Climbing inside of a gigantic monster truck is the stuff kids dream about when they see one at a monster truck rally or car show. These giant behemoths can run over anything that gets in their way and would be the perfect vehicle for Southern California driving. Now you can live out your dream of driving a giant monster truck with Offroad Legends, a time trial game that unfortunately offers more racing than it does crushing.

Don't be fooled by the look of giant monster trucks in Offroad Legends. This is a time-trial based physics racer where the goal is to get your four-wheel drive vehicle to the goal line as quick as possible. There are 56 tracks total but you have to unlock them as you progress in the game unless you want to unlock them all for an additional buck. Three game modes are available but I'll be focusing most of this review on Career Mode.

The game starts off with Warmup levels; Monster Warmup, Truck Warmup and 4X4 Warmup. Each level features different challenges such as getting across the finish line in the fastest time possible, or landing on a target to complete the stage. Surprisingly, there's no car crushing in a game featuring monster trucks which was a bit disappointing. Not to worry, the game has plenty of obstacles and ramps on each level to try and slow you down.

Two controls types are available -- touch or tilt. Tilt controls are worthless so I recommend using the touch controls which seemed to respond nicely. Gas and brake are on the lower right, while left and right buttons are on the lower left of the screen. When your vehicle gets airborne (and you'll be catching a ton of air) use the left and right buttons to adjust your vehicle's angle when you land. Hit the ground too hard and your wheels will fall off, killing your progress. One thing that annoyed me about the game was if your wheels do fall off, you have to manually restart the level. Granted, on a front wheel drive vehicle you can keep rolling if your rear tires are gone, but I've only been able to get across the goal line once with two tires and that was a last second miracle. If you flip your vehicle over, hit a lava patch or take too much damage, your truck explodes and you have to try again.

The physics are pretty loose, but you can tune your truck in the garage. Adjusting the radius, length, damping and stiffness could be the key to getting you past a difficult level. And you're going to be replaying the levels quite a bit. Because there's no tiny line on the top of the screen letting you know how far you are from the goal, you have to just pray that you're going to make it in time. If you don't cross the finish line in the time set, then you lose one of three stars you can earn for each stage. If you take too long and can't cross in the three different times given, then you have to start the stage over. Keeping an eye on the upper left part of the screen where the timer is located is distracting because you can easily crash if you're not paying attention.

Your truck goes flying when you hit a ramp and launch yourself into the air. Nitro pickups are scattered on the track and boost your speed when climbing a monstrous hill. It can be tough to brake in the game, and you'll find that each vehicle behaves differently. Some levels are really frustrating and the fun factor of going airborne starts to go away when you stick a landing only to have your front tires fall off.

The graphics are nice but after a while the levels all start looking the same, even the snow ones. The sound effects are good but the rock/funk music is pretty terrible. You have a variety of cars that become available to you in the garage, but you can only pick certain ones in certain stages. If you make it to the Monster, Truck and 4X4 Pro circuits, you can only choose those vehicle types for each circuit which was kind of disappointing but understandable. You can earn extra vehicles like a cool VW Bus if you like their game on Facebook. Leaderboards, badges and Gamecenter achievements are available to earn and the game has a page of statistics that are available. Why you would need to know how many Nitro canisters you've picked up I have no idea.

For a buck, Offroad Legends is a decent distraction for truck junkies. The physics need work and you'll question why sometimes a landing rewards you and other times it punishes you, but you'll catch plenty of air and the game is pretty challenging. Just don't be shocked if the novelty wears off and you find that the tracks become more frustrating than fun.


App Store Link: Offroad Legends for iPhone & iPad | By Dogbyte Games | Price: $.99 | Version: 1.0 | 66.9 MB | Rating 4+

6.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating