869205_largerRacing games on mobile platforms can be a bit of a mixed bag. Between the abuse of IAPs and the finicky nature of tilt and touch controls alone, it's hard to really find a good racer these days. 2K Drive [$6.99] is aiming high, attempting to take the throne from Real Racing 3 in the realm of more simulation-style racers, and in the process, it's a solid addition to the mobile racing genre.

At first, 2K Drive feels like it controls rather sluggishly. But that's because as a general rule, the game slaps on a ton of limiters and control corrections to limit your movement. Once you dive into the game's menu screen however and turn auto-braking and turn correction off, change the tilt (or virtual button) scheme to your liking, and change your sensitivity, it actually controls quite well. Add on the practically hidden option to use the handbrake by sliding the virtual break button and shifting gears and you have a winner.

Real licensed cars help make the experience even more enjoyable, as do realistic damage and motion physics. As a side note, I tested the game on an iPad Mini and an iPhone 5, and I'd highly recommend the former as 2K Drive is incredibly hard to navigate and control with less screen real estate.


So what can you actually do in 2K Drive? Well, the core modes are Championships, Daily Challenges, and other unique races like rally courses. Championship mode is the crux of the game, tasking you with performing certain parameters like outrunning helicopters, passing a certain amount of cars in a specific time frame, or winning old fashioned races. These are generally pretty fresh and fun to play, as 2K Drive rarely gives you a boring level, and most of them can be completed in short satisfying spurts. As you progress you'll unlock new challenges, as well as level up your driving score and earn stars and coins (more on these in a minute).

Multiplayer does exist, but it's an asynchronous affair that doesn't amount to much more than interactive challenges. You can take a picture of yourself and implant it into the game as an avatar which is a neat touch, but ultimately I stuck to the game's other modes instead. Still, the multiplayer challenges are even more races that you can choose to do outside of the Championship, and you can earn a pretty penny by doing them.

IMG_1738Customization is king in 2K Drive, as you have the option to change just about every facet of your racing experience. Whether that's a new paint job or even hood ornaments for your first-person behind-the-wheel view is up to you, just know that it's going to cost you quite a bit of currency to do so.

So about that currency: there's been a lot of conflicting reports as to whether or not 2K Drive is a freemium game. Well, it is, and it isn't. The game does have timers, but they are not hard timers. As you drive a particular car, it wears down -- like a piece of equipment in an RPG. When it gets to a certain point, you need to repair it with star currency before you can race it. It sounds terrible right?

Except I never had to "wait" at any point, because the game doles out so many stars, especially if you win. While the star cost could have been astronomical for repairs to entice people to pay out their ears, it's actually pretty fair, and all you have to do to avoid timers is keep racing, and earning stars -- that's it. Once you have a few cars under your belt you probably won't even notice it. In fact, I had such an over-abundance of stars that I could use a one-time boost every other race, still afford my repairs, and bank a decent amount in general.

The other potential freemium trap is locked content. You start with enough coins to buy one car, then eventually earn more -- but if you want, you can pay for coins and get them right away. This actually didn't bother me too much, because I only had to play for roughly an hour to earn enough coins to buy the third best car in the entire game. Once again, like earning stars to repair your car, if you keep playing, you will keep earning. You can also pay $9.99 on top of the entry fee to unlock practically everything on offer right now if you want. The IAPs are obtrusive, but if you actually race consistently rather than stare at them, you'll earn enough to avoid them.

At the end of the day, despite having to wade through some arguably murky IAP waters, 2K Drive is a ton of fun. It would have been a much stronger experience if it was just a premium game out of the gate, but despite a ton of confusion as to how you're supposed to actually unlock all the content, racing fans will most likely enjoy it.

TouchArcade Rating

  • dribblejam

    Everything seems really slow to me in this game. Especially the menu. Also, it's very confusing to get around. Other than that, could be a great game.

    • dribblejam

      It also did not take the throne from Real Racing 3 IMO.

  • islesfan

    This is absolute garbage when compared to NFSMW, Asphalt 8 (or 7 for that matter) or RR2. They have nerve charging so much for a freemium game. After NBA 2K13 and XCOM, I bought this far too quickly. I expected better of 2K and this was a major let down. If it were free, I'd give it two stars. At $7, it gets no stars!

