Deep down we are all budding Lewis Hamiltons, or so we like to think. Well Formula D is a good start to prove how close we really are to the racing legends. The game started out as Formula De back in 1991, and was expanded by the release of extra track packs based on F1 race tracks at that time. This game got rereleased as simply Formula D and now includes street cars and tracks as well as the standard F1 race tracks and cars.
The basis of this game is really simple. You roll the dice for which gear you are in; the higher the gear the bigger the dice and thus the more squares you will move. Corners are handled (do you like what I did there?!) according to their severity; each has been given a number grading to represent the number of times you must end your turn in the corner. So you can’t just roar around in sixth gear, you have to time when you will hit the corners. At the start of each turn, you can go up or down a gear to increase your speed or try to slow the car down. Overshooting a corner or trying to go down more than one gear will cause your car to take wear, this is where you can push the car to the limit. But you have to get your car over the finish line, so how far you want to push will greatly affect whether you are going to finish the race or not.
The F1 based side of the game has a little more in-depth car management; each time you screw up it can, and will affect different parts of the car. From tyres to the engine, you get the chance to mess these parts up by overshooting a corner or hitting someone up the rear. The street car racing side is a little more robust and simplified, each racer has 18 wear points that can be spent on overshoots and gear changes, when they are gone, you are gone…..out of the race! The standard street track in the box has novel ways for you to lose or gain these points. Being shot at by the locals like Anakin in his pod racer will mean you lose points. Getting the top speed through the police speed camera will gain you points. In two lap games, you get 10 wear points back when you cross the line, and if you want to win you will have to spend these points. This is how skillful players can make a difference to the game, not just relying on the luck of the dice to leave the others behind! Risk management is the key here, and as long as you spend them wisely you should be at the front of the pack.
Both sides of this game work really well and the kids will love the street style of racing while the Dads will be planning out a schedule for completing a full season of racing…. well, I did anyway! As the game can be expanded with different tracks and all the old school tracks are still current, this game will have you going back to it time and time again.
8 out of 10