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One of the longest running and most popular racing franchises of all time has recently seen another Android Market release in Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit from Electronic Arts. This is a great call back to the simpler days of Need for Speed and general arcade racers, and it's a lot of fun.
The game is split into two factions with their own campaigns; street racers, and of course, the police. Each side has their own specialized race types, though most have a nearly identical counterpart on the opposite side. As a street racer, you'll participate in regular races, take on speed trap challenges, or just evade the boys in blue. As the Po-Po, you'll run down street racers Burnout style and try to murder them with your car, race to the scene of a crime before time runs out, or even participate in some friendly police force competition in standard street races. What? No one said this game was realistic or anything. Each side can deploy various attacks and abilities, such as: spike traps, oil slicks, targeted EMPs, radar jammers, and more.
In each mode, you'll gain bounty for just about everything you do, which is the equivalent of experience in other games. Keep racking up bounty and unlocking the various in-game achievements, and eventually you'll level up, unlocking a faster and better vehicle. I found the police campaign to be far easier than the street racing one, and after reaching level ten and the third tier of racers, honing my skills all the way, I had a really hard time with the street racing events. I don't know if the cars are worse or the events are just harder, but I recommend going the police route first. If you want, you can always just play in random quick races.
The game's tilt based controls are well done and enjoyable, and I usually hate tilt controls. You can alter the sensitivity if you need to, but there are no alternate control options, which is kind of a bummer, but that's OK. Acceleration is taken care of automatically, though you can manually accelerate by touching the right side of the screen, brake by touching the left, and use a boost by swiping up. You can also pull of 180 turns, but I have absolutely no idea when something like that would ever, ever be useful.
The game has some dated looking graphics, but it still looks great overall. The physics aren't realistic at all and that's the way it should be. The soundtrack is comprised of the usual wide variety of genre's and songs with some good and some completely awful. I could barely hear it over the buzzing engines and police sirens until I turned it up in the options though. This racer isn't as complex as other mobile racers, but I found a great amount of joy in its simplicity. Unleashing the various powers you have on other drivers always feels satisfying too. You can enjoy this old school racing franchise for just seven dollars.