The game PITCH CAR (1995, various publishers) hasn’t exactly been one of my holy grails of game collecting– it’s huge, heavy and takes up waaay too much space on the shelf and on the table. The only place I could set it up comfortably would be at a convention. Yet I have played it at cons many times when other kind souls have brought the game and loved it. I’ve kept Pitch Car in the “kinda, sorta, want it” category on my BGG Wish List for several years now– in the meantime, if a game is starting up near me at convention, you can count me in. Now it turns out that an enterprising IoS developer, Pixelocity Software, has brought the Pitch Car experience to the Ipod/Iphone and Ipad platforms as the DISC DRIVIN’ game app, at a very reasonable cost of 2.99.
I’ll state my summary up front, they bowled me over with this product. Normally I review two apps in one post– they are easy enough to review. But Disc Drivin’ really deserves some special attention. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I’m a fan of the Carcassone app– it perfectly replicates the game experience in a portable media format.. so well I have played Carc maybe 50 times since I bought the the thing. The reason I’m such a Carc. fanboy is that the developers went out of their way to create a social interaction required to play the game– internet play, pass and play, play against AI, it’s all covered. So, too, have the folks at Pixelocity Software.. but I fear I am getting ahead of myself.
Starting at basics, Disc Drivin’ replicates the Pitch Car concept of sliding little discs along a series of tracks– not painted like cars as in the boardgame, probably to avoid intellectual property disputes. In the Pitch Car game, the player flicks the disc down the track and whips around the curves to simulate a race. There were many track sets published. Virtually, much of the Pitch Car experience is replicated in Disc Drivin’ with extra stuff added on– like the visual extras of being in different, more arcade like backgrounds. Gameplay is essentially to run a race between players flicking their little disc down the tracks, using finger swipes in the virtual world to replace their finger flicks in the real world. Disc Drivin’ also adds cute little arcade style extras like turbo boosts, oil slicks, ramps, bumpers and bombs to keep the game from getting monotonous. I found it to be pretty faithful to its illustrious boardgame predecessor, and very entertaining.
I owe a nod to Garrett, my son for discovering in FIVE SECONDS all the cute little extras the game comes with such as powerups, speed boosts, oils slicks and etc. after I played it several times. I thought you just flicked the discs and moved through the track! That will teach me to do the tutorial FIRST.
Lastly, I have already alluded to an excellent feature– you can play Disc Drivin’ virtually any way you want to– internet play using a wireless connection can summon up friends to play (and it can solicit players using social media channels like Facebook and Twitter). Players can also play against a random opponent looking for a game. Players can HOST a local wireless game or play on a locally hosted game. For players within bluetooth range (if you can get a room full of people with Iphones, I guess), Bluetooth play is supported for hosting and playing. And of course, you can pass and play with someone sitting near you. This is Carcassone level multiplayer and network player support. I am very impressed with that– nice graphics and a good design go a long way with me, but taking the necessary extra steps for multiplayer and network games are crucial in my opinion. Publishers want to build up a following; I can’t think of a better way than to have this many options for MANY people to play simultaneously. Bravo, Pixelocity, you have done a splendid job with Disc Drivin’.
I think I am about to boot PITCH CAR off of my BGG Wish list. I’ve got plenty of game on my Ipod Touch. 😀