Starbyte has released their second iPhone game to the app store: Black Mamba Racer [App Store]

Black Mamba Racer is a $3.99 2D overhead racer in which you skid and slide your way around 25 racing mission across 9 different tracks. While the graphics may look primitive, the gameplay is surprisingly fun and challenging.

The premise of the game is that you are challenging the "Black Mamba" to a race, but in order to take her on, you have to complete 25 missions against the clock and her drones. Your car can take damage if you hit a wall so you need to take care to avoid those. If your car health drops to 0%, you've automatically lost the mission.

The game offers touch-screen controls which work surprisingly well. My brief attempt at using the accelerometer controls failed miserably, and the documentation even hints you should avoid it.

The first few missions are relatively easy but seems to ramp up quickly (I'm stuck at mission 5). Shown in the video are the 2nd and 3rd missions. The 2nd mission involves just beating 3 of the drones in a 4 lap race. The 3rd mission requires you to complete a lap within a certain amount of time (You'll notice that I wasn't aware of this when I recorded this video, so I just meander my way to failure).

While I've not gotten very far, I already consider this game is a success. What it lacks in flashy graphics, it makes up for in basic gameplay, which is a refreshing twist.

My main feature request would be a global lap time ranking. While you have your own best lap times for each level, a global list would add an enormous amount of replay-ability over time.

Game Details
Name: Black Mamba Racer (1.0) Price: $3.99 [Buy]
Developer: Starbyte
Size: 2.1 MB
Black Mamba Racer is a surprisingly fun and challenging 2D racer where you skid and slide your way through 25 missions. The controls and gameplay mesh well and though its graphics may seem simple, the gameplay makes this title worthy.

Update: The developer video shows more advanced driving, higher levels and obstacles.

  • iamse7en

    Reminds me of RC Pro Am (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBKq_nIYdbg), but not nearly as cool. :)

  • Brett

    I really really really don't like games where you're controlling something moving towards you, ie: DOWN, but you're using an arrow pointing UP to move it.
    That means left and right become reversed.
    I personally would prefer for the car to always be facing up and for the track to move and rotate around it. If not that, then have left, right, up AND down arrows, and have the arrows operate joystick style - so that down moves the car towards you, up moves the car away from you, and left and left will always be left and right.
    Is that such a problem?

  • http://www.alex-hardy.co.uk Alex

    Sweeeeeeet! I loved Supercars 2 on the Amiga!

    ... showing my age ...

    Hopefully Codemasters are watching, and will be inspired to port Micro Machines!

  • Biggles

    Brett, I couldn't disagree more. Relative controls just feal a lot more solid and intuitive for me than absolute ones. And rotating the whole view around the car gives you a greatly reduced sense of movement, as it's always in the same direction. Keep the controls as is!

  • Brett

    @ Biggles:

    Yeah, I know the whole rotate-the-track thing is something that's probably more personal to me, which is why I said the 4-way arrows (joystick-style) would probably be better.
    This game is very much in the style of an arcade racer, so why not use arcade racer style controls?
    If you ever played something like Rally-X -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rally-X -- or any of the many other games of this style using a joystick, then you'd see that moving your controls up and down moved your car up and down, and moving your controls left and right moved your car left and right - all regardless of which direction your car was currently facing.

  • -NoVa-

    Brett, You can't create a 'perfect for everybody' control method... Look at the old 2D GTAs for example, there was an option to switch between absolute and relative controls. My wife won't be able to learn handle relative control's too, but that's not mean that the controls are badly designed.
    Still I will not buy this game. There isn't any car physics implemented, just few parameters, angle and speed, and it's not enough... The same problem that made A4 Driving Challenge a boring AD-game.

  • arn

    a four-way virtual stick I think would be terrible on the iphone for a game like this. I think the controls work pretty well for this particular title.

  • Brett

    Oops, posted before I finished... This site's Comments section needs an Edit button...
    What I wanted to finish off saying was just that the idea of hitting a left-facing arrow to move your car in a rightwards direction just makes no sense to me. And that's only for half the time, when your car is facing towards you. When your car is facing away from you, then when you hit your left-facing arrow your car moves leftwards.
    So sometimes left means left and sometimes left means right.
    Surely I can't be the only here who's not overly keen on that kind of control system?

