Top-down arcade racers seem to do well on iOS, and it's really not too hard to see why. Combining quick gameplay with simple controls and fast reflexes is a good formula for approachability. Maciek Drejak Labs successfully implemented that blueprint once before with Vs Racing [Free], and now with Vs Racing 2 [Free], the developer returns for another try. While Vs Racing 2 certainly offers some refinements and more of what made its predecessor fun, the exceedingly simple focus is sure to disappoint some looking for a bit more depth.

Like its predecessor, Vs Racing 2 focuses on fast-paced arcade racing with little in terms of fluff. The singe player campaign pits you against multiple opponents (or head-to-head occasionally) with the sole goal being to finish in first. Coins are awarded for beating the opposition, as well as for doing in-race goals such as drifting, hitting other cars ("grinding") and passing up opponents.

Coins can then be used to upgrade your car or purchase new vehicles (which in turn have their own attributes to upgrade). Vs Racing 2 does offer some IAP unlockables, but they're restricted to visual upgrades. Otherwise, there's no story, campaign, or progression other than a 3-star system with the second set of tracks unlockable after a certain amount of stars.

All of the control schemes in Vs Racing 2 are focused on simple, one touch mechanisms for driving. The default is a steering wheel with an arrow showing the absolute direction of your car. Tapping and moving the wheel changes your car's direction, although it's a little odd since the wheel focuses on absolute direction rather than relative. Thankfully, a few other options are available, including the simple left and right arrows. Overall, there should be an option for everyone, I at least found one of  the controls responsive and working well for me within the gameplay.

Another area that Vs Racing 2 improves upon is its multiplayer modes. Again, multiplayer is available via local Wifi or Bluetooth, and the inclusion of power-ups and weapons (such as Nitro, Oil-slicks and missiles) add some variety to the quick matches. Unfortunately, as was the case in Vs Racing, there's no true online multiplayer; players are restricted to sending ghost data to others online. That's a shame because I think online multiplayer and a good leaderboard system are essential missing pieces.

Where Vs Racing 2 falters somewhat is with variety in both levels and gameplay. On the level front, a lot of tracks feel very similar to each other, with Racing using mirrored tracks and opposite paths to try and extend out the actual track designs employed. In addition, Vs. Racing 2 doesn't have much in terms of visual variety with less than a handful of themes and vehicles available for use. Granted, we've heard promises of future content available via updates (with over 4 additional cars coming in 'future updates'), but until then content feels a little light.

'A little light' is probably the best way to describe Vs Racing 2. Yes, if you loved the original, you will undoubtedly enjoy Vs Racing 2. As far as being an arcade racer, the experience is about as smooth as one can expect for a game that focuses more on fundamentals. However, improvements over the original feel relatively minor, and the missing online multiplayer means Vs Racing 2 lacks that big ticket feature that sequels usually try and include. Still, it's an enjoyable arcade racer, and for those looking for some simple driving it's worth a look.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Hehateme78

    Can someone tell me if it's better than Reckless Racing 2? If not, I won't bother!

    • Baracus

      Not (IMHO)

    • Jim Rustles

      Not really, part of that is because more than half of the game is "coming in future updates".

    • http://www.facebook.com/aaron.marroquin.106 Aaron Marroquin

       It is a bit different. Not the same type of game. But it is fun at times. The single wheel control is sorta cool but can be frustrating at times.

  • Eoin Fay

    My oh my, have people become spoiled... for one dollar, this game is a four-star, at least. Content is light? IT'S A $%^&ING DOLLAR!
    It doesn't have the big-ticket features that sequels usually try to include? I didn't pay a big-ticket price, so why expect big-ticket features?

    Review a game for what it is, not for what you think it should be.

    For one dollar, I highly recommend this game.

    • MrAlbum

      Ah, but there ARE $1.00 racing games with more content, depth and variety than this game. It is natural to compare games within the same genre to each other, to help judge which could possibly be better. And, as the reviewer mentioned, this game is not so hot on the content side of things compared to other games in its genre.

      I don't have any specific examples, as iOS racers are not really my genre (ohhhhhh RPGs... how u hurt me w/ your IAPs.... (T-T) hey that rhymes).

      Does that mean the game is terrible/unplayable? Well... No! I'm sure the game is fun and can offer enjoyment. So I agree with your sentiment; just because it is light on content should not be enough to turn people away. However, the reviewer offered other criticisms other than the content: not much variety in game modes, lack of interesting multiplayer (racing ghosts of people instead of directly racing the people), and a wonky default control method that, by all accounts, looks like it takes some getting used to.

      Does this invalidate what you say? No! But neither does it invalidate the reviewers perspective. Both views of the game have merit. If a game is fun despite its flaws, then it can, and maybe SHOULD, be enjoyed. After all, we play games for fun, not for frustration. So if a game can be enjoyed, then it is fulfilling its purpose, and should be celebrated and supported.

      While I personally won't be getting the game, I felt that it was good to bring up this topic, in response to the issue you brought up. If I offended anyone, then I apologize.

      Sincerely,

      Mr. Album

      • Eoin Fay

        Nice rebuttal! :)
        (I just realized that my reply looks like sarcasm; it's not)

    • ConceptNormal

      This is what I've been trying to not only get across to the critics on this site, but the critics who just by the games too. One Dollar. 3 stars?! Now I agree not every dollar game is worth 5 stars, but acknowledge the price, take in what you got for it and make an accurate assessment. Maybe they get paid a dollar a review? I'd live to see them review a 20oz bottle of water for a dollar fifty.

  • MidianGTX

    The simplicity is what makes this better than other racing games. Quit trying to shove so much content in and bloating your games, complexity isn't attractive.

    • Eoin Fay

       I couldn't agree more!
      If you like simplicity, might I suggest you check out "Radiant" (not Radiant Defense)? One of my favorite iOS games.

  • regkilla

    game got boring fast! 2 stars zzzzz

VS. Racing 2 Reviewed by Eric Ford on . Rating: 3