I really like Origin8 games, the Sentinel games are among my favorite on the platform, so needless to say I was fairly excited to see Car Mania [App Store] appear a few nights ago.
Car Mania is an evolution on the "draw lines to direct things" genre that has become so popular between Flight Control [App Store], Harbor Master [App Store], and other spin-offs. Instead of directing boats or planes, as you may have guessed, you're directing cars around.
The three included maps feature streets which oddly enough are only wide enough for one car, so you need to plan each car's route to avoid collisions. The nice thing about Car Mania is you have a rage meter which slowly gets filled as drivers wait or crash in to each other, this makes the game fairly forgiving compared to the one mistake and you're done gameplay of similar games in the genre. Also, along the way you'll need to deal with road construction. When these signs pop up on the road they stop traffic, but tapping them a few times gets rid of them.
Origin8 released a really great trailer showing how everything in the game works that is totally worth a look:
What sticks out the most in that trailer? For me it was the level with the train that comes barreling through the map blowing up every car in its path. How awesome is that? There's a problem, that level and the freeway level both come locked with quotas of cars you need to route to their destination in the first level before you can move on to the next one. Unlocking the train level literally requires routing hundreds of cars.
Now, I don't have a problem with unlockables because they're usually fairly insignificant so grinding your way to unlocking them is generally optional. The problem here is Origin8 dangles this cool exploding train of death carrot in front of me with the trailer, and it was disappointing to find that I had to play the easier (and significantly less entertaining) levels for what seemed way too long before I could unlock the freight train of doom.
With that said, the train level is ridiculously awesome, and worth the 99 cent price tag alone. Between four destinations to route cars to, constant train traffic, and the limited amount of roads to send cars down, it gets extremely hectic quick.
Other game modes include Road Rage where you have three minutes (or until the rage meter is full) to crash as many cars as possible, and Time Attack where you need to get as many cars to where they need to go under a certain amount of time. The problem with this, again, is the amount of cars you need to route before these different modes are unlocked. I still need around 800 more cars before Road Rage becomes available on the train level.
I really like Car Mania but I think the pace of the things you unlock needs some serious tweaking. The third level is disproportionately awesome compared to the first two so it is kind of disappointing to have to play both of them for so long to finally get to the train level from the trailer. All in all though, the end-game of Car Mania is really fun, and although the game currently doesn't save your progress when you exit, an update is coming soon to fix that.
App Store Link: Car Mania, 99¢