‘GT Racing,’ ‘Revs,’ ‘Pocket Chef’ – iPhone Gaming Round-up

This week’s iPhone round-up features two titles that will put you behind the wheel of a car and have you burning rubber and kicking up dust. In stark contrast, the third title in this post wants you to avoid torching (and dust, too) at all costs.

“GT Racing: Motor Academy” ($6.99)

A third-person iPhone racer sim with a budget, “GT Racing” has fancy automobile licenses and a campaign with traditional features. But the familiar bells and whistles don’t count for squat: while the robust campaign offering gives you all the time trials, races, and qualifying rounds that you can handle, the game punches you in the gut with bad tilt steering, awkward on-screen controls, and dumb collision detection.

If it wasn’t for the solid driving assists, I wouldn’t have been able to conquer the first race, much less the rest I’ve played. This sim takes itself too seriously considering the platform, and could do with a serious pass or two of polish.

“Revs!” ($0.99)

Steering clear of the mold, “Revs!” is an amusing and simple retro-inspired top-down racer. To give you a clearer picture of what this game looks like, think of its presentation as if it were a sideways ant farm. The rounded tunnels are now the roads and the ants are now the brightly colored cars. See it? Good.

The goal is to hit first place, or at least get close, in each of the game’s seven campaign tracks. After every match you’ll be asked to pour your earnings into vehicle upgrades in order to continue to compete. The components and mechanics are simple enough, but the game has a few nagging issues. The competition’s AI runs perfect lines and some of the tracks are just plain brutal to navigate. You’ll have to stay sharp if you want to enjoy what “Revs!” tries to offer at its 99-cent price point.

“Pocket Chef” ($4.99)

If preparing digital cuisine is more your jam (or pace), “Pocket Chef” is satisfying. It’s a game — really a selection of touch and swipe and timed mini-games — that involve slicing, stewing, heating, and assembling food scraps into the perfect meal. UI heavy, the game outside of the mini-games is nothing more than a glorified leaderboard which tracks how well you’ve “assembled” a select meal.

Whipping up the best isn’t always easy: the long load times put a damper on the game and the tool accuracy, especially in the slicing sections, is off by a mile. Ask yourself really need a game that simulates the butchering of an onion, and then tells you how awesome you are, before you decide to purchase.