“Car Driving Simulator: NY” is an open world driving game developed by AxesinMotion. Although other driving simulators focus on weaving through traffic to gain points, “Car Driving Simulator: NY” attempts to create a believable open world for you to traverse. It's truly a game of exploration and high speed, rather than quick reflexes and timing. It distinguishes itself from being “just another racing game” by paying attention to detail and technical performance. That's all for nothing if it's not fun to play though. Is “Car Driving Simulator: NY” worth your time? Let's take a closer look.
I'll admit, the menus in “Car Driving” are pretty busy. This follows over into the HUD in the main game. At the start screen, you'll have a selection of buttons to choose from, but most of them are just for controlling in-app purchases. Besides your “Drive!” and “Garage” buttons (which are pretty self explanatory), there's separate buttons to buy credits (micro transactions), restore previous purchases, buy the “ad-free” version of the game, a link to more games, and finally, language selection. It's a minor irritation, but I prefer more compact menus. All of the micro transaction content could've been contained to one menu, providing a more clean and visually appealing menu.
When you first start the game, you'll only have one car to choose from (if you don't spend any cash). Additional cars can be unlocked by traversing a certain number of kilometers, as well as picking up collectibles while you roam. Some cars can only be purchased, and these are interspersed between the unlockable cars. I would've preferred if all of the cars were able to be unlocked in game, regardless of how high the requirements are. Since a lot of the fun of driving simulators are playing with all the available vehicles, it was disappointing to see some of the cooler ones locked behind a paywall.
Most of these problems dissipate when you start up the game, though. There's three modes of play to choose from; Free Mode, Checkpoint Mode, and Traffic Mode. Free Mode and Traffic Mode are similar, with the obvious addition of civilian cars taking up the roadways. Checkpoint mode has empty streets, but adds bright green checkpoints from you to speed between. Generally speaking, the modes of play aren't incredibly engaging, but the exploration makes up for that a bit.
It was obvious that “Car Driving Simulator: NY” was made with technical power in mind. When you first spawn on the street, you'll immediately notice the high graphical fidelity. There's a bit of pop-in here and there, but the game is crisp and great looking. Cars have accurate damage modeling, which was pretty impressive when I first saw it. For example, if a rogue sedan comes out of nowhere and hits your back bumper, you'll see accurate damage reflected. If they clipped a tail light, you bet it's going to be busted out. It's dynamic and impressive, and something I rarely see in mobile games.
“Car Driving” also handles insanely well. The controls are pretty standard and simple to use. You have a gas pedal, a brake pedal, and two arrows for turning. Car enthusiasts can also tweak three different options, enabling or disabling ABS, Traction Control, and ESP (electronic stability program). While the differences are subtle, true car junkies will be happy to see these options available. Simply put, the cars feel great to drive. It wasn't long before I was pulling off some pretty insane drifts, all of them feeling accurate to my control.
The variety in areas is good as well, showcasing both high rises and suburbs. The environments look great across the board. As you tear up the streets, you'll encounter the aforementioned collectibles. These usually require some crafting driving to collect. Some of my first collectibles found my flying off ramps hidden in the environment.
There's some room for improvement with “Car Driving”, but the base game is solid. Cleaning up the menus and adding in some additional objectives would definitely help it reach the next level of quality. With such a great controls and pretty visuals, I would love a reason keep playing for longer. While unlocking new cars does give you a goal to reach, the goal is usually pretty far away. Some smaller goals to reach in the meantime would've been appreciated. Adding a few other collectible categories would be cool, as well as allowing small upgrades to the cars.
Despite the busy menus and cluttered HUD, “Car Driving Simulator: NY” managed to impress me based on its controls and visual accomplishments. While I don't see myself playing it for an incredibly long time, it's definitely a step up from some of the more “by the numbers” racers available. If you're looking for a way to race through some city streets on the go, “Car Driving Simulator: NY” will get that done for you in style. It's a fun game that feels great to play, and that's better than most when it comes to driving games.
Reviewed by Matt