Game Over Online ~ Deep Down Race

GameOver Game Reviews - Deep Down Race (c) Bonelyfish, Reviewed by - Fwiffo

Game & Publisher Deep Down Race (c) Bonelyfish
System Requirements Pocket PC
Overall Rating 88%
Date Published Saturday, January 5th, 2002 at 06:39 PM

Divider Left By: Fwiffo Divider Right

The first thing that struck me about Deep Down Race was its colourful and charming visual appeal. Often when you try to show off something on your PDA, it won’t feature a riveting soundtrack, 3D graphics or some form of multiplayer. Non-technical people often fumble around trying to figure out why you are so excited. Deep Down Race is one of those light-hearted games that I can easily pitch to non-technical people without any hesitation worrying about their inability to grasp the concept.

The premise of Deep Down Race revolves around you taking control of an undersea digger. You use a high power drill to drill down a series of coloured blocks. As you drill more, blocks above might become loose and fall, so you have to really pick out which foundations to take out so as to give yourself a means to escape the carnage of your work. Scattered amongst the oddly shaped colour blocks are tougher wooden ones, which take some effort and time to drill through. If you leave them alone, they can stop the speeding ascent of the coloured blocks. To make this even more challenging, your undersea digger relies on a finite amount of oxygen. The more time you spend trying to sort out a strategy or dig through the wood coloured blocks, the more precious oxygen you waste. Luckily, there are power-ups scattered beneath certain blocks so it would be wise to plot your strategy to get access to them as well.

The time element really adds a new dimension to what would normally be considered purely a puzzle game. It turns Deep Down Race into a pseudo action-puzzle title. The presentation is, like I mentioned before, very charming. Though there isn't much in the way of detail, there is a copious use of colour. It gives the whole game a friendly feel and the shades of blue used seem like, at least to me, Windows XP inspired. Deep Down Race does not possess a soundtrack and I thought a soundtrack would have been wonderful to help this title out. It has an abundant amount of sound effects but events like the imminent loss of oxygen would be more dramatically conveyed through a change of pace in a persistent soundtrack rather than the unavoidable countdown ticking. The only major complaint, besides the suggestion of a dynamic soundtrack, is the main menu. It simply has too many choices to be presented the way it is. I'd rather the menu choices be listed all at once, even if it is in a slightly tinier font. For now, it takes quite a bit of flipping to get to functions like “Set-up” or the “Tutorial.” Finally, it would have been nice to have incorporated some sort of multiplayer play. If not multiplayer, at least some form of ghost mode in split-screen so you can race with people to get to the bottom of certain maps. Obviously the distribution of custom maps and generation of random levels highlights how expandable this game could be.

Deep Down Race does not dig too deep into your PDA. It requires little under one megabyte of space and is compatible with most Pocket PC devices including the new Pocket PC 2002. Luckily, because of how it plays, simultaneous button presses and diagonal issues are completely irrelevant to the execution of the title. Deep Down Race comes with a plethora of features. First and foremost is the generation of ten random levels. If you tire of random gameplay or have bright ideas of your own, you can use the editor right inside your PDA and create your own. Lastly, you can save your own creations and distribute them to your friends. New levels can also be found on the developer's website.

Likewise, Deep Down Race does not dig deep into your pockets either. I had a lot of fun with it. It plays at a faster pace than say, Tetris, so the moniker 'race' is actually correct. A lot of times you will simply be racing to get down to the bottom but at points where you need to gain access to oxygen or when blocks are about to fall on you, some quick thinking is required. There is no doubt this is an enjoyable and addictive game. It has a fair price and a small footprint. Furthermore, the incorporation of random and custom levels really helps keep the longevity of this game going. As far as lightweight action-puzzle games go, this is certainly a winner.

[10/10] Addictiveness
[18/20] Gameplay
[13/15] Graphics
[08/10] Interface/controls
[09/10] Program Size
[03/05] Sound
[04/05] Discreetness
[14/15] Learning Curve
[ N/A ] Multiplayer


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