As you’d expect with a console game on mobile, there are some sacrifices in Need for Speed: Most Wanted. The open world is replaced by a menu-based system that shows you your next available race in various urban locations on the map of Fairhaven, the town you’ll be tearing up in Most Wanted. There are 10 tracks in total, each with a number of unlockable races for you to take on.
These vary from street races against other nitrous-loving cop-botherers to checkpoint races against the clock. These are interspersed with one-on-one Most Wanted races that see you taking on other drivers to move up the ranks as the best driver in Fairhaven. Beat the driver above you and you’ll move up a spot and unlock their car in the garage, though you’ll have to raise the cash to buy it.
When you start up the game for the first time, you’re thrown straight into a training race. Motion steering is turned on by default, but if you prefer you can select on-screen controls. Nitrous boosts are dished out by swiping forward, drifting around corners is done by touching the right hands side of the screen while turning and braking (pah!) is activated by touching the left.
Gameplay is fast, furious and exhilarating, with the slow-motion camera views of cop takedowns particularly satisfying. There are frustrations though – difficulty spikes can make it tough to proceed past certain points in the game without having the cash to buy extras or to upgrade your car. This can see you re-playing races you’ve already done to get more cash or – as the game helpfully reminds you – buying in-game credit from the shop.
This is a model we’re used to seeing in freemium games, but feels a little out of place in a game that costs $6, and can make you question why those difficulty spikes are really there.
That aside, Need for Speed: Most Wanted is packed to the spoilers with enviable cars, thrilling races and exciting gameplay. Add to that stunning graphics and an excellent soundtrack, and you have a superb mobile racing experience that will have fans of the Need for Speed series and newbies alike hooked for hours.