Back in the days, when solid internet connections were not so widely available, we would play games in multiplayer on the same couch or by getting a friend or more around the computer: the same keyboard and mouse, each with their own controller… you get the idea. Well, today there is not much need for this, but every once in a while you might feel the need for some competitiveness against a friend that’s right in front of you. If that’s the case, Carmachia for iOS is the game for you.
In the game, you choose a car and go into an arena head to head against your friends. With a top down perspective and really difficult to handle vehicle, it’s all about the arcade fun and nothing else. Your car is always going forward at some pretty high speed and you can only steer it left or right and use the reverse button that acts like a brake or, if you hold it pressed, actually gets your car in reverse. There is a lot of randomness involved and it’s not always fun.
The fact that the cars are so difficult to control and maintaining a simple route is impossible brings all the chaos to the table. It’s not a matter of skill so much as it is a matter of pure luck on when the winner is to be decided: you roam around in circles, collecting powerups and weapons and you fire them pretty randomly, hoping that your opponent is crazy enough to play chicken with your missile. It’s fun at first when you are both laughing trying to control the cars, but everything becomes pretty frustrating.
There are some incentives to keep playing Carmachia, though, with a ton of cars waiting to be unlocked as you play, just like new power-ups (weapons, repair kits and nitro boosts) and new arenas. However, when it comes to new cars it appears that they only look different and don’t have any other notable differences. At least the game doesn’t offer any specifics, which again is frustrating. You can see that some vehicles are easier to steer than others, but it’s a trial and error thing here.
The biggest problem of Carmachia is that it has no viable single player mode and can’t be played online in multiplayer. So you either play it against a friend or not play it at all. There is a “survival” mode where you are challenged to shoot at crates and drive in required sequences but that is not rewarding.
Overall, the game itself is not really rewarding. It is fun at first but the limited number of opponents and the limited differences between the vehicles make each play the same. The number of power-ups is decent to offer some variety and the control scheme works well with the game (even though controlling your car is a different story), so for some people this might work. For me it was just one of those games that you realize they have potential but they still need a few updates to make them worthwhile.