Oyatsukai’s Final Freeway 2R is the sequel to the iOS arcade racer Final Freeway, but, really, that’s not important. This is: If you’re an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad gamer, and have fond memories of plopping quarters into SEGA’s racing classic Outrun, you need to purchase this game. Now. It’s only $0.99.
Final Freeway 2R is Outrun. Or, in order for me to avoid any legal ramifications, it’s a lovingly-crafted Outrun clone. An homage if you will. Just as Outrun set the arcade racing standard in 1986, Final Freeway 2R does so on the iOS platform in 2012. Hyperbole? No. It’s just that damned good.
Like Outrun, Final Freeway 2R features a time limit, red sports car, branching paths, car-flipping wipeouts, and three surprisingly catchy selectable music tracks, but Oyatsukai adds tweaks that makes its racer stand out (a bit) from SEGA’s. You can, for example, play an audio file stored on your iDevice. Seriously, you havent’ lived until you’ve cruised the countryside to “Interstate Love Song.” There are also three selectable characters who each have their own racing skill set, thus adding variety. Although there’s only one car, you can apply one of three paint jobs so you aren’t stuck with the default red. Variety.
You drive by tilting your iPad or using onscreen gas, brake, and steering wheel controls. I preferred the latter option as holding the iPad directly in front of my face and tilting it from side to side felt rather goofy. But the driving is good. Really good. The car handling is quite tight, and turning corners at high-speed proved an effortless affair despite the touchscreen interface.
Just as Outrun set the arcade racing standard in 1986, Final Freeway 2R does so on the iOS platform in 2012. It’s just that damned good.
The checkpoint situation is better handled here than in Outrun where, if time runs out when you’re just short of the checkpoint, you have to live with the fact that you were just a second short of continuation glory. When time expires in Final Freeway 2R, your car drifts until momentum brings it to a stop, which means that you still have a shot to cross the line. This seemingly minor tweak can play a huge role in close contests.
Final Freeway 2R duplicates Outrun‘s 16-bit visuals, albeit with far brighter colors and less pixelation. The cars, structures, and environments are remarkably clean–maybe too much so for retro fans who prefer the “raw” sprite look. The sense of speed is impressive, although the game doesn’t appear to move at the same clip as SEGA’s racer.
There’s no question that Final Freeway 2R is an unabashed Outrun clone, but it copies that special brand of arcade racing so well that you can’t help but to smile at the result. Final Freeway 2R isn’t just one of the best iOS racing games, it’s one of the best iPad games. As such, it easily takes home a 2D-X Excellence Award.