286915_largerNow this was a heck of a surprise when I jumped on to the forums the other day and saw that Colin McRae Rally [$2.99] was available on iOS. I rubbed my eyes and stared at the screen, thinking that the information was too good to be true and that someone must have spiked my cereal but no, it was right there, App Store link and all.

I quickly hurried off to the TouchArcade Command Center to see if anyone had laid claim to this title, thus securing the right to review and again, to my surprise, it had not been assigned. Being a huge Colin McRae series fan, I jumped on it and got to downloading, whilst gibbering away in tongues, all misty-eyed at the familiar screen grabs. Once the digital dirt-racing goodness had been downloaded to my iPad, I eagerly swatted the icon to open up what was, to be honest, a rather half-hearted reboot.

Colin McRae Rally isn't simply a port of the original PlayStation title. The game takes its design cues form the later 2.0 version but has been severely limited for iOS. There are only three environments (each split into two rallies, so six, if we're nitpicking), Australia, Greece and Corsica and four cars to play with, compared to the ancient, yet still brilliant offering for PlayStation. And to top it off, the ability to set up your car's handling characteristics for the various environments has been left on the cutting room floor.


The game is split into several modes; Championship, Single Rally and Single Stage, though the latter two are pretty much useless, unless you have unlocked the stage/s you wish to tackle from within the Championship mode. It's this mode in which you'll spend the bulk of your time and it's split into eight rallies, which consist of Australia, Greece and Corsica rallies and various mash-ups of each, all of course increasing in difficulty.

Colin McRae Rally offers up four cars, just a sample of what was presented in Colin McRae 2.0 but those cars are arguably some of the most revered in the world of rallying. Upon starting out, the only vehicle available is the Ford Focus, but grind your way through the championships and you'll earn the right to pilot the Subaru WRX STi, Mitsubishi Evo VI and Lancia Stratos. Unfortunately, it sometimes does feel like a bit of a grind, due to the limited number of environments - you'll find yourself tackling the same stages over and over again and the bad stuff doesn't end there.

mzl.qrniudixWhilst the graphics are pretty decent and look to have been pulled straight from the PlayStation's production assets and given the HD treatment, the frame-rate has the tendency to stutter like a nervous schoolkid. For the most part, the game is perfectly playable but there were a few times the frames dropped so low I lost control of my car and careened into the nearest tree. There was an update that was released shortly before I sat down to write this text that was supposed to address the issues (as well as touch control bugs that some users were experiencing) but in the case of my iPad 4, it seemed to make no difference. I must reiterate, for the bulk of my time playing this game, the frame-rate was acceptable - whilst certainly not a solid 60fps, it did a decent job of conveying the speed and physics - which brings me to the positive points.

If you've played a Colin McRae game before, particularly the first two iterations on the PlayStation or PC, you'll be pleased to know that the iOS version retains that perfectly balanced physics model. The cars turn, slide, shake, rattle and roll beautifully and touch controls haven't hindered the experience too much, if at all. If you're a fan of precise analog input, Colin McRae has you covered there with the option of tilt steering, but I always found myself more at home with the on screen digital controls.

The game handles identically to the PS offerings and while that may be a bit of a challenge for anyone who has yet to sit in the cockpit of a virtual rally car, stalwarts of the genre will be right at home and probably even find the game a bit too easy, at least for the first few championships. There are two camera views on offer, behind the car and hood, the latter being my weapon of choice. I did find the gameplay to be smoother when played via the rear external view, but at the expense of precise car control.

Along with the spot-on car physics are the quality sound effects that brilliantly convey the piston pumping and gravel scraping characteristics of a high powered dirt machine and Nicky Grist is back in the co-driver's seat to do his best to make sure you don't meld your motoring metal with large, inanimate objects.

In summary, Colin McRae Rally is a good game but with the series' heritage, it should have been a fantastic game. Perhaps the reason there wasn't a major fanfare about the iOS release was it was just cash-cow milking experiment. Despite the cut-down size and lackluster frame-rate, Colin McRae Rally will provide a few hours of shifting and drifting fun times and at this stage fills a rather wide void in the App Store's rally game department. It's just a shame we didn't get a more, for lack of a better word, complete rally racing experience. Oh well, at least there is no IAP.

