There are games that are absolutely stillborn upon birth, and there are others that come into the world with a bit of potential, only to be weighed down by links, advertisements, and in-game purchases. Fast & Furious 6: The Game has beautiful graphics, and although it doesn't hold a candle to Real Racing 3, is it a pleasant enough experience?
The first strike against this racing game is the idea that it's a free download. Although it doesn't cost a penny to actually have it on your device, after losing a few races your vehicle may get damaged or need an immediate upgrade. Kabam describes the need for a new vehicle as a "beginner's sale," where you receive a 1991 BMW free with your first gold purchase. The cheapest way of playing the game is coughing up $2.99 to receive 30 Fast & Furious coins, and the purchase will net you the car, which technically means the ride isn't free at all! I'd love to show you a beautiful cut scene photo from the game, but let's just go with an image that's more apropos - the in-game, gold purchase store.
The actual racing, though nothing to write home about, is diverting enough to pass the time. All you need to do is tap on your screen to start up the nitrous and swipe your finger on the right side of your device to shift. There are also icons for drifting your vehicle and starting up your car once the race begins, and since it's a simple tap and swipe mechanism the main challenge of the game is having the right timing when racing against your opponent. For example, if you shift at the wrong time you should lose most of your races. Once you nail down the rhythms of racing and drifting, all you need is to earn money to upgrade your car or just buy another high end vehicle. It's all rudimentary stuff, and when you're not inundated with freemium based distractions, Fast & Furious 6: The Game isn't half bad.
Just when you're about to forgive the developers for having to purchase a car, the game throws a few more hitches to keep things annoying. The biggest sin is that after several races or challenges, the car's fuel tank gets empty, which means you'll have to wait several minutes to play. To capitalize on gamers with patience issues, the makers also give the option of paying currency for the refuel or posting the need for gas on Facebook. Sorry Ludacris, but I'm not telling the social networks I'm lost in free-to-play hell.
Game Center integration is well thought out, as there are 67 achievements available. Attaining all these goals will take time, since some of your repairs and upgrades will also take at least several minutes to kick in. If you're not willing to shell out more money or post your accomplishments on Facebook, waiting for paint to dry is a big part of this disappointing experience. If you're a glass half full kind of person, take a few screenshots and look at the pretty cars in the interim.
I will continue to play Fast & Furious 6: The Game just to rack up my Game Center score, but putting down my iPad every several minutes to wait for another race or finish up a repair is downright ridiculous. Hopefully the movie lands on the right track, since this title will drift into obscurity before summer's end.