Touchtao’s latest offering to the mobile games market, the catchily titled ChaseHQ2Evo is billed by its developer as the ‘most powerful racing mobile game in the world’ – a claim which, while practically unverifiable, says a lot about the opportunities still open in the mobile gaming market.
ChaseHQ2Evo’s installation was the first of several problems we suffered while experimenting with this trial version. The zipped archive for the game contained no installer, and no ‘readme’ file to guide us through the installation process. Actually, installation wasn’t that difficult – we simply extracted the contents of the ZIP file to a new folder within our ‘My Documents’ on our test device and the game worked when executed from there. That said, it isn’t difficult to produce a standard installation dialogue for an application, so its absence was noted.
The next issue we discovered with the game occurred when it was run. For some unexplained reason, ChaseHQ2Evo automatically overrides your Pocket PC’s volume settings (even if your device is muted) and sets them to maximum. While this could be annoying or embarrassing depending on your location, it could prove quite shocking and even dangerous if you already had your headphones on. Users are also warned that even if you alter the game’s settings to reduce the sound effects/music volume, these changes will be discarded when you close the game.
The trial version of ChaseHQ2Evo is limited to one seemingly never ending time-trial race around one track which could be either ‘mountain’ or ‘desert’ (but this is never really made clear). Because of the game’s automatic acceleration feature, your vehicle starts speeding away at frankly unbelievable speed without you ever touching the controls. This can be quite unnerving at first, but it’s an understandable aspect of the controls on a device with only a few buttons. ChaseHQ2Evo is not the first game we’ve seen with this quirky control method, but we wouldn’t complain if it was the last.
Because the speed is uncontrollable (save for a very clunky brake which stops your vehicle dead in its tracks), steering is pretty tricky. The game designers clearly want us to perfect a sliding, drifting method of driving which in reality isn’t the most practical way to win such an easy race. However, practice makes perfect, and once we were used to the heavy steering, we started to hit the rock walls on either side of the track only fifty percent of the time. After completing several laps with our co-driver babbling repetitive and esoteric advice in our ears, we chose to try another game mode… which presented us with exactly the same situation!
To be fair to Touchtao, ChaseHQ2Evo’s graphics aren’t bad. The speed, three dimensional feel and reflections in the game’s environment were all of a decent standard and left little to be desired. Set against the rest of the game’s failings, though, it starts to look like Touchtao have spent a lot of time perfecting their much touted M3D graphics engine at the expense of other key areas of the game. Our verdict is that future versions of Touchtao’s racing title may well be worth a look, but that ChaseHQ2Evo is best avoided.