Nano Rally Review for iPhone/Touch

The idea of racing a tiny car around the kitchen table or other environments sounds like a really fun concept.  I have been a huge fan of racing games my entire gaming life, but have not found the iPhone to be a great platform for these games.  Nano Rally was released just over a week ago and adds a cheap and interesting twist on the driving genre.

Nano Rally is a cute and attractive game.  The idea is fun and the tracks have a ton of obstacles.  This game has lots of potential, but there are issues (some of which the developers are already working on) that need to be fixed before this is a must have.

Since the game is a Rally, all of the races are time trials.  I prefer racing other vehicles, but the rally format is more suited for this game.  Controlling your tiny vehicle is difficult.  The tracks are fun and challenging, but I encountered a lot of difficulty navigating the courses.  Practice is a must since if you barely hit the wall, the car seems to almost stick to it.  The vehicle will most likely come to a stop and probably require the driver to reverse in order to get back on the track.  This issue killed my lap times.  Almost perfect is not good enough to get a high rank.

As seen in the screen shot, the gas and brake are located on the right side of the screen and the arrows are the steering.  The view is interesting as it feels like the controls turns the environment rather than the car.  In the options tilt steering is available as well as automatic accelerator.  The automatic accelerator did help me to improve my time.  The brake doubles as the reverse.  I was unable to use the brake much as it does not just stop the car, but immediately puts it in reverse.  Going into reverse changes the steering of the car so I often found myself getting off track when braking.  In between races, the acceleration, speed, brakes and handling are adjustable.  When raising one’s ability level, others will go down.

Unfortunately, I was unable to advance past the kitchen stage to to explore the other environments.  It took me several tries to understand the scoring.  Each race gives a ranking among other drivers’ times.  In order to unlock the next environment your rank has to be in the top ten.  This was actually quite the feat!  Just when I thought my times would break the top ten, I would tap the wall or a piece of candy and the car would stop and my chances of advancing would also.  I am hoping the first update will change the time minimums!

This game has potential if the developers are hard at work fixing the control and scoring issues.  A mini car racing game should be very arcade like and quick and easy fun.  I often felt frustrated while playing the game.  Not what I look for in a quick game on my phone while waiting in line or riding a bus.  With better controls and the feeling of a chance of unlocking the new tracks, Nano Rally could become a viral game.  Great idea and nice graphics, lets get some better game play in there and we might have a must have mini game.  Luckily the game is $.99 and can be found here in the app store.

What I like: Driving miniature cars around tables and yards is a cute idea.  There are tons of different obstacles filling the tracks.

What I don’t: Controls create too much frustration and the minimum scores are too difficult.

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About the Author

Travis Ehrlich
Travis is a high school teacher and coach in a small South Texas town. His love for gadgets began at a very early age, and he has been a cross between a jock and a geek for most of his life. He has two boys and a wonderful wife who lets him be a gadget freak. He is a Mac convert and has drank the whole pitcher of Kool-Aid! He is also an avid guitar player and loves the outdoors, especially hunting with both a bow and rifle.