TouchArcade Rating

  • sirrozha

    Да вы совсем охуели как я погляжу.

    • Corky McButterpants

      Прости, что я не говорю Даго!

  • TDa

    Only 3 stars out of 5? Really? It's the best rally game on iOS becouse of car physics

    • RoboWarrior

      The lackluster port was the reason.

      • Himmat Singh

        Why must it be compared to a port? I always believe in judging mobile ports to its competition on said mobile platform, not compare it with the console/PC version that was made for different hardware, audience, price-point etc.

    • oooooomonkey

      I agree. This review is way off, best rally game on iOS by far and why is it not just reviewed as the new game that it is? Always being compared to the old games and saying there's a lack of content here, well there's also the price difference, when it came out on ps1 it would have been 10x the price it is here and do we get 10x less content no, no we don't.

      • GR3NADE

        Well, I'm glad I bought it before TA review becouse I don't know if I would buy it after reading this review

      • anabolicMike

        Spot on my friend. It is a different platform, lots of people need to quit comparing the games to the console games. The memory constraints and etc are much different on mobile and big shiny games just can't be the same. Mobile is getting there at a flash like speed but there's still that horrible charge some people have to pay for that GB of data. Not to mention not Everyone has the newest phone out there. Cut backs must be made!

  • Thirdrail1

    I was so excited to see this game, but, yeah, it's just way too stripped down to really sink your teeth into. Codemasters has never been the same since Colin McRae became DiRT. They've spent the whole 360 era systematically dumbing their work down. It's sad.

    • http://ask.fm/MidianGTX MidianGTX

      Says you. Grid was amazing, and Dirt 3, while not perfect, is one of the most enjoyable rally simulations I've ever had the pleasure to experience.

  • GSport

    You do realize for a full console game version it would be about 4 gigs...

    • http://www.polygame.co.nz/ Karl Burnett

      Colin McRae 2.0 is around 300mb for PS. Granted the iOS version has higher resolution textures but it certainly wouldn't be anywhere near 4 gig. PlayStation used CDs, games in the multi GB range didn't come along until PS2/Xbox with DVD format.

      • GSport

        I stand corrected. For some stupid reason I forgot PS1 was CD not DVD Based. Opps....

      • http://www.polygame.co.nz/ Karl Burnett

        To tell the truth I was thinking you were right until I remembered PS was CD too. LOL.

  • GSport

    Now of Apple could make their own cloud based game streaming service....

  • lanights

    Despite the three stars, I must disagree on this one. I absolutely LOVE this game.

  • millski

    No frame rate probs on my iPad 3! My only gripe is the somewhat repetitive nature of the rally dynamic; something that later changed with the DIRT series. This is still a quality racer though, and as others have said the car physics are spot on.
    Personally I'd prefer to see a standalone game based on the drift races in GRID…

    • jeffyg3

      Yeah same here. I'm on an iPad Mini and have absolutely no frame rate issues either. The review was way off for me, loving this rally game. I would love a port of rallisport racing 2...best rally racing game ever. Too bad it's only found on the original Xbox

      • http://www.polygame.co.nz/ Karl Burnett

        Good point, iPad Mini would run it better as the CPU/GPU doesn't have to cope with the ridiculously high resolution of the retina display. I should have played it on my gf's Mini! Agreed about Rallisport 2! Sooooo many hours sank into that game! Colin McRae is good on iOS, just think the developers got a bit lazy is all... Feels rushed. Why no car tweaking? Why only three countries? Why only four cars? I stand by what I said. It's good, just not as good as it should have been.

  • bilboad

    While I agree with most of the negatives mentioned in this review, it seemed to me the reviewer gave too little weight to how good the physics are. There is literally no other rally game on iOS that comes close to simulating the handling of driving on dirt as well as this game. I think there are a number of ways the rest of the program lacks polish, and it doesn't have as many tracks and cars as a lot of other racers, but IMO the driving more than makes up for it. The reviewer should have spent more time reviewing the driving and handling instead of relegating that to one paragraph of the review.

