Confession time. When CSR Racing was released late last month for Windows Phone and Windows 8 devices my first thought was, "Joy, another racing game". I then installed CSR Racing and my first impressions immediately flew out the window.
CSR Racing is the older Drag Racing Windows Phone game but with Asphalt 8: Airborne level graphics. The game offers you a career in city street drag racing where you can buy and race over ninety licensed cars, customize their appearance and upgrade everything from the engine to the license plate.
CSR Racing is a universal app, available for low-memory Windows Phones and supports cloud saves where you can switch between devices without losing your game progress. Add a multi-player mode to go along with the single player story line and CSR becomes a solid racing game for Windows Phone and Windows 8.
The first order of business with CSR Racing is to allow the game to sign you into the game automatically with your Live ID. This will allow you to cloud save your gaming progress and switch between your Windows Phone and a Windows 8 device without skipping a beat. From there you are taken to brief tutorial on the game play that covers the basics. The tutorial is acted out as a test to prove you are worthy to compete in the street racing circuit. Once you pass this test, you will start your career.
CSR Racing has five racing families that you will have to defeat to prove yourself as top dog. There are also ladder races to compete in and multi-player racing where you compete against other CSR Racing gamers.
Menus are mostly straightforward with your opening menu offering options to view your player profile, check in on your achievements, access the gaming options and move on to the gaming garage. Options cover music and sound effects levels as well as ways to get free gas, restore purchases, reset the game, contact the developers and view the gaming credits.
Speaking of gas, to participate in game play it will cost you some petrol. A gas meter sits at the top of the screen and as you race, one of the ten units will be consumed. You can refill your gas tank with cash you earn, or the tank will refill itself with time. The gas tank can be upgraded via in-app purchase and free gas refills are available by liking or following the game on Facebook or Twitter.
The garage menu has options to visit the car dealer to buy a new car, upgrade a car, customize a car, view your vehicle inventory and head over to the race menu. Upgrades cover tires, transmission, engine, turbo, intake, nitrous and body adjustments. Customizations include changing the car's paint job or customizing the license plate. Upgrades and customizations are not free and will cost you a little cash or gold coins that are earned through racing.
The racing menu is tier based with four types of races available, which includes:
- A regulation race where you compete against a randomly generated opponent
- A Crew Battle where you race your way through one of the five racing families
- A Ladder Race which is a multi-stage event where race against progressively tougher opponents
- A multi-player race where you challenge other CSR Racing players
A quick note on the multi-player races is that CSR Racing is also available on iOS and Android platform, which increases the pool of opponents significantly.
Some of these races require you to reach a particular experience or upgrade level and some require you to beat a specific crewmember. The regulation race is a great way to build up your experience and bank account, all of which will help open up these other racing modes.
Regardless of the racing mode, the game screen is consistent throughout CSR Racing. Races are conducted from a side view. At the start of the race, you will have a steering wheel and gas pedal displayed on the screen. A gear shifter, RPM gauge, gear indicator and speed gauge is displayed on the steering wheel.
Prior to the start of the race, you will need to rev your engine by tapping the gas pedal. Once the race starts, the gas pedal disappears and your acceleration is done automatically. You will have to shift gears as you race just as the RPM gauge starts to max out. On-screen hints will appear to alert you when to shift gears and timing is key to be successful.
Shift too soon or late, your car will slow down ever so slightly to allow your opponent to gain ground. Win or lose, you will earn some cash (obviously, you make more cash for winning) that can be used to upgrade your car.
Races only take a few seconds to complete, making CSR Racing a nice choice if you need a quick gaming fix. The game is also slightly addictive making it nicely suited for longer gaming sessions should the need arises.
With regards to drag racing games for our Windows Phone and Windows 8 devices, it will be very hard to beat CSR Racing. Graphics are excellent and game play challenging. Even though it uses a token system, you do not feel restricted in how long you can play the game in one sitting with all the upgrades, customizations and purchases to keep you busy.
The game plays out really nice on a Windows Phone and fantastically from a Windows 8 tablet. I like the cloud saves but wish they were more seamless or discrete. Every time you launch the game from a different device, it recognizes the saved game and gives you the option to restore the saved game or resume the locally saved game. It's not perfect but saves you from having to maintain two gaming versions.
Overall, CSR Racing is one of the best racing games available in the Windows Phone and Windows Store. If you try CSR Racing, let us know what you think of CSR Racing in the comments below. Also, remember to rate the game in the Stores to offer feedback to the developer on their work.