Cro-Mag Rally, the first kart racer on Xbox Live, is kind of rough around the edges. Chief among its problems are the tilt controls. Currently, the game requires players to hold a virtual accelerator button while also steering by tilting the phone, unlike every other Xbox Live racing game. It’s a clunky control method and hard to get used to. On the plus side, the game is affordable and has easy Achievements.

Citizen 12, the developer who handled the Windows Phone port of Cro-Mag is taking its criticisms seriously. They’ve provided WPCentral with full release notes for the game’s upcoming patch as well as a heartfelt apology to gamers. Yes, this means I can no longer tease them about being tight-lipped.

Head past the break for the full scoop as well as exclusive screens showcasing the game’s new camera angle.

“To everyone out there who tried Cro-Mag for WP7 and found the controls to be, shall we say, lacking: we're sorry.  We screwed up.  During the process of porting Cro-Mag from iOS, we got some feedback from our (MGS) publishing team that the controls were, as I believe one tester said, "stupidly hard".  We put a bunch of effort into addressing that feedback, and the result was the controls system that we launched with.  We thought that was good enough, but the overwhelming customer feedback told us we were wrong.

With some help from Microsoft Game Studios, who have been really supportive of Cro-Mag throughout development, we went back to the drawing board to figure out what was wrong.  One conclusion we came away with is, well, WP7 gamers are not the same as iPhone gamers.  You have, shall we say, "different" standards?  In general, you want tighter controls and a greater range of customization in your settings.

Armed with that knowledge, the forum feedback, and with the help of some dedicated testers, we did a bunch of test versions of different control schemes.  We settled on the version that got the most "thumbs up" from our test team.  The final result is embodied in the Title Update that is working its way through certification right now.  “

Here's what you'll find in 1.1.0:

  • Lower camera for better overall car control
  • Implement auto-accelerate.  You no longer need to hold down F to keep going. (F is still displayed on screen though.)
  • Tweak physics for cars on medium difficulty to make them a little less grippy (easier to drift through turns)
  • Tweak control response curve to make it more "linear" (and thus more responsive at smaller angles off-center)
  • Tweak dynamic range of the sensitivity setting.  The least sensitive setting should require nearly 90 degree rotation of phone to achieve maximum turn.  Most sensitive setting requires only about 30 degrees to achieve maximum turn.  
  • Lower maximum speed for all cars in certain tracks (the more curvy ones) in order to slow down the overall pace (and make them a little easier).  Does not apply to Expert mode.
  • Tweak the wall collision code to prevent certain instances of being able to go off map

“We also investigated some bigger changes, like adding a non-accelerometer-based control option, and doing away with the Forward/Reverse control altogether, but those changes would have taken more time, and our #1 priority was to address the immediate problems ASAP.

To those who already tried Cro-Mag, we hope you'll take another look once the update goes live and let us know what you think of the changes.  If you like them, please feel free to express your opinion in the review area of the Marketplace.  If you still don't like them, let us know what you'd change.  You can reach us at”

The update obviously won’t fix the game’s dated looks (it’s a straight port of an older iPhone game), but it should soon be much easier to play. We’re told the rather off-looking settings screen may be fixed in a future update as well.

Cro-Mag Rally costs $2.99 and can be found here (Zune link), though you may want to wait until the patch it live to purchase it. WPCentral will let you know as soon as it goes live.