  • Jay G

    This makes me want to see a port of the original Destruction Derby on PS1, I loved that game. Hmm... *goes to check Ebay and dig out the 'ol PS1

  • Tomtomp44632

    My ipod 4g wont run this! I can get to the main menu but when i press and of the gamemodes it crashes and throws me out! Plus there was no compatibility warning on the description and i legit downloaded it so atm im quite annoyed! Any solutions?

  • kadoore

    this game deserves a 5

  • schplurg

    I agree that three stars are too low for this game, especially since it's only 3$ now. I wish I could adjust the sound and turn off the voice.

    • mr ed209

      The voice is what makes it one of the best rally games tho!

  • pajman sarafzadeh

    not a fair review.

    this is not the PS title you want it to be.
    you need to review whats there and not what you wish was there

    • http://www.polygame.co.nz/ Karl Burnett

      That's exactly what I did. It's a cut down port of a classic game. They should have either ported it properly or released a totally new/different McRae game. And I'm not sure why everyone is so uppity about this... I said it was good, just not great. Three stars isn't a bad thing. It has FPS issues and the bulk of the original game is missing. Had his been a totally new game of the same size, the rating may have been different. I guess this is why we humans are interesting though, as we all have our own opinions 🙂

      • pajman sarafzadeh

        Hi Karl
        if you had never played the original game, would you still have given this 3 stars?

        great physics, i mean, really great, solid game-play, solid graphics etc.

        3 star = mediocre, lets be honest, if we take a mean of all the scores Touch Arcade has posted since inception its considered even bellow average,

        I feel this app was underscored because of how much you loved the PS version. But, that is not a fair standard to judge it by.

        First of all, you are bringing in your preference and idealized memories of a classic game and judging this against it. how can any game compare to our most ideal memories.
        Second, you are taking away points for features you wanted included. that's fine, except, do you add that criteria to other games. example, would you score modern combat 4, 2 stars less because they did not include a full feature car set up scheme. of course not, why, because its not a feature of MC4 just like its not a feature of Colin Mc rae IOS

        also, reread your article. you keep talking about how great PS Colin Mcrae was and how you wished that game would have been ported. Thats your personal wish and not the reality. When you do talk about the app itself, you seem to absolutely love it, so again, this leads me to think that you never gave this app its do chance. you seem to want it to be something else, something of memory, some ideal you played a decade ago rather than what it is, a great racer with wonderful physics.

      • http://www.polygame.co.nz/ Karl Burnett

        Let's just agree to disagree. Of course I'm going to compare it to the original. It's called Colin McRae Rally. Three out of five is better than average. Sure, you can ignore what was chopped out and award it five stars but that's hardly being honest and to disregard it wouldn't make me much of a journalist. Had it been a totally new game, sure, it could achieve a higher rating... but it's a port... a rushed one. Still a good game but not even close to the original, which this game is blatantly cashing in on. Good controls and physics don't make up for the other issues. As I said before, it's a good game but certainly NOT a five star game. That's just my opinion.

      • pajman sarafzadeh

        fine Karl. I have no problem with your review or your fine web sight. I agree to disagree on this point.

        I stand by my points, This game is clearly the best rally game on IOS and arguably the best racing game on IOS.

        I would have given it 4 - 4 1/2 stars.

        3 stars, in my opinion does equal a bad game, I would not waste time downloading a 3 star game unless i was already a fan of the franchise. many of your audience agree with this sentiment, read above comments, thats why we disagree with your review. 3 stars = bad in peoples perception. its not a bad game, its really good.

        I am a game industry person myself, so I understand the tensions here, from the production side, you want to bring to IOS enough of your game that people will want to buy it, but it has to be accessible to non gamer's as well. it also has to be as small as possible, so that it can be downloaded and that it will stay on your clients device long enough to encourage brand loyalty.

        IOS its not a PS, and the price tag indicates its not aimed at hard core gamers, (see xcom, to final fantasy for hardcore gamers price points) its aimed at a more casual audience. You want console gamers to buy it, you also hope to get everyone else to consider it as well. for that, some of the more intense mechanics had to go. they simplified the game play and limited the choices to make it more accessible. well done, if you ask me.

