not by a mile. Instead you get graphics that would be awesome if we were still in 1998, because there is no way that Mobil has paid top dollar for this load of….Graphics are the most simple I have seen in the last ten years, and no that is not a compliment, on any platform, there is no feeling of control of the car, no sense of “wauw, they really nailed it with the surroundings” and one of the worst part of the entire experience is, that the loading screen takes forever, then doesn´t remove itself when the race starts.
The tip is, apparently, to back up, re-load the game, and try again, until you get the loading screen away. But after each race completed, the loading screen keeps hanging on when the race starts, and fucks up the screen completely. It took me five or six tries to start each race and I gave up after three. At this time, the loading screen to signal the next race not only didn´t disappear, it ‘merged’ with the race, so I had block cars going all over the place. I even had seven or eight McLaren cars flying around the screen.
I wish I could tell you what happens in the end, but it took me 20 minutes just to complete two 25 second races. The rest of the time I waited for the game to load and to re-load the game when the loading screen didn´t disappear.
The worst part of it all is that the game has decided to completely fuck up the the Unity engine, a brilliant piece of engineering most prominently used by Arnt Jensen in his epic and very stunningly beautiful Limbo which came out a few years back. How the programmers behind this game managed to screw up the uses of the Unity engine is beyond me, but they have.
Road To Austin is a waste of time and I expect you have a whole array of console or PC games to play which are much more interesting and more importantly, gives off that gaming feel. Road To Austin, I give it 1 star out of 5 for having Lewis Hamilton´s picture on the website.
For more information on the game, go here