Welcome Time Wasters!
It’s been hard wasting time lately. Alia and I moved into a new house about three months ago and it just seems like things haven’t calmed down since. This was especially true last month as we had to make some emergency repairs to stop leaks in the basement (some of which still aren’t done yet), but this week has been much less busy. Due to that, I’ve actually been clearing out a backlog of Time Wasters. I’ll still only be talking about one right now, which is Track Mayhem, but know that there are some fun surprises coming in the next couple of weeks.
Track Mayhem is a racing game for mobile devices. The game has players traveling along in a space setting as they try to complete levels and collect coins. It features plenty of difficulty and can even be a bit harsh at times with the obstacles it throws at the player. Part of this is due to some levels taking place on cylinders that the player can move 360 degrees on. The twist and turns here make it hard to see what’s coming ahead and can result in more than a few cheap deaths.
I can forgive some cheap deaths since Track Mayhem doesn’t use randomly-generated levels. It just means I have to remember what’s coming and prepare for it. However, I don’t like how spawning back into a level feels. Players get three lives to try and complete levels with. After a death, they spawn back in with an incredibly limited invincibility window. It makes it so that the player is likely just to crash into the next obstacle without having much of a chance to react.
There are a couple of ways for players to avoid death in Track Mayhem. The first is by jumping. This is required to get by some obstacles, but feels a bit awkward. There have been several times that I’ve cleared an obstacle by jumping over it, only to die anyway. The other options that players have is a shield. It lasts for a few seconds and makes them invincible to damage. The shield requires coins to use, which players can find on the tracks.
Players also have two different control options to chose from with Track Mayhem. The first is motion controls. This lets the player turn their smartphone to turn the vehicle. Luckily, there’s also an option that ads on-screen buttons for turning, which was my preference.
Strangely enough, Track Mayhem doesn’t feature much in the way of microtransactions. The coins in the game are only used for shields and nothing else. There aren’t event different skins for the ship, or anything like that, up for purchase. It’s a bit strange from a mobile game, but also refreshing.
Of course, there is another problem with Track Mayhem. That’s the ads. The game will hit the player with 30-second ads that are unskippable. I don’t just mean players have to wait five seconds before they can skip them, either. These ads are also present if the player wants to continue from where they left off in a level after dying. I’m completely okay with using ads this way, but do not force the player to watch an ad just for playing the game. That’s just silly. Instead, create mechanics that give players incentive to watch ads if you want to make money that way.
Visually, Track Mayhem isn’t a bad looking game for mobile. The graphics are a bit choppy looking at times, but it does run without any slowdown that I could notice. Th audio is also alright, but nothing I’m going to remember starting….now.
Overall, Track Mayhem is an okay way to waste some time. It’s not a bad endless runner, but does have a few problems. The heavy advertisements are a disappointment, but at least it doesn’t have microtransactions. Anyone that really wants the ads gone can also purchase the premium version of the game, which seems like a suitable middle ground to me.
Track Mayhem earns 2.5 GiN Gems out of 5!