Stock car racer Days of Thunder [App Store] from Freeverse is based on the 1990 film of the same name and places you in the role of main character Cole Trickle (played by Tom Cruise in the film), a hot-shot auto racing rookie seeking to win on the NASCAR curcuit.  Other characters from the film are also represented, such as crew chief and mentor Harry Hogge who quips words of advice both during and between races and love interest Dr. Claire Lewicki.

NASCAR tracks are generally oval or triangular in shape and, as such, the game's 12 tracks (across six different circuits) present a relatively simplistic and repetitive tour as compared to street racers such as Fastlane Street Racing, Fast and Furious: Pink Slip, or the like, which is something those unfamiliar with NASCAR racing should be aware of.  The goal is, of course, to cross the finish line first, but to truly excel in the game requires a bit more of the driver.

Winning a NASCAR race involves much on-track strategy.  In order to save fuel and pit less frequently, drivers seek to ride closely behind another vehicle in a technique known as "drafting" which dramatically reduces the aerodynamic resistance of the rear vehicle.  In Days of Thunder, as soon as your car is in the draft zone, a hammer bar on the right side of the screen begins to rise.  Once you've drafted long enough, you can "drop the hammer" and receive a boost in speed and invincibility to help push your way to the front of the pack.

In climbing the ladder to first place, quarters get rather tight on the track.  You'll do a lot of "paint swapping" as you slam your way through the crowd.  Above each car is a damage indicator-- a car can sustain only so many impacts with other vehicles and the wall before theatrically exploding into oblivion.  Damage to your own vehicle can be repaired in the pit, but at the price of precious track time.

In each race your charcter has a particular rival that's pointed out at the start of the race.  Hunting him down and sending him "to the wall" unlocks new cars (14 in all) to add to your garage.  Overall performance in the race, both in placement and on-track carnage, will unlock various achievements including new tracks and even a date with the lovely Dr. Lewicki.

Days of Thunder features accelerometer-based steering with touchscreen control of the accelerator and brake peddals (both either up or down).  The game's control mechanics make keeping the car on the track pretty easy.  It wasn't long before I was cornering at full throttle / no brake.  This makes the main challenge of the game staying in the draft zone until the right moment and balancing your own damage levels (and pit frequency) with that of the other cars on the track while huntinf down your rival.

While the game maintains a solid framerate, it breaks no new ground in the area of iPhone 3D graphics.  Though the layouts and backdrop scenery of each track vary, the overall look from track to track is much the same and aren't what one would call a lavish affair.  The vehicle graphics are simplistic and don't change to reflect damage taken on during the race until the final explosion.

Being a much bigger fan of street racers than track racers, my first reaction to Days of Thunder was that it was too basic and monotonous for my tastes.  As I spent more time with the game, however, I started to enjoy the challenge of knocking out my rival, successuflly drafting, and "swapping paint" with the rest of the pack.  Earning achievements along the way and seeing my progress reflected in the race-to-race cut scene dialog turned out to be a nice draw.  I think racer fans who enjoy a little destruction derby and who aren't particularly thirsty for groundbreaking visuals might find Days of Thunder a fun way to spend some track time on the iPhone, particularly at its introductory price of $0.99.

See the developer's teaser video:

Days of Thunder keeps its limited time introductory price of $0.99 until Sunday, after which it will be available for its standard price of $4.99.

Game Details
Name: Days of Thunder (v1.0) Price: $0.99 [Buy]
Developer: Freeverse, Inc. Size: 46.0 MB
Device: Tested on iPhone 3G
Days of Thunder is the iPhone's first stock car racer.  Those not thirsty for the more varied scenery of street racers may find the game's metal-on-metal, bang-up action worth a look.

NOTE: Freeverse has submitted a v1.0.1 update to the App Store that corrects a localization issue non-U.S. users were experiencing.

TouchArcade Rating

  • Tommy

    The cars won't let you pass and when you do they ALWAYS catch up/slam you in to the wall!! Do you have to stay in the back of the pack and THEN MOVE up on the last lap? There has to be a better, more realistic way.

  • Tommy

    The cars won't let you pass and when you do they ALWAYS catch up/slam you in to the wall!! Do you have to stay in the back of the pack and THEN MOVE up on the last lap? There has to be a better, more realistic way.

