Originally released on PC in 2018 after years in Steam’s Early Access program, Wreckfest is now available on mobile devices. For those who are not familiar with the game, it is a demolition derby racer that introduces thin body physics. It is the spiritual successor to the demolition games of the 2000s and, despite some noticeable graphical glitches, offers quite interesting gameplay.
I recorded the video above on an Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro at maximum settings. There is no tutorial. You jump into any game mode you want. The controls are straightforward, so this doesn’t seem like an issue. Unfortunately, I ran into frame rate issues and noticeable graphical bugs that prevented me from fully enjoying myself.
performance and controls
For testing purposes, I cranked up the game’s graphics as high as possible and tuned my ROG 6 to support performance. Unfortunately, the FPS fluctuated wildly throughout the gameplay, though some settings declined halfway through. Later, I locked the FPS to 30, which helped smooth things out. But it’s disappointing that 60fps can’t be met consistently regardless of the device. Additionally, I encountered flashing graphics and shadows on all of my runs. This was intensely distracting, and no amount of fiddling with the settings fixed the issue.
These graphical issues marred an otherwise near-perfect racing experience. The touch screen controls are a bit basic, so consider picking up one of the best Android controllers if you are not a fan of touch screen controls, as controllers are supported. However, I quickly got the hang of sliding and tapping my fingers on the glass after a couple of races (tip: leave the steering controls to go straight instead of holding your finger in the middle of the bar). While you can’t change the location of the controls on the screen, there are plenty of customization options to adjust to your racing preferences.
Play and play systems
In addition to the necessary graphical sacrifices, Wreckfest on mobile is nearly identical to the console and PC versions. You have the same tournament modes, you can create custom games offline, and there is also multiplayer, but it only supports local play. Other than that caveat, the gameplay is the same.
The events are demolition derbies or races, with several game modes within the two genres. Some races are silly events where you can roll around on couches, while others are tense, high-octane matches where one wrong turn can spell doom. Demolition derbies are a little more boring than I’d like (some traps or stakes are welcome), but the carnage of spinning cars and flying debris is great fun. Whichever you choose, you can enjoy Wreckfest’s soft-body physics, which range from the realistic (vehicles can be damaged from the smallest impacts) to the extreme (parts that normally wouldn’t deform can be flattened).
The customization strikes a perfect balance between accessibility and complexity. Those unfamiliar with the workings of a car will find the simplified descriptions easy to understand, while professional drivers can tune their cars suspension, gear ratio, differential and brake balance. There are plenty of visual customization options, though I would have liked to see more opportunities for custom livery.
Many “realistic” Android racing games focus on car performance rather than what happens when things go wrong. Wreckfest’s definition of realism means that if your car crashes up front, not only will you have decent volume in your car, your engine performance will suffer throughout. It’s an arcade racer at heart but with just enough realistic touches to give it some weight.
Wreckfest suffers from too many performance issues to be an ideal port
I’ve played Wreckfest to death on PC and console, and I have to say I’m pretty disappointed with the mobile incarnation. The flickering shadows are incredibly distracting while gaming, and being forced to lock the FPS to 30 for consistent performance is disappointing. If these issues are fixed, Wreckfest could easily be one of the best racing games on Android, but the current performance and graphical issues mean we recommend holding off until they are resolved.