New Star Grand Prix – It’s time to burn some rubber.

May14 Okay I’ve got a confession to make.  No, not that kind of confession.  Sheesh, what kind of person do you think I am?!?  Okay what is this big shocking confession I have?  I don’t drive.  Yep that’s it.  I’m 33 years old, and I’ve never actually driven.  I’ve had my driver’s permit when I was a teen, but there was no time usually to teach me driving.  So here I am I live with my Dad, and anywhere that needs drivin’ he does it.  Okay so now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s just say I like racing games.  I’m not usually very good at them, but I enjoy them.  Okay so with that in mind let’s sit back and imagine what it’s like to be behind the wheel of one of these formula 1 jobs, or whatever.  I’m strapped into this tiny cockpit.  If I was claustrophobic I would probably be panic right now, but I’m cool.  Cool in the sense of being okay, but definitely not cool in the sense of body temperature.  In fact I’m burning up.  The fact that it’s an open cockpit gives me no relief as i’m snug in my flame retardant jumpsuit, all wrapped up like a present on Christmas.  Pretty wrapping too as I’m wearing all kinds of patches from various sponsors.  My helmet makes it certain that I can only see what’s directly in front of me, like blinders on a wary horse.  The gloves fitting on my hands like a second skin.  I grip the steering wheel, just waiting to be let go.  The car is humming underneath me.  Suddenly the lights go out, or turn green, or a checkered flag is dropped, pick your poison, all that matters is that it’s go time.  Suddenly I fly out and I can feel the road vibrate underneath me as I’m reaching unheard of speeds.

NewStarGrandPrixSS01 Okay so sorry if I got some things wrong.  I said we were imagining.  I’m not even really a race fan as such.  Yes I did say I like racing games, that’s different.  On screen although it’s kind of cool and I’ll watch NASCAR every once in a while.  Okay so I wanted to put you in the proper frame of reference with this next game.  In New Star Grand Prix from New Star Games you get a good top-down racing game.  It’s supposed to be in the vein of Super Sprint or one of those type games but it seems to be a little bit more realistic.  You have a quick race and a career mode.  Career mode runs full seasons as days of the week.  Each time you hit the next button it changes to the next day.  You can practice on some days, and others you have a full race.  I found it somewhat hard to play.  Some of the turns are really sharp and playing with just a keyboard, the left and right keys are a bit sensitive.  Especially when going fast.  However even so I did enjoy it when I didn’t screw up and like go off the track.  It was slower going that it should be to win a race but it was fun.  I think if you’re either a racing enthusiast or a racing game enthusiast you’ll actually find it’s realism pretty good.  It would have been nice if the graphics had been a bit more realistic, but a bit about that later.

NewStarGrandPrixSS02 Okay so the main differences between the demo and the full version, is the full version contains 17 tracks.  You have unlimited quick races in the demo but only on 3 tracks, and you can start a career but you can’t get past the third race unless you have a registration key.  However, the demo is definitely enough.  It took me a couple of days to go through just the first small part of career mode.  I would recommend you do some quick races before attempting career mode.  I’m just completely terrible at it.  I think once you get a handle on the controls though you can probably play pretty decently.  Okay so now on the main screen you have your winnings at the top.  You have a panel that shows you the current track on the left.  On the right it shows you your ranking in the championship, and team ranking.  Under the track panel you have a relationships panel.  This is where there’s a bit more than just a racing game.  You have 4 types of relationships, Boss, Pit Crew, Fans, and Friends.  And you sort of want to keep them all happy.  It keeps you making money.  Keeping the Boss happy means you will be driver number 1 who earns twice as much money as number to, you can impress him by setting good lap times and doing well in races.  You can keep the Pit Crew happy by not taking any damage to your car, and gambling with them in the casino, usually casino days won’t leave you enough time to race.  Keep your Fans happy by winning, it means more sponsorships.  Keeping your friends happy makes things less stressful for you and helps your reaction times.

NewStarGrandPrixSS03 Since the game runs in days, you practice pretty much every day of the week.  Qualify on Saturday’s to see your starting position and then race the next day.  Okay there’s just so much going on here, I haven’t even gotten to the races yet.  In practice mode it’s just you with yourself.  Once you complete a lap you get to see your last lap as a “ghost” racer, so you can play against yourself.  It’s possible it might be your best lap not just your last one.  In any case once you’ve done the number of laps you set originally (I set mine to the lowest which was 5), then the day is over, and you can replay your practice to see where you went wrong.  Qualifying merely decides where you’ll be starting.  When racing day comes you get ready and you go go go.  Part of the game play is making sure you pit at the right time.  Run out of fuel and you’re stuck.  In fact this was kind of annoying as I had to manually exit the race instead of it automatically doing it like it should.  You can’t race if there’s no fuel right?  Various things affect your racing ability such as how much gas is in the tank because it can get heavy, the tire wear and so forth.  (A quick note, I’ve noticed UK’ers spell tires as tyres, which is cool.  I don’t have anything against that and hopefully they don’t have anything against me, being American and spelling it tires.)  Sometimes to keep your relationships up you’ll go to the casino with the pit crew or your friends.  You can gamble at a few different games with your winnings.  There’s Black Jack, Roulette, and slot machines (or if you’re a Brit, they’re fruit machines because of the fruity emblems on the wheels).  Okay I haven’t really explained everything to this game, like your starting parameters and so forth but I figure you can learn that on your own once you play the demo.

NewStarGrandPrixSS04 The graphics are bright, but they don’t have that completely polished look to me.  There’s a lot of noise in the road and grass graphics.  Every so-often it rains, and that was a pretty neat effect as well as the mist from your tires as the track got wet.  There’s also smoke from damage to your car.  The game has two views high and low, which means how much of the track is shown.  There’s a mini racetrack in the upper left hand corner that is translucent.  At the top is your laps or position in an actual race, and to the upper right is your times.  The sounds of the cars are a bit annoying but it’s not too bad.

Final Analysis:  I haven’t told you everything about the game, but hopefully it gives you a decent idea about it.  It’s really a pretty in depth game, and I give them credit for that.  If you’re not very good at racing games or the keyboard you might not enjoy this as much.  But also you should give it some time, play through the career mode in the demo, and several races, then decide.  It’s fun if you give it a chance.  It comes in both PC and Mac flavors.

Name: New Star Grand Prix

Developer: New Star Games

Price: $9.99 / £7.49 / €7.99

Where you can get it: Here!

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