OverVolt: crazy slot cars. Also crazy addictive and difficult!

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Taking the left-field approach to motor racing on your phone is 'OverVolt: crazy slot cars' (sic), a freemium title that offers plenty of challenge and fun - but how's the game pitched in terms of difficulty and freemium 'pay to play'?

I have to confess that, much as I love the real Scalextric car racing:

  • the time to set up tracks and tidy them away again afterwards is way too much work
  • I'm not that good - must be my reflexes

With that in mind, I was eager to try the virtual version, here in OverVolt: crazy slot cars. Would I fare any better?

From the Store description:

Run crazy miniature slot cars in OverVolt! Customize your car, challenge your friends, use the power-UPs, and be the best of the neighbourhood!
Challenge the top of the class! Control your favourite cars through six fantastic scenarios and forty cool tracks of single and multiplayer mode!

• Control your miniature car without letting them fly out of the track
• Create your-own unique car style! Go to the store-dedicated section and shoot a picture of whatever you like! Enjoy your personalized car, playing it and sharing it on you facebook profile!
• Look in the store for all the power-ups you can use during the races
• Choose among more than 25 cars with great styles and characteristics
• Race your friends, challenge them on facebook and share the results climbing the ladder of the rankings!

The game is free-to play including:
• One scenario: ten single player levels
• Three multiplayer matches per day
• Real life car customization features

Not an auspicious start, given that the very first track lets you power round at full throttle without coming off, but don't worry, this is just to lull you into a false sense of confidence. From here on in, you'll be having to back off for almost every corner.

Here's the game in action under my control:

OverVolt screenshot

Hopefully, the 'Premium Package' will be all you need, which seems fair enough...

OverVolt screenshot

One by one, you build up cars and then add power ups - all standard racing/freemium fare...

OverVolt screenshot

The power up system is a bit scatty, it's never entirely clear what you're meant to do or when things have been added to your car....

OverVolt screenshot

The initial free pack of 10 levels/tracks is more than enough to get you going and know whether you want to pay to continue...

OverVolt screenshot

Racing itself is via pressing down on the 'throttle' control and you can view the action from any of five camera viewpoints...

OverVolt screenshot

... including right down on the carpet with the cars!

OverVolt screenshot

The track layouts get progressively more outrageously lavish, with jumps and flyovers...

OverVolt screenshot

Another great layout example...

OverVolt screenshot

The multiplayer mode didn't work well for me, each time I was put on a track solo (presumably to log a time) and then ended up waiting for ages for an opponent to do his bit. Each time, I gave up waiting!

I have to say that either I'm still not very good, or the game gets too hard too quickly, I got stuck on the fifth of the ten initial races and, after 20 tries, and numerous attempts to add magnets and whatever (isn't that cheating?) to my car, I still couldn't win. Leaving me somewhat stranded. Comments welcome if you get further.

The freemium aspects do seem well thought out. There's a 'Premium version' for £1.70 (in the UK) that opens up the remaining 20 levels, unlimited 'multiplayer', 5000 credits to spend on various power ups and customisations, and the chance to create your own car textures. This seems like a fair compromise, though the developer couldn't resist adding in extra, costlier freemium purchases for those with more money than sense(!)

You can download this freemium title here in the Store.

Source / Credit: Windows Phone Store