    • Bytebrain

      If you'd bothered to read the review, you wouldn't be calling this game a "freemium" game in disguise.
      If the reviewer was able to buy the third best car in the game after one hour of playing, it's very clear you don't need to buy any IAP's at all.

      • islesfan

        Why? Just because its relatively easy to earn, you have to earn or pay to play. If you're an ace, then you'll never have to pay anything. I you aren't a pro, you'll hit a timer. No game that costs $7 should have any timer period. That's freemium in disguise. I did bother to read the misguided reviewer, but I disagreed with him. Da comerade, I disagreed. I do hope you won't send me to the gulag for disagreeing. Meanwhile, if I can save anyone else from wasting money on this trash, I'll keep doing my part.

      • yaboyrasp

        Ok I can understand if your having trouble earring currency or winning races but to call the reviewer misguided because he had a different experience than you is a little stupid if u ask me.

      • https://weheartit.com/cantst0pfallinginL0ve ⭐沛霖⭐㊗

        Umm . I reckon if you even bought the game , the repairing timer ain't trying to charge you real cash like real racing 3 did ! U can just leave it and it will repair overtime OR spend the superstars u earned in every match / laps / stunt

  • TheGrimCreeper

    It's the worst $6.99 I've spent.

  • Stephen Staver

    The real question is how does it compare to Real Racing 3? If "there's tons of IAP but it's not necessary since you earn such and such while playing", tell me what is compelling about the game to make it worth $7 while Real Racing 3 is free?
    I'm always looking for a good racing game, but with Need for Speed Most Wanted, Real Racing 3, and Asphault 8 all installed on my iPad at the same time right now, I really need a good reason for yet another racing game. So how does it compare?

    • wedge598

      I'm very happy with this review. I was worried because this game does aim to be more simulation than arcade racer so getting the hang of the cars takes a little patience and understanding of the vehicles weight and grip levels. For a racing simulation buff who tends to favor the Forza type of game this is a great mobile version.

      RR3 offers a similar but slightly less intense driving model so if you like that title you'll likely find this one pretty easy to come to grips with.

      What this title offers beyond RR3 is more customization. You can put your face on the driver, change the drivers gloves, suit and helmet with about a dozen options for each. Add dashboard or rear view mirror dangly items and choose from a bunch of different rim styles and paint colors. All these items cost either stars or coins both of which are easy to obtain, the former more so than the latter.

      It also offers a bunch more game modes: such as: off road racing, formula car racing, salt flat rocket car racing, knock over boxes points scoring, car soccer as well as all the RR3 game types.

      It also offers a photo mode where you can place you favorite car at a location and take pictures.

      The front page also has a news section for recent car related stories just to keep you up to date on what's happening in the car world.

      On the down side the games car selection is pretty limited with only 25 or so cars and limited to the basic brands of Ford, Chevy, Dodge, McLaren and Nissan.

    • Elkniwcire

      I have been an avid RR3 player the last month or so and was really looking forward to this game, hoping it would be a premium version of RR3. However, it just isn't. There is more variety, but RR3 is far superior when it comes to graphics, physics, controls, and that feeling of racing a powerful high speed car. 2k is fun yes, but it just plain isn't as good as RR3. Yes, RR3 has an annoying IAP model, but it is an extremely solid racing title. In 2k Drive you trade quality for less IAPs (less, not zero). I really wanted to like this game, but it just isn't on the same level of quality (or fun)

  • PresidentZer0

    Why is there no alternate controls? I HATE tilt

    • wedge598

      There are, just go to settings and change it.

      • https://weheartit.com/cantst0pfallinginL0ve ⭐沛霖⭐㊗

        I wonder all these people bashing the game here , are they even tried or own the game ?

    • xzeldax3

      I seriously despise having to use a mini steering wheel with my left thumb. The best racing controls (IMO) are where you tap the left or right sides of the screen to turn, and tap the center to brake.

      • yaboyrasp

        That doesn't sound good to me...but maybe cuz I always use tilt in racing games for a more immersive play through

      • Elkniwcire

        I hear ya man. The steering wheel touch controls are extremely difficult to work with. If you hate tilt, I agree that the tap method is superior. However, after being a long-time tap-to-steer player, I switched to tilt a few weeks ago for one reason alone: manual acceleration. Once you get passed the hurdle of getting used to tilt (and trust me, you will), having manual acceleration will give you far more control in any racer. Give a solid try and you may like it.

