CSR Racing is an interesting case study as it has gained a lot of popularity, with a very extensive freemium structure, and limited gaming element. The game is all about drag racing that requires the player to simply tap on screen at the right time to start off the line, and switch gears. There are numerous in-app purchases connected to car upgrades, and new cars all build upon the simple racing mechanic. The style is so popular that Fast & Furious 6: The Game, and Racing Rivals adopted it, including the simple mechanics, and numerous in-app purchases. Car racing will always be popular, but unlike Asphalt 8, Real Racing 3, or 2K Drive, CSR doesn’t actually let you race a car. Again, the car drives automatically in a straight line, and you’re just tapping at the right time.
The Developers are back at it with CSR Classics, which builds upon CSR Racing, but introduces classic cars. The game is made with car enthusiasts in mind to let them collect classic versions of the Chevy Camaro, Ford Mustang, Shelby GT500, Cobra, Mercedes 300 SL, Gran Torino, and many more. The same gameplay style returns, and the main distinction is that you can restore classic cars. You can buy new cars that are essentially rust buckets, and restore them to their former glory in true car enthusiast fashion. The only problem is that restoring is as simple as pressing one button to purchase a restore upgrade, and then see a finer looking car. You continually upgrade your car to be able to handle tougher racing opponents. Each race is based upon the power of your car first, and your timing second. When both cars are equal, then you want to get perfect starts, and shifts to make it to the finish line first. Each race takes about just 15 seconds, and it can be intense if you care about the outcome.
CSR Classics does a poor job of making you care about the outcome, because there’s so much redundancy. Winning a race lets you earn coins to then spend on upgrades to improve your car to win more races, to improve your car some more. It’s a continuous cycle of racing, and upgrading to perform more of the same exact races, but against tougher opponents. The difficulty is reduced with the upgrades to your car, and it’s unknown how many times you can perform the same exact simple task of timing your taps. The racing structure is similar to CSR Racing in that there are regulation races, ladder tournaments, and daily challenges spread across five tiers. The tiers are differentiated by crew battles as you work your way up to battle four members of a crew, and then their overall leader allowing for five boss battles for each of the five tiers. Once you unlock a new tier, you should have enough for a new car, but any other car purchase will require in-app purchases.
The cars are definitely cost prohibitive as most require about $10 real dollars to buy. If the gameplay wasn’t redundant enough, you will need to race a few times in nearly identical races just to earn enough to upgrade to face a new crew member. There’s so much of the same thing happening over, and over that it’s mind boggling anyone could develop such a simple game that offers the same thing thousands of times. You even race in the same exact layout for each race in a given tier, and while the graphics are top notch, they’re always the same. There’s great realism to the cars, and it’s great to see them during a race, but it wouldn’t seem to take much to depict cars going in a straight line against the same backdrop. There are in-app purchases for practically everything whether it’s an upgrade to your engine, a whole new car, a mechanic boost for a one time race, or to fill your gas tank. The game restricts when you can play, and you get about eight races before you’re out of fuel, and need to either wait or spend money.
CSR Classics (Free, Universal) is one to steer clear of unless you like doing the same thing over, and over again with virtually no stimulation all while asking for boatloads of money at all times.