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    Tommy: Well, you can hang back and build your hammer bar then drop the hammer and shoot to the front, or just ram through the pack. I usually ram through the pack and get near the front, then try and maintain there. The initial ramming does not do all that much damage usually, I find.

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    Tommy: Well, you can hang back and build your hammer bar then drop the hammer and shoot to the front, or just ram through the pack. I usually ram through the pack and get near the front, then try and maintain there. The initial ramming does not do all that much damage usually, I find.

  • JR

    Stock cars don't have working brake lights in real life, so I doubt they'll add it.

  • JR

    Stock cars don't have working brake lights in real life, so I doubt they'll add it.

  • Adams Immersive
  • Adams Immersive
  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    JR: I went to determine for sure if NASCAR cars have tail lights that work and I saw some examples of cars with tail lights lit. Maybe not all have them?

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    JR: I went to determine for sure if NASCAR cars have tail lights that work and I saw some examples of cars with tail lights lit. Maybe not all have them?

  • Oliver

    No offense, but how do Nascar racing tips help you in a game, where every other car tries to kill you?

  • Oliver

    No offense, but how do Nascar racing tips help you in a game, where every other car tries to kill you?

  • JR

    Well, NASCAR stock car don't have them. They're just decals.

  • JR

    Well, NASCAR stock car don't have them. They're just decals.

  • http://skippythorson.blogspot.com/ SkippyThorson

    "Working brake lights would’ve been a nice touch, as well."

    No, none of the Nascar vehicles have working headlights or taillights. They are simple manufacturer-looking decals to further make them appear like the make and model they represent.

    Indy / Formula 1 cars however have a single individual taillight.

  • http://skippythorson.blogspot.com/ SkippyThorson

    "Working brake lights would’ve been a nice touch, as well."

    No, none of the Nascar vehicles have working headlights or taillights. They are simple manufacturer-looking decals to further make them appear like the make and model they represent.

    Indy / Formula 1 cars however have a single individual taillight.

  • http://www.strangeflavour.com Aaron

    "Indy / Formula 1 cars however have a single individual taillight."

    however, it's not a brake light (as that would tip off a following driver when the guy he's trying to overtake is braking). In Formula 1 it's switched on when it's a wet race (so the car in front can be seen through the spray) and when in the pit lane (it indicates the pit speed limiter is on).

    For most racing formulae, the brake lights are disabled or not included. The only cars I know of that use tail lights for 'normal' purposes are 24 hour racers who have standard red tail lights for visibility at night (but not brake lights).

  • http://www.strangeflavour.com Aaron

    "Indy / Formula 1 cars however have a single individual taillight."

    however, it's not a brake light (as that would tip off a following driver when the guy he's trying to overtake is braking). In Formula 1 it's switched on when it's a wet race (so the car in front can be seen through the spray) and when in the pit lane (it indicates the pit speed limiter is on).

    For most racing formulae, the brake lights are disabled or not included. The only cars I know of that use tail lights for 'normal' purposes are 24 hour racers who have standard red tail lights for visibility at night (but not brake lights).

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    While I did find numerous stock cars in Flickr's galleries with lit tail lights, they may not have been NASCAR stock cars (??). I removed the comment.

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    While I did find numerous stock cars in Flickr's galleries with lit tail lights, they may not have been NASCAR stock cars (??). I removed the comment.

  • VPool

    Thanks for the link, it really clears some things up. I think the turning right part was my biggest problem. Sorta obvious now.

    http://www.theonion.com/content/video/nascar_coach_reveals_winning

  • VPool

    Thanks for the link, it really clears some things up. I think the turning right part was my biggest problem. Sorta obvious now.

    http://www.theonion.com/content/video/nascar_coach_reveals_winning

  • Kita

    I would normally buy this game because its only 99 cents and won't be disappointed if I don't play it, but i'm strongly against buying apps from Freeverse. They did a shady tactic by releasing a racing game called "Motoracer" (which triggered fond memories of playing the pc game back in the 90s) during the iphone launch and I bought on impulse for 10 bucks the day I got my iphone 3g. The game was a load of garbage and not even worthy of being called alpha stage software. This is why Microsoft and Sony (and to a lesser extend Nintendo) have to pass "quality standards" for games to be released on their system, and this is why I believe 80-90 percent of games out there throw away apps.

