“We will not be exchanging details,” snarls Maximum Car - shortly after Stuff unsportingly smashes a competitor into a railing, before drifting round a corner, blowing up the race leader with a carefully aimed missile, and zooming past the chequered flag.
“Generic congratulations comment,” it bellows at the end of this successful bout of racing carnage.
Maximum Car is what happens when you reimagine Burnout for smartphones, remove whatever finesse that game had, and proclaim the result as a “videogame where stuff explodes and is really cool”. You belt along snaking roads, smashing your chunky car into other chunky cars, revelling in the mindless destruction of it all.
Everything’s stripped back, so acceleration is automatic, and braking is banned.
You prod left and right to turn in that direction, and stab the opposite side of the screen to start drifting when already angled across the causeway in a rakish manner. Vertical swipes to the left and right sides of the screen activate missiles and boost.
Every track is a long, winding road where you play chicken with oncoming traffic, and overtake or obliterate the nine rival drivers who start ahead of you. Encounter and wreck the same car enough times and it’ll unlock for purchase.
Drive like a maniac and you’re awarded with further gruff commentator outbursts (“I have a reading age of six!”), gold coins to power up your vehicle (recommended once you get to grips with things, since the game is entertainingly bonkers at high speed), and a general feeling of smugness when you do particularly well.
From the off, Maximum Car is Maximum Daft. When you’re belting along and a gravel-throated voice barks “Sometimes I talk for no reason!” just before you run over a tiny remote controlled car with your surprisingly swift and chunky VW camper van, you can’t help but grin.
And it’s worth noting that Maximum Car isn’t stupid – this isn’t over-the-top macho gaming for people who go GRRR! but instead more a satire, albeit a very enjoyable and screwball one.
It is, however, repetitive. There’s little variation in play, and even the optional missions (such as drifting a set distance) don’t help, since they never vary within each of the five zones. Shaking them up a bit more would have been smart.
But as an old-school, high-octane, adrenaline-pumping arcade racer, to fill odd moments rather than hours-long sessions, this mobile effort slams its foot down and speeds towards Maximum Fun.