  • -NoVa-

    Think about an RC car, it works the same way... When you turn the controller left, it's wheels turn left... Not the car, it just moves by the laws of physics.

  • Brett

    @ -NoVa-
    Like you said about the old 2D GTA's, there was an option to switch between absolute and relative controls. If this game had an option to choose which control method to use, then I'd seriously contemplate buying it. Why not give the prospective buyer the choice? Most of the other car games (albeit the 3D ones) on the Store now have a choice of control methods.

    @ Arn:
    Different horses for different courses I guess... I think anything OTHER than a 4-way control system for this type of game is what makes it terrible.
    Looking down on the car from above, it moves in 4 directions, so to me, personally (yes, I know, not to everyone else), having 4 direction buttons makes more sense.

  • arn

    @brett I'm not saying that the 4-way part of it would be terrible, just the virtual part of it. I've found the virtual 4-way stick doesn't work very well on the iPhone. Thinking about it, I guess it's the vertical offset that screws you up. Since I don't have any problem with this side-by-side control.

  • -NoVa-

    It's simple: This is not your game... Absolute control required a camera attached to the car, but this is another type game. There were tons of quality games in the 90's PC and C64 era, Death Rally, Ironman, 4x4 Offroad, Micro Machines, and all of them was good game. Fixed angle camera, relative control, and sometimes better physics, and lot of fans.
    Not every game must suit everyone... Barbie Fashion Designer could be more fun with guns and blood and Duke Nukem, but it's made for young girls, everybody other will say it's not a game, or boring. :)

  • Brett

    Aaah, but that's where you're wrong... This *IS* my game (if by that you mean my *kind* of game).
    I LOVE these kind of games, and I'd like to give this a try, so although it's my kinda game, it's not my kinda controls. ;-)

    P.S: I don't have an RC car, but if I did, I'd probably run behind it all the time so that I was facing the same direction as it! Ha ha! :-)

  • bloc party

    Well, I have to agree with the majority. I think the control scheme suggested by Brett would be terrible. The person who referred to rc cars is spot on in my opinion.

  • blue sky

    There is a new video of this game here - http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=5q3nxRGVeuM

  • Barry Ward

    i don't agree with Brett's preferred method of control. But I do agree with him that various control methods should be in place for the player to choose from. This particular game has an accelerometer control as well as the virtual left/right buttons, but Brett's preferred method would have a nice option too for those who'd like to try it.

  • http://myspace.com/battlebornmusic Battle Born

    I wonder if it's got awesome characters like Walter, Duane, and "Spider"? lol
    I'll be getting this one

  • Aaron Sullivan

    How did this become a thread about controls? There's a ton of games that control this way and are very successful. Moving on.

    The developer video made this MUCH more interesting to me. Very cool. I like the minimalist graphics, too. It helps in a game like this which is all about improving your precision.

  • Nagromme

    Reminds me a lot of an Amiga race-and-shoot game called TurboRaketti II, which I used to LOVE. But it had no friction at all, making the steering even harder. And I got really fast with it.

  • mek

    looks frustratingly stressful....

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  • whooley

    I spent a fortune on arcade games like this years ago!

    Multiplayer would be superb! :)

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  • 2Kitties1Cup

    Bought it... Incredible. It reminds me of Super Sprint.

    Its just simple and enjoyable. Its not overly complex which is nice because the iphone in all honesty does not contain really good ergonomics for input controls.

    I like this a lot. It needs a "restart race" while in the race though. I hate going back to the main menu to restart a race.

  • whooley

    Love the game, just finished it over the weekend.

    My only real complaint is having the left & right buttons next to each other it's easy to hit the wrong one. I'd love to try a control scheme where you just had left and right buttons at either side of the screen, and tilt the phone forward for accelerator; that would be easy to use.

  • http://www.iphonetests.com Q.