        The core experience is still there and this game shines as an example on how to port a budget title onto mobile. the core mechanic, the actual in car race experience is as good if not better than it was on console. the rest is secondary, important to you because of your memories and preferences, but not essential to the experience.

        Now, XCOM is an example of what you were looking for. a full feature port that makes very little compromise. it is essentially the same game as what you get on PC. its designed to be played for hours at a time.

        but this aint it. This is a mobile game, designed to be a diversion, a few minutes at a time.

        sorry to go on and on, again, i really appreciate your web-sight and your reviews, but i respectfully disagree with you.

      • http://www.polygame.co.nz/ Karl Burnett

        I'm sorry but the size thing is a cop-out. it's no longer 2007 and many games for iOS are huge (look at Real Racing 3). Also, as I stated earlier, even if it were a complete conversion, it would only be a few hundred megabytes, maybe up to a gig depending on asset compression. I'm also a game developer (I write these days mainly as a hobby) so I know exactly what it takes to do a port of this scale and Codemasters certainly have the people available. Cutting content does NOT make it more "mobile friendly"... the basics of the game are still the same, it's just much shorter. I get the idea you haven't actually played this version a lot. I have and it gets VERY repetitive playing through the same stages OVER AND OVER again, due to the lack of locations. That is a major contributor to the score. Sure, people agree with you, people also agree with me, I'm betting people who have put a lot of time into it, not just played it for five minutes and decided that it's a five star game because it has good physics.
        I should add, though, had the price been as low as it is now, I might have awarded an extra star, or at least a half, as the price was over double what it is now when I grabbed it, so you're right there... it is good value. But that's the nature of the App Store. Things change 😉

      • http://www.polygame.co.nz/ Karl Burnett

        Put it this way... when I first played it, I thought "instant five star game" but after a while it became very apparent that it just wasn't as good as it could have/should have been.

      • pajman sarafzadeh

        ok, i respect your opinion. but put that same standard to all other games.

        so many of what get 4 star reviews are not as good as this one.

        industry standards being what they are, you know that if you game gets a metacritic of less than 80, then it equals that your game sucked and believe me your going to be told as much. at least thats how we see it in Montreal, regardless of studio.

        to me a 4 star rating means the game is good not exceptional and 5 stars means xcom IOS. less than 4 means the game was really bad.

        i keep repeating myself and i dont want to. i respect your opinion, but i dont agree. i never worked on this title but when i compare it to real racing, or asphalt, i find that this game is more fun to play, doesn't keep begging for more money, ie real racing and is as interesting if not more so. i think its a better title. buts that's just my opinion,

        i am not really a big racing fan, at least not since microprose f1 games. i guess if ios brought back microprose f1 and didn't include all the car customization or the two hour races, i probably would be biased against it, but playing for two hours on my phone is a little much so i can understand if the studio chose to make the game differently

        if i look at ff tactics, when it came to ios, it felt like the game was not ported well for the platform. i think the studio patched together a pour UI and expected the audience to just take it, they had a killer app after all and it felt lazy.

        in this case, i think they made a conscious decision to make the game more accessible. they got rid of feature that as a hardcore fan, you may have wanted, but which probably would not translate well to a more casual, mobile audience.

        rather than give the complete Colin mcrae experience, they gave a, 'best of,' core experience and they made it to be optimized for mobile.

        its not the ps version, but that doesn't mean that its not good. it looks better than the ps version, has a good frame rate, feels fine, manage to provide a very good physics feeling, despite no physical controller/force feedback etc. that's pretty hard to do and they did it really well.

        its a 4 star title, if there were more tracks then 5 star, but i agree, not enough tracks were shipped.

        anyway, i think we understand each other and its ok to have different opinions

      • http://www.polygame.co.nz/ Karl Burnett

        Dude, I agree! The Microprose F1 games were AMAZING! I still love the original F1 on Amiga. Big Geoff Crammond fan here. I have a few C64s and I LOVE playing Stunt Car Racer from time to time! That guy knows how to code a game!

