Grand Prix Story
Formula One is all grid girls and champagne, Grand Prix Story is all that but with more touching
From Kairosoft, makers of the 2010 smash hit Game Dev Story, comes a Motor racing management simulation that harks back to Microprose Grand Prix Manager from the mid 90′s.
Grand Prix Story places you in the position of race team manager in a newly formed team. You are fully responsible for everything. Whether its the hiring and firing of staff to the research and development of a new light weight chassis, you are in charge of every direction your team goes.
Starting out with limited talent and money you are restricted to cheap cars, low skilled mechanics and drivers that need a map to find their way around the race tack. In a basic garage you only have the option to develop the most basic of vehicles and with your poorly skilled team, of one mechanic and a driver, you will be lucky if your first car manages to be race competitive.
Developed car race ready you are now able to hit the track. Races are broken down into single race days or a full Formula Series. Races are basic simulations. A quick qualifying lap is run unseen to decide you position on the grid then the race begins. Sadly races themselves are almost 100% hands off. You have a one use speed boost when your driver develops “Aura” this boost can be used during either qualifying or the race. But other than that, just sit back and watch the race unfold. Races are usually only a single lap of a track lasting no longer that 40 seconds. But the whole race period can seem to last forever as screens seem to linger and hang for an uncomfortable period with no way to speed them up, regardless how many times you tap your screen.
Successful performance on the track will attract sponsors, the more successful you are the track the more prestigious sponsors you will attract and the more money you will be able to make.
However money isn’t the benchmark for success. In order to be the best you need to acquire research points. Research points are used to acquire new car types and components as well as upgrade already available technology in a sprawling technology tree.
Initially the early game is very repetitive, with only a few single races to compete in. But once the season opens up and you are able to enter into Series races you will be forced to modify your car set-up to contend with various racetrack conditions. A dragster with racing tyres is ideal for a track race but isn’t going to be a threat for a desert race. And its these contrasts that make Grand Prix Story so compelling. Do you spend big money having multiple cars suited to each condition or do you quickly tweak and hone one supercar in the short turnaround period between each race? Getting that perfect car will drive you so your whits end.
From a graphical standpoint Grand Prix story has the hallmarks of any Kairosoft game. Bright, charming colourful cartoon graphics and animations are present on every screen. Music is chirpy albeit horrendously repeated. However Sound and graphics are secondary, this game is about getting you hooked on running a racing team.
Despite the highly addictive levels the game isn’t without its problems. Grand Prix Story like Game Dev Story and Hot Spring Story before it, Grand Prix Story is a major battery hog. From full charged to flat i managed just a few hours of play before needing to recharge my phone. There are options to alter the games priorities between graphical clarity and game performance but these choices seem to have little if any effect on battery life or actual gameplay itself. But the major problem that has persists in Kairosoft games is the interface. For context I don’t have chunky sausages for fingers in fact they are fairly slender and feminine, yet I still managed on multiple times to select the wrong option button on screen. These button selection problems go some way to explain the selectable D-Pad when the game is played in horizontal mode. The refinement of precise D-Pad selection is however offset by the painfully slow navigation when using this method. The whole windows styled drop down and flow-through menus aren’t idea for a game that is designed for a touch based user interface.
There is a lot to research, upgrade and achieving ultimate glory will take many an hour. Inspite of interface niggles Grand Prix Story is a seriously addictive game that will cause many a late night as you say to yourself – “Just one more race”.
Version reviewed – 1.0.1
Android firmware compatible – 1.6 and up
Review Phone Details
Phone Model – Samsung Google Nexus S
Android Firmware – 2.3.4