Two of my favorite things about the iPad include just how much you can see on screen at once and how well this increased screen size goes with single-device multiplayer. Danger Derby [$4.99] is a top-down racing game that fully embraces these two strengths of the device. Gameplay is a little on the basic side, but as many developers have proven already with games like NimbleBit’s Omium [99¢], solid local multiplayer can make even the simplest of games can be a ton of fun.
Four game modes are included in Danger Derby. The first is Arcade mode, which throws you in to a four car race. Finishing third or better awards upgrade points that are spent after each race to upgrade the speed, handling and acceleration of your car. Challenge mode is next, which pits you against a single ghost car to race against. Freeplay allows for play on any track with customizable difficulty, lap count, opponent count, and car upgrade levels. A fourth unlockable mirror mode is also available which flips all the tracks and ramps up the difficulty.
Single player is a little lackluster, as the AI opponents seem to just follow standard racing lines and winning races usually just amounts to not making mistakes. I was almost ready to give up on Danger Derby, then I tried multiplayer. When a second player joins the game, a second set of on-screen controls appear on the opposite side of the iPad, allowing both players to play. With a another player in the mix sitting across from you, the game is exponentially more fun as races seem to devolve from just racing around the track as quickly as possible to sabotaging each other.
This gets even more fun in freeplay mode as you ramp the track difficulty up to hard, which adds all kinds of dangerous obstacles. Massive spinning saw blades, barricades that appear and disappear, and huge pits that suck your car in are all included among others. Check out the trailer to see how this all goes together:
If you don’t have someone else to play with, I’m not sure how much fun you will have with Danger Derby. There is progression through difficulty levels and trophies to unlock, but playing through the game unlocking things pales in comparison to just playing freeplay mode with another player. If you’re looking for another great game with fun single device multiplayer on your iPad, consider Danger Derby.