        And yeah, differing opinions are a good thing! Having an intelligent conversation via the internet is actually kinda refreshing!

        TBH, I hav no idea what you're talking about when it comes to FF Tactics... I haven't played a FF game since my PS2 days... not a big RPG fan, really... but I do feel too many studios do rushed ports...

      • Himmat Singh

        3/5 is not better than average, and definitely so not on TA where the average is like 4/5 and mediocre games often get scored 4 and above.

        It may really be mediocre and average (and in the ideal world would deserve 3 stars), but due to the way mobile games are being reviewed today, 3/5 or 5/10 do not mean average or mediocre. That's usually 3.5 or 4/5, or 7/10.

      • mr ed209

        An average score out of 5 is 2.5 so yes it's half a star better than average.

        If he meant better than the average score Touch Arcade interns have awarded all the games they've written up for school ever, that might be different.

      • mr ed209

        How do you know it's rushed? Maybe it's exactly what they wanted it to be.

        Reviewers say "it's a rushed port" when what they mean is "it's not what I expected".

      • anabolicMike

        Amen pajman! Amen

      • GSport

        They did not call it Colin McRae 2.0

        They called it Colin McRae

        Sounds like a different game to me so review it for what it is and not what it isn't.

        It is a crowning achievement that they were able to bring the physics and the handling on a touch screen device. I play on my iPhone 5 and even work the small turning arrows it handles like a charm!

      • http://www.polygame.co.nz/ Karl Burnett

        Yes, they called it Colin McRae (I never said it was called Coin McRae 2.0) but it's actually a cut down port of Colin McRae 2.0. I'd have been much happier with a complete port of the original CMR. No one is arguing the driving experience is good it's just a rushed game that Codemasters knew would sell no matter what, but hey, it seems people aren't too fussed by this, so good on them.

    • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

      Of course it is fair. It mentions CMR 2.0 right in the description. I can't honestly believe that people are MAD that this review doesn't reward a company for only porting 30% of a game.

      Less cars, less tracks, completely strips out any sort of tuning... and that constitutes a 5 star port? If a game said "based on the classic Street Fighter II!" in its description but only had Ken, Ryu, and a single arena, I would be pissed.

  • nreyes

    Most of the reviews and criticism levelled at this game is unfair. This remains a groundbreaking, very playable title that has stood the test of time.

  • monty1854

    I agree with the review. If u compare the price and content you will find more games with more content than this one for the same price forget about the old vs new, but this game is not value for money.

  • Bob

    Don't know what people are complaining about re:content. This game has what, 36 stages to master? More than enough content for $4.

    The game deserves 4 stars on the basis of the driving model, the really great damage modelling that actually forces you to approach stages in different ways, and the challenge of driving longer courses that capture a real rally feel. The game runs really well on both my ipad2 and mini and the touch controls actually work way better than I'd expect. Best rally game I've played since....well since CMR2 on the PC! I wish Codie's would dump the hip hop, "X crap", and 3D menu environments and go back to making gritty games like this. Toca 2 next please!

  • menom

    Ridiculous review. Colin McRae is the most fun I've had with a racing game on iOS. Superb driving physics with long courses, a real sense of speed and a good system for punishing careless driving by damage than can be repaired after a few races with no IAP gouging crap.

    The fact that the IAP money-grab, Real Racing 3 got a higher rating than this says it all about this site these days. Coming here less and less. Once you know you can't trust reviews to chime with your own views on what's a good or bad gaming experience, there really is no point.

    • http://www.polygame.co.nz/ Karl Burnett

      I actually reviewed Real Racing 3 for another site (before working for TA) and I gave it a 2/5 for exactly the reasons you state. I was appalled by what they did with the series.

      I'm not singling out CMR, I call it as I see it. It suffers from bad frame rate issues (at least on iPad4) and is way too repetitive, thanks to the exclusion of locations... you do nothing but repeat the same old stuff over and over. If you class that as a five star game, good for you. As I said, IT IS A GOOD GAME.- not quite so sure what some of the commenters here find so hard to understand about that... seems most of the other iOS sites hold similar views to me on this game though, probably because they have played it as much as I have. At the end of the day, it's just my opinion, that's what reviews are and it saddens me to think that there are people out there who actually expect reviews to "chime with their own views"... I certainly don't want to live in that world... where everyone has the exact same opinion (and clearly the same tastes)... how uninteresting.

      Not going to reply to any other comments as I have been as clear as I could possibly be, yet I'm having to repeat myself way too often. Good night, TA commenters and enjoy CMR. It is a good game 🙂

      • mr ed209

        The problem is your review reads like far better than a 3. I don't think the score reflects what you wrote and I don't think what you wrote reflects the score. So it's hard to trust the review.

      • mr ed209

        "It is a good game"

        Good games don't get 60% scores. Very-slightly-above-average games do.

        Like I said, score and review bear no relation to each other.

    • setarrif

      Honestly, the best physics in the world would be pointless in a small circling demo level.
      I agree with that review, simply because such a game simply needs more tracks and content.
      RR3 may have a sad free to play approach, but wow, there you have content, and that's all I'm looking for in such games (besides perfect handling and physics, but that's anyway a minimal requirement).

  • Guest

    This is ridiculous. You are currently working an a rally game yourself, and here you are reviewing the best-in-class and giving it 3 stars. Are 4 or 5 stars reserved for your game, huh?

    • mr ed209

      Is he indeed?

      Interesting. And a massive conflict of interest.

      • http://www.polygame.co.nz/ Karl Burnett

        Which is why my games won't ever be reviewed by TA 😉 I've been a writer much longer than a game dev (coming up two decades) and I'm more than happy to have my games slip under the TA radar in return for being able to write for them 🙂

        I wouldn't exactly put my game in the same league as a Colin McRae title, either. LOL.

  • mr ed209

    Odd review. Starts out by preparing us for a terrible port, but I've read it twice and the only problem you seem to have was a couple of frame rate issues.

    Is that really worth two stars off, and setting the game up in the opening as being pretty disappointing?

    Reads like a 4.5 to be honest.

  • mr ed209

    I've said before that the reviewers here write like school kids on their first job, and this bizarre review doesn't change my mind.

  • Zeldaniac

    On a related note, there seriously need to be more iOS ports of PlayStation / PS2 games.

  • DjFIL

    My complaint is that I paid $5 on launch day, and it's already down to $2? Grrr. That said, it's a very enjoyable game... deserves better than 3/5.

  • JoelSixPack

    In my opinion, whoever is moderating the comments on this page is going way overboard with removing certain content. Why do I see on the home page that there are 56 comments, but only 44 show up on the separate review page? Why were those 12 comments deleted? Was somebody saying naughty things? It turns out there’s actually a very simple way to find out what was deleted: Open the review in a fresh browser tab and instantly (before the page can fully load) hit [Ctrl+A] and then [Ctrl+C] to copy all the text from the entire page. Then just dump it into a word processor, and after doing a little sifting (like literally it should only take a few seconds), you’ll find the comments section and can actually see ALL of the comments -- including the 12 that were deleted.

    You can decide for yourself, but none of the deleted comments seem that bad to me. It was the one deleted guest comment that led to the whitewashing of all the related comments, and if you’re wondering what the big deal was, just look for threads related to this game in the forums. I feel especially bad for mr ed209. The majority of the deleted comments were from him, but none of them were inappropriate; he just happened to reply to the guest comment, and apparently that was enough to get all of his comments removed. I’m just annoyed because TA did something similar to me a few days ago: I tried to post a perfectly PG-rated comment, but it automatically went to a moderator (I think because of a previous exchange on that page between another commenter and the reviewer), and was subsequently never posted. What’s with the censorship, Touch Arcade? Assuming there’s no cursing or trolling, isn’t the comments section where we readers are supposed to have a chance to chime in? Now I’m very curious to see if this comment gets deleted too 🙂

  • Mat

    Is there a way to make reverse the on-screen controls? Gaz/brake on the left and steering on the right?

Colin McRae Rally Reviewed by Karl Burnett on . Rating: 3