The 1986 arcade classic OutRun, with its easy to pick up gameplay and simplistic mechanics, seems like it would be a perfect fit for the iPhone. It's strange then, given the wealth of racing games on the App Store, that no one has taken a serious stab at an OutRun-inspired game yet. Now, developer Oyatsukai.com has risen to this challenge with their first iPhone game Final Freeway, and delivered in fairly impressive fashion. Final Freeway does an excellent job at capturing the feel of the original OutRun, while offering tight controls with multiple configurations and a terrific sense of speed that runs well even on older devices.
Just as in OutRun, Final Freeway is a point-to-point racing game, where instead of trying to beat other cars to the finish you're trying to reach each checkpoint in the given amount of time until finally reaching the end. In total there are six different sections to race through, each with their own unique scenery, but unfortunately there aren't the branching paths at the end of each section as in OutRun. The racing is simple and arcadey, with the focus being to race each leg of the track as fast as possible while avoiding traffic and staying on the track. You don't crash in the game, but will slow down a lot if you hit another car or go off track. If time runs out before you reach the end of the track segment, it's game over.
In another nod to OutRun, you can choose one of three different tunes to listen to while you're racing in Final Freeway. Also, your ride looks suspiciously like a Ferrari, which is the staple car in the OutRun series. The graphics in Final Freeway are very nice, with added support for the higher resolution iPhone 4 and iPad displays. The framerate is ultra smooth, even on my iPod touch 2G, and makes for a blazingly fast sense of speed. There are touch and tilt control options, with various other configurations of onscreen button placement. Either control option works well, but I found myself preferring the touch controls. There isn't the option for auto-accelerate, only separate gas and brake buttons, but this actually benefits the game as it can pay to merely let off the gas when approaching turns rather than slamming on the brakes.
Really, the only fault of Final Freeway is that there just isn't that much of it. The six track locations are decent, and can be played on a normal or expert setting, but I would love to see more. It sounds like that just might happen too, as the developer is active in our forums and has hinted that more levels are on their way, as well as taking note of other suggestions from our forum members for future updates. With a few updates, Final Freeway could evolve into something truly special, although what is here already is quite competent for the price. The bottom line is that Final Freeway is fun, plays extremely well, looks great, and will scratch that OutRun itch whenever you need it to.
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