9game: It is hard to explain how a game with poor graphics, annoying music, and completely unoriginal idea can be a good game. However, that is exactly the case with Hill Climb Racing. As a matter of fact, the game is very good, and even more addictive. The whole idea of the game is very simple. You are driving one of the 14 different vehicles, up and down the endless series of hills, holes, and bumps, collecting coins and fuel cans along the way. When the vehicle rolls over, you and your character suffer a “minor setback” – he brakes his neck (literally, there is a distinct sound of neck breaking), and you go back to the start.
I don’t know about you, but when it comes to the “good news/bad news” concept, I prefer to hear the bad news first. So let’s start with the graphics then. It is quite unimpressive – not so smooth, with rather poor colors, it just looks cheap. Don’t get me wrong, it is not that bad; it’s just a shame that many people will not be willing to give this great game a chance, just because of the unappealing graphics. However, the graphics will not bother you for a long time. After 30 to 60 seconds, you will completely forget about the imperfect graphics, because that’s when the music kicks in. Extremely repetitive, combined with frequent flipping of your vehicle, followed by the sound of driver’s neck breaking – it will annoy you immensely.
So if the first impression doesn’t disappoint you too much, and if you continue playing, you are soon going to meet your number one enemy in this game – the physics. Now, that is an interesting part. Everything in this game comes down to one thing – your struggle to keep the vehicle from rolling over. Controls are simple, since you got the accelerator and the brakes – nothing more. Still, that doesn’t mean controlling the vehicle is easy. Not at all. Until you perfectly master the balance between the throttle and the brakes, you are going to roll over a lot. However, when you manage to perfect your skills, you will begin to understand why this game is so great. Handling 14 different vehicles, on 14 different levels, over the extremely unfriendly terrain – when you become good at it, it will make you fill great. You must understand that this game has a physics of its own. It often seems that laws of gravity do not really apply here. Still, that is not bad, because it gives the game its character. Besides tha, although not 100% realistic, the physics is very precisely defined and consistent. Meaning, at the beginning you would often think, “No way, why did it roll over, this game is stupid”; however, after you learn how this game’s physics works, you will actually enjoy it very much.
Along the way, you collect coins and gas cans. The purpose of gas cans is obvious – you need them to keep the engine running. Purpose of the coins is also obvious. The developers need them to keep you playing the game. But now, honestly, the upgrades you are buying for coins in Hill Climb Racing add a new value to the game. You have four categories of upgrades: engine, suspension, tyres, and 4-wheel drive. What makes these upgrades so great and worthwhile, is the fact that they offer a new quality to the game. For example, when you power-up your engine, it doesn’t simply mean your vehicle is going to move 10% or 20% faster, as it would be the case in most racing games. Here, the important purpose of the engine power-up is to help you climb the hills without losing control. Same goes for other upgrades – all serve to one purpose: improving the control of your vehicle.
If you don’t mind somewhat poor graphics and repetitive soundtrack, and if you have the patience needed to master the game, you will definitely enjoy Hill Climb Racing. When you put all factors together, it makes a very decent game that will keep you occupied for quite a while.