      • wedge598

        No, the best controls are tilt steering as they will give you the most precision and best simulate and actual steering wheel. If you really like button steering you have bought the wrong game as this one will be too tough for you.

  • Jake7905

    This game looks as if it was designed to be a freemium game in the mold of 'Real Racing 3', with an in-game currency system that feels out of place in a $7 game. The in-game currency costs were lowered and the rewards were increased to neutralize the IAP, but the game's design is awkward and unfriendly.

    • VirtualBoyFreak

      We can call it white, yellow, black or green, but at the end of the day it's the same: timers you have to avoid more or less easily. And the result of this is that you end up racing thinking more about the timers if you lose rather than enjoying the game itself.

      After reading the review and all the comments from here and the TA thread I'm not convinced about this one, not at all. I find the paying model of Asphalt 8 more acceptable: $1 entry fee and $X for car packs. Even though some car packs have crazy prices which you'd probably never buy, you don't have timers that slow you from playing or force you to spend currency to avoid them.

      • Jake7905

        I completely agree, in fact I think A8 is the best racer (arcade or simulation) on the App Store.

      • https://weheartit.com/cantst0pfallinginL0ve ⭐沛霖⭐㊗

        Umm . I reckon if you even bought the game , the repairing timer ain't trying to charge you real cash like real racing 3 did ! U can just leave it and it will repair overtime OR spend the superstars u earned in every match / laps / stunt which u will NEVER run out of it

    • Elkniwcire

      I read an article about this game on another site and it looks like it was originally released in other countries as a freemium. The site suggested that after the success of Xcom, 2k decided to turn this into a premium game and tweaked it. That would explain why it feels like a freemium game, but isn't quite one. I apologize but I do not have a link. I do not remember where I read this.

  • Zeldaniac

    I think you meant the throne of Real Racing 2.

    • GR3NADE

      No, he really meant RR3, becouse RR2 is way better than RR3 (premium model, multiplayer, replays,...)

  • Jzracin

    Why is everyone complaining this is a good game just because you have to work a little bit harder to win doesnt mean its a bad game its a simulation game so cars handle more realistically and physics play a big part also just like he said you can turn off some of the assist to make it manageable

  • pointaken47

    I downloaded it for free way before it was announced. Haven't touched it since. My first impressions were it looks like GT Racing Academy Free+ (itself a clone of Gran Turismo) but with better graphics and tracks

  • lepke

    It doesn't deserve that rating, feels like all racers are 5/5 but obviously that isn't the case.

  • dekon

    4 stars? What have you been Smoking Chris?

    • wedge598

      Chris has not been smoking anything. Chris has obviously spent some time in the past with a good racing simulator like Forza, Gran Tourismo, or one of the high end PC sims. He therefore understands the complex physics in the driving model and the patience that's required to master it.

      All you people weened on the Need for Speed or Asphalt games don't seem to understand that those games wildly exaggerate the speed and grip of the cars to give you a cheap thrill. A real simulation, which 2k Drive strives to emulate, has much more realistic vehicle weight and grip which means you can't dive bomb a turn like you are used to. Cars will understeers and oversteer easily, concepts that don't exist in those arcade racers.

      • dave alberto

        I take it you work for 2k then

  • worldcitizen1919

    Most realistic racing simulation on ios. If you want real physics and a true racing game which makes you use your SKILL then get this. If, however you don't care for skill or proper physics and simulation then the unrealistic RR3 is what you should play.

    Its true. RR3 gives you a cheap thrill but I found it no challenge and boring. 2K Drive on the other hand only rewards good driving.

  • marc0313

    So, if I have RR3, hacked. Is this worth it? Or should I just wait for a price drop..

    • Catacul

      Ban hammer says hi.

      • marc0313

        Hello to you too, Mr. Hammer.

  • blakedaking

    Skip. I do not want to pay $6.99 and have to worried about buying gems or jewels or whatever they try to sell in game. I can understand a free game doing this but not one that cost $7

    • Wedge598

      I understand the turn off with the freemium-like unlock structure but having played it for a few days with about 4-5 hours into the game I'm already up to level 30 and have gathered enough of the star currency to never have to worry about needing to buy any and enough of the coin currency to buy 7 cars already. Around level 30 the leveling does slow down some but you still gather 6-10 coins with each level so it's only a matter of playing more to get the money for a new car (which costs between 30-60 coins on average). On the whole it feels more like a game mechanic than an attempt to get you to spend money. The IAP seem to be there just as a courtesy for players that want to spend a few bucks to fast track the process. Most players should find that they will accumulate all the "money" they need just working their way through the events.

