Review: Carmageddon on Android

First up, a little history about my experience with Carmageddon. I have been playing since this game first came out on PC oh-so-many years ago. In fact I pre-ordered it at my local Electronics Boutique and picked it up ASAP upon release. This game was one that made me proud to own a PC, not a great PC but still, a PC since this was going to probably never be a console title (part 2 did eventually hit consoles in a stilted manner, much like the characters you are running over in the original). The edginess, the pixelated gore and mayhem of the original was unique, there simply was nothing else like Carmageddon available. Now the original is available on Android (has been for awhile) and it is just as over-the-top, gory, pixelated and fun as it was way back when on PC.

Starting out in Carmageddon is tough: you’re stuck with a super-weak, crappy car playing as either Max Damage or Die Anna. As you progress in the game, you upgrade your car into a monstrous destruct-o-mobile death trap on wheels. That is when Carmageddon gets to be REALLY fun.

As you can see from the screen shots, the version of Carmageddon we have on Android, at least since I have not checked out the iOS one yet, is comparable to the 3Dfx version of yesteryear. This is Carmageddon on the go without the need of a powerful, bulky, laptop which was your only choice before. There are modifications to the gameplay such as how it controls. Since most Android devices are touch-only, there are on-screen buttons. If you own a method of playing this with a physical controller such as the JXD line of Android gaming tablets then you are in for a real treat as this plays better than the original PC version when using physical buttons versus a keyboard. Everything is laid out quite well and easy to reach with your thumbs (though physical buttons work so much better if you have the option).

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Anyone that says Carmageddon is just stupid death and mayhem is partially right but they reveal they have not given the game a chance. You can literally play Carmageddon without intentionally running over pedestrians, (though why would you?) and simply complete the race for a quick win (again, why?). You can also win by killing all of the pedestrians on the map, or destroying all of your opponents (my favorite way of proceeding). It’s your choice. Carmageddon is like a sandbox racing game – there is no real set course in how you complete things. The checkpoints have to be hit in order but how you get to them is up to you. Good luck if you plan on eliminating all of the pedestrians on any given level: they range from a few hundred to way too many to bother trying to win that way (though it is grotesquely satisfying when you do).

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Points and additional time in Carmageddon are earned in different ways.  Running over pedestrians, eliminating opponents, and making checkpoints help but there are also barrels scattered around the level that can give useful, and not so useful, power ups, points and time.  Also, doing a “cunning stunt” will result in a bonus (this could be flipping your car multiple times and landing on its wheels, spin outs that result in eliminations, etc).  Carmageddon is almost as deep as you want it to be. How much effort are you willing to put into finding everything?

The physics of Carmageddon are awesome.  Long before we had Angry Birds causing mayhem, we had cars doing it in Carmageddon.  While you won’t be bringing down buildings or “pigs” in Carmageddon, you will be causing more than a bit of destruction with your car.  Flips, spin outs, etc are all awesome to enjoy, or participate in, thanks to the physics engine running everything.  This is something copycats have failed to get right while focusing on gore.  Carmageddon is a labor of love, it shows.

Carmageddon has never apologized for the over-the-top violence and carnage and it doesn’t flinch here. This is Carmageddon on the go, plain and simple. It is the better looking version too – not that jaggy DOS mess we enjoyed back in the day, this actually looks quite cool.

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So far, everything is here. It doesn’t seem to have lost anything in the transition to mobile devices (other than lower resolution devices not being supported). The mayhem, destruction and carnage are all here and accounted for. I just hope we see the next two games in the series hit mobile sooner than later, though the first was the best. Now if we could get multiplayer, maybe in Carmageddon Reincarnation on PC?

Carmageddon by Stainless Steel Games
Platform: Andoid (JXD S7300 used for review)
Genre: Racing, Mayhem, Destruction, Carnage, Plain Fun
Rated: High Maturity (really, have they played it?) 12+ on iTunes
Available now on Google Play and the iTunes App Store.