  • Kita

    I would normally buy this game because its only 99 cents and won't be disappointed if I don't play it, but i'm strongly against buying apps from Freeverse. They did a shady tactic by releasing a racing game called "Motoracer" (which triggered fond memories of playing the pc game back in the 90s) during the iphone launch and I bought on impulse for 10 bucks the day I got my iphone 3g. The game was a load of garbage and not even worthy of being called alpha stage software. This is why Microsoft and Sony (and to a lesser extend Nintendo) have to pass "quality standards" for games to be released on their system, and this is why I believe 80-90 percent of games out there throw away apps.

  • Nate

    First off. When posting this comment the anti-spam word was IKEA...

    Anyways.
    When you hit a wall there should be sparks or sounds that tell you your hitting a wall. It's hard to tell, only way to tell is seeing your health lower.

    Great game. But yeah, all other racers just try to kill you.

  • Nate

    First off. When posting this comment the anti-spam word was IKEA...

    Anyways.
    When you hit a wall there should be sparks or sounds that tell you your hitting a wall. It's hard to tell, only way to tell is seeing your health lower.

    Great game. But yeah, all other racers just try to kill you.

  • http://www.f1archives.co.uk/mobile.htm Gregz0r

    FFS, Why don't SEGA just release Daytona USA?!?

  • http://www.f1archives.co.uk/mobile.htm Gregz0r

    FFS, Why don't SEGA just release Daytona USA?!?

  • Big Albie

    DoT is actually fun when you're banging other cars...I find it a nice change of pace from the usual racing games. What does get annoying is how the other cars can bang into you and not seem to lose strength or slow down. On the other hand, the controls are easier to manage than say Slotz Racer (another favorite of mine where there's a learning curve and some frustration). With Fastlane, the best racer out there IMHO, you have to practice a lot. With DoT, it fits into the category of the "instant gratification/pick up and play now" racer. Anyway, for 99 cents, you can't go wrong.

  • Big Albie

    DoT is actually fun when you're banging other cars...I find it a nice change of pace from the usual racing games. What does get annoying is how the other cars can bang into you and not seem to lose strength or slow down. On the other hand, the controls are easier to manage than say Slotz Racer (another favorite of mine where there's a learning curve and some frustration). With Fastlane, the best racer out there IMHO, you have to practice a lot. With DoT, it fits into the category of the "instant gratification/pick up and play now" racer. Anyway, for 99 cents, you can't go wrong.

  • rich_952000

    I think you guys may be reading into this one a tad too far. Blake said it best in the end of his review.

    Besides at the cost of playing 1or 2 arcade games in the arcade you have a full-featured stock car racer AND a story line that's pretty cool. While I probably got more for my $ with Slotz, by no means do I feel let down by Days of Thunder. :). BTW last few hours @$.99!

  • rich_952000

    I think you guys may be reading into this one a tad too far. Blake said it best in the end of his review.

    Besides at the cost of playing 1or 2 arcade games in the arcade you have a full-featured stock car racer AND a story line that's pretty cool. While I probably got more for my $ with Slotz, by no means do I feel let down by Days of Thunder. :). BTW last few hours @$.99!

  • Tommy

    I'm not saying it isn't worth .99 cause it is. Just would like to be harrassed less by the cars. Just a TAD more racing, just a TAD less death cars would make this a GREAT game. Well, for 99 cents, anyway. $4.99? El Paso.

  • Tommy

    I'm not saying it isn't worth .99 cause it is. Just would like to be harrassed less by the cars. Just a TAD more racing, just a TAD less death cars would make this a GREAT game. Well, for 99 cents, anyway. $4.99? El Paso.

  • G

    once you unlock other cars, some of them are great for just attacking right back, which is fun!

  • G

    once you unlock other cars, some of them are great for just attacking right back, which is fun!

  • Peter321

    I bought it before watching the video so I expected better graphics, but I actually find the game quite fun - you need to think about how you can complete a track by mixing slamming other cars, hitting the hammer and going to the pit - so it's not just pedal to the metal. Music is pretty cool too.

    At $0.99 it's no brainer, because it's actually quite fun. at $4.99 I'm not sure, but still, compared to other platforms even $4.99 is REALLY CHEAP for a game like this.

  • Peter321

    I bought it before watching the video so I expected better graphics, but I actually find the game quite fun - you need to think about how you can complete a track by mixing slamming other cars, hitting the hammer and going to the pit - so it's not just pedal to the metal. Music is pretty cool too.

    At $0.99 it's no brainer, because it's actually quite fun. at $4.99 I'm not sure, but still, compared to other platforms even $4.99 is REALLY CHEAP for a game like this.

  • http://mohammadfauzitaib.com along123

    I actually like this game (and the movie too). Seems, too easy though (maybe, it's just the amateur circuit). Like some of the guys commented. Maybe, if they put a little more 'meat' into this game like being able to create/design your own car. The racing is kind of too smooth and you don't really 'feel' the speed when u press the pedal like the other racing games. Maybe, if there's a manual option. Who knows, if they are going to be any updates and they'll listen to us. But, isn't this game sponsored? Money, shouldn't be a problem for them. They should try to update this game further and it'll be great. Or maybe, just wait when they make a real stock car game. I'm still waiting for GP motorbike and F1?

  • http://mohammadfauzitaib.com along123

    I actually like this game (and the movie too). Seems, too easy though (maybe, it's just the amateur circuit). Like some of the guys commented. Maybe, if they put a little more 'meat' into this game like being able to create/design your own car. The racing is kind of too smooth and you don't really 'feel' the speed when u press the pedal like the other racing games. Maybe, if there's a manual option. Who knows, if they are going to be any updates and they'll listen to us. But, isn't this game sponsored? Money, shouldn't be a problem for them. They should try to update this game further and it'll be great. Or maybe, just wait when they make a real stock car game. I'm still waiting for GP motorbike and F1?

  • http://www.talkingfuture.com talkingfuture.com

    I've been playing this a bit and quite like it. I reckon its a 7.5/10

  • http://www.talkingfuture.com talkingfuture.com

    I've been playing this a bit and quite like it. I reckon its a 7.5/10

  • http://skippythorson.blogspot.com/ SkippyThorson

    I'm glad this one came out so soon - it was one I was really looking forward to.

    Sorry Blake, for jumping on the comment about the lights, didn't mean anything by it. Nicely written article as typical to what I look forward to here.

    I'm sort of wishing it followed the movie a little closer, even in terms of licensing the characters and cars. Wonder how he got the title logo and not the rest?

    Anyway, I've really been enjoying it. I even got the song stuck in my head yesterday.

  • http://skippythorson.blogspot.com/ SkippyThorson

    I'm glad this one came out so soon - it was one I was really looking forward to.

    Sorry Blake, for jumping on the comment about the lights, didn't mean anything by it. Nicely written article as typical to what I look forward to here.

    I'm sort of wishing it followed the movie a little closer, even in terms of licensing the characters and cars. Wonder how he got the title logo and not the rest?

    Anyway, I've really been enjoying it. I even got the song stuck in my head yesterday.

  • Vende

    I'm sorry but this game is HORRIBLE.

  • Vende

    I'm sorry but this game is HORRIBLE.

  • http://www.ninermedia.com Alexandre Rousseau

    That review convinced me to buy the game. And now, I'm disappointed. Somehow, ...breaks no new ground in the area of iPhone 3D graphics... does not reflect the impression I got within 1 minute of launching the game:

    - lousy graphics
    - lousy sound effects
    - reasonable handling (though, wishing one could adjust those brake settings)
    - no in-game volume control for the music
    - no cockpit view

    Overall, this game does not compare to the likes of Fastlane, GT, SlotzRacer, etc.

    Looking forward to the next update, though. Based on past Freeverse titles, there's still hope.

    Alex

  • http://www.ninermedia.com Alexandre Rousseau

    That review convinced me to buy the game. And now, I'm disappointed. Somehow, ...breaks no new ground in the area of iPhone 3D graphics... does not reflect the impression I got within 1 minute of launching the game:

    - lousy graphics
    - lousy sound effects
    - reasonable handling (though, wishing one could adjust those brake settings)
    - no in-game volume control for the music
    - no cockpit view

    Overall, this game does not compare to the likes of Fastlane, GT, SlotzRacer, etc.

    Looking forward to the next update, though. Based on past Freeverse titles, there's still hope.

    Alex

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