    The new version of BMR is multiplayer (wifi local)

  • Adam

    Anybody else having trouble with track 19? I just can't seem to finish it. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

  • tiptop

    I've had no problem completing all the races, but the bonus track (26/25) I haven't managed to complete. The 23.00 time to beat has of yet eluded me. Has anyone beat this time? I've managed a time of 23.2, but need those moving walls to go my way to get that extra 0.2 I need.

  • Serdar Rammerz

    Finished all 25 tracks but bonus track haven't seen. Any idea? I've finshed all tracks in mamba hard

  • Chris

    I have managed 23.00 flat on the 26th track. I worked out that if you pin it lap one, you can straight line the moving walls on the right edge (as you look at it) during your 2nd lap. I can not for the life of me get 22.9 though.

    To unlock the 26th track you need to complete the 25th without using the turbo. I didn't even run over it.

  • Serdar

    Thank you Chris, I'm gonna try 25th track without using turbo :)

  • Ranchotony

    I have beaten 25 but track 26 seems impossible. I have done. It in the low 23's but that's it. Can anyone help?

  • Chris

    I have managed 23.0 like 5 times now. That extra .1 of a second is turning into my nemesis. AGGHHH!

  • Chris

    I keep checking back to see if anyone has managed to pip that 23 mark.
    I think it is pretty much impossible. I have done a few 'perfect' laps - like just missing the points of each corner, straight lining where possible, missing the moving barriers by a freckle, and still only shoot at 23.0

    If anyone has done it out there, please just reassure me that it CAN be done!

  • Bo

    I also find it impossible to go below 23.0 on track 26.

    How i drive it is:
    in the first straight i only move extreemly little from left to right.

    In the moving bars I drive to the right of all three moving bars when possible(saves a little)

    In the bottum i drive under/south of the 3 dots.

  • Chris

    Thank Bo.
    I do exactly the same thing. Still no luck though.

    I think the path you drift of the top of the track (over the water) is really important. I try and keep the nose of the car just on the track. Likewise the last 2 right-handers have to be cut perfectly. I often hit one of 3 dots by trying to perfect that line. I have been going a little wider, then cutting in sharp after the dots, so you finish in the middle of the track, not drifting over to the left too far.

    Mind you, I haven't hit that 22.9 mark yet, so any variations that people are doing would be hugely appreciated.

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  • Matt

    I'm having the same problem...

    I can beat all 25 levels on "mamba hard" no problem but cant for the life of me get any quicker than 23.2 on that bonus track.

    TORTURE!

    after all those previous comments and my personal experience, if someone claimed they got a 22.9 i wouldn't believe it until i saw video.

  • john

    23:2 is the best I got myself.
    I think that it is the code of the game that determines the time since it seems to not be accurate based on my laps.
    2. I think right now that the moving barriers are the key to getting this because I do not slow anywhere else and hit the straights most efficiently by only slightly skidding into a parallel closest to the straights, just have to skid a little on the barriers, and this might add the tenths of a second to miss the mark.

  • Jake

    Same problem here I get 23.2 but I haven't tried going straight
    through barriers on right side and I will try that. This is the
    best game in the app store!!

  • http://www.usingiphone.com usingiphone

    Hi!

    There is a new challenge in track 12 (water way). The challenge is not the win the track, but pass all the other cars two times. I did my self with three cars (white, green and yellow), but I'm having a difficult time to pass the second time the blue car.

    cheers

  • Jman999

    I've completed the bonus course 26. There are a few tricks. It is still very tough of course!

    1) cut the corners as tight as possible. This includes one or two tires over the water or rocks

    2) if you do clean laps you will have an opportunity at one point to move through the moving barriers pretty much down the middle of the track.

    3) race above the three road dots at the bottom of the course. This does save time if you combine it with point 1

    This game is surprisingly fun and a classic. If others have suggestions on other iphone games like this one pls post! love the low graphics, but big on fun combo!

  • PavelGee

    The best arcade racing game for iPhone!
    Today a bonus pack of PRO Tracks with PRO AI came out. Update, guys.
    I did beat the 26th track once, but couldn't reproduce it :) (too many hours went into trying and I had my thumbs blistered).
    Good Luck!
    P.S.: Can't wait for Mamba Racer 3D http://www.starbyte.biz

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