      • dave alberto

        Yep deffo a 2k employee

      • Wedge598

        Nope, just a structural engineer living in New England with his wife and kids who happens to be passionate about racing games. Sorry but your psychic powers are on the fritz today.

    • https://weheartit.com/cantst0pfallinginL0ve ⭐沛霖⭐㊗

      Umm . I reckon if you even bought the game , the repairing timer ain't trying to charge you real cash like real racing 3 did ! U can just leave it and it will repair overtime OR spend the superstars u earned in every match / laps / stunt which u will NEVER run out of it , so quit bullshitiing on this game

  • dave alberto

    I've bought this game and wished to god I hadn't its rubbish. The only one here who thinks its great obviously works for 2k!!!

  • Rick Moore

    After playing RR3 for about 250 hrs, i am having a hard time getting used to this game. I bought it mainly because I am sick of what EA/FM keep doing to RR3 with every update. My two big gripes with this game are speed and control. Speed: The whole game just feels SLOW. the cutscenes are way too long, everything takes forever to load, and the menus are difficult to get through. It's pretty confusing overall. Control: The steering and braking in this game are on the side of comical. Try and bake hard before a corner and you lock up the wheels and come to a stop almost instantly. In any car. Try and steer out of a oversteer or understeer bungle and you'll find yourself weaving back and forth, bumping into pretty much everything in site. I could never find a comfortable setting for the steering sensitivity. After a few times around a track I could start to pick it up, but it's too much work to have fun. I wish I had waited to buy this game...because I probably wouldn't have.

    • Wedge598

      Rick, check out the discussions in the Forums on this game. Me and several others provide a lot of detail about the game that we've discovered while playing through it. And no, we don't work for 2K. We just happen to like what the game is attempting to do.

      • Rick Moore

        Awesome! I was wondering if there was a forum for this game. That was the main reason I got online looking for info. Now that Firemonkeys has shut down the RR3 forums, that community is suffering.

        Do you happen to have the link for the forums?

      • wedge598

        Right here on this site. Go to the hot games area and click on this game. Then open the comments section.

  • https://weheartit.com/cantst0pfallinginL0ve ⭐沛霖⭐㊗

    i bought this game today and have been playing for like 20 hours

    And gosh, second opinion to follow? It is so frustrating to see a game that has been developed with so much labor and attention to details, receives so much unjust criticism.

    Once you have turned off all the driving assists, the cars feel like the real deal and are absolutely lovely to drive. You must find a good balance between pushing the gas and the brakes as those curves come and go, or otherwise things will not end well, just like in a real car.

    When you damage your car too much it must be repaired, and yes there are timers for that. But you can pay off the timers with STARS that you EARN while driving, and you EARN a ridiculously large amount of stars. You EARN them even if you LOSE the race.

    The graphics aren't as lovely as say asphalt 8. I agree. But I feel that they are still very good and their quality doesn't reduce the sensation of actually being there and driving the car.

    I suspect the quality of the graphics has been reduced to make room for calculating the demanding physics of the simulation.

    I don't get it why so many are complaining about the MENU. They are just fine. and what a beautiful & brilliant design , it work just like a magazine while u keep scrolling down for the car news and mixed with daily challenge / weekly challenge so u could just click & have a go when u are done reading ..............and on the social aspect ... its so good that i could tweet the article & news i interested to my friends !!!!

    The game is so rich in contents that it's ridiculous. I mean for God's sake, in some levels you have to run away from an attack helicopter that is trying to lock on you as a target!

    But I think I understand what has happened to this game. It has fallen victim for a sort of "confidence syndrome". Other games such as Asphalt 8 have spread the idea among their players that they are really good at racing games; the best of the best. And then they turn to this game thinking they are the real deal. But instead they just find themselves caught up in a lot of frustration as they bump into those curves.

    And I think we all know how patient the average gamer can be... a pity that this scares off other more serious gamers that could really appreciate and love this game.

2K DRIVE Reviewed by Chris Carter on . Rating: 4