Polarbit have just released their latest game to the android world. They’re best known for their incredible reckless racing games and were one of the first to get a full 3D racer onto the android market (as it was called back then). Polarbit games have always been ahead of the game in terms of entertainment and nothing has changed with their new release.
Cracking Sands is a dune buggy racer with loads of weapons and plenty of action. If anybody gets in your way, blast them with a freeze ray and make them lose control. Sneaking up behind you? Drop a mine! There’s loads to do, and even more ways to customise your ride than ever before.
Like most racing games, accelerometer steering is your friend, unless you’re trying to play on a bus, then it’s a nightmare! (trust me I know). There doesn’t seem to be an option for touch steering, or gamepad controls, but that could be a feature omitted from the review copy of the game I was kindly provided with. As far as weaponry goes, there’s 2 settings. “Floating” mode means you don’t actually need to press the button to get the required action, just be in the general area. This is handy for those situations when you are concentrating so hard on the track, you lose all sense of spacial awareness. Also handy if you have what I like to call “fat fums”. Static controls is somewhat the opposite. If your finger doesn’t press the button, it doesn’t count. This is more accurate and stops you accidentally pressing the