Need for Speed Shift

Need for Speed Shift

Jan 28, 2011

Need for Speed has become one of gaming’s most venerable franchises since its inception back in 1994, all the way to its popular heights of today, when it’s getting yearly iterations that regularly top the sales charts. The racing series has also made a major expansion away from just the consoles on to other platforms, including mobile gaming, which now includes Android. Need for Speed Shift, an adaptation of the 2008 simulation-focused Need for Speed series entry, has you racing throughout the world, competing in events to earn money to buy cars and upgrades. The events include more than just typical sprints to the finish, there are also solo time trial events, Eliminator events where the car in last place at the end of the lap is eliminated, and Drift events where your goal is to drift through corners as much as possible to get points.

First off, it has to be said that Need for Speed Shift is a very fine looking game. The cars and courses are all rendered spectacularly, and the game runs smoothly on the Galaxy S. You can buy new cars, customize them, upgrade them; all standard racing game features that are included here. The game also rewards you for completing objectives besides getting first place, like breaking lap records and never going off of the course; completing these optional objectives can help you progress through the game faster with the extra stars they award you towards unlocking new events.

The problem with Need for Speed Shift, really, is the tedium it exhibits. It forces you to slog through events, repeating them until you amass enough money to buy a decent car or decent upgrades, or until you pick up enough stars to get to the next event. The game also makes little to no mention of the fact that you can upgrade your stock vehicle unless you go exploring in the “My Cars” menu that is somehow completely seperate from the Career menu. The game makes you almost a slave to the racing line it exhibits; the game feels less like a racing game and more like “follow the leader” because of it. The drift technique was only implemented so they could frustrate you with it in specific drifting events – in real races it is all but useless. Pretty much the best way to describe who this game is for is the fact that you can buy garish spoilers and tires for your car while listening to a random selection of poppy auto-tuned hip-hop.

This is a game that is built on a solid foundation. The engine is impressive looking and technically sound, but the actual content built on top of it feels very iffy at this point. With some refining of the game’s structure to keep it interesting and engaging, this could be a game that really shines. As it is right now, it’s a solid racing game, and probably the best option on Android if you need a 3D racing fix, but unless you’re dying for a racing game on your phone, you might want to hold off until a later entry in the series is released.

Need for Speed Shift Rundown

Graphics/Sound - One of the best looking Android games available, but make sure to mute the music, unless you like Auto-tuned hip-pop.
Controls - Cell phones with accelerometers were made for racing games, and Need for Speed Shift is no exception...except for wonky drift controls.
Gameplay - Technically sound, but often finds itself lacking interesting things to do.
Replay Value - There's plenty to do here, there's just not a lot of interesting things to do here.
Overall - There's a great engine at work here - they just need to find the right content and progression layout to make it interesting and engaging. Maybe next time.

App available on the Google Play Store »

Carter Dotson
Carter Dotson, editor of Android Rundown, has been covering Android since late 2010, and the mobile industry as a whole since 2009. Originally from Texas, he has recently moved to Chicago. He loves both iOS and Android for what they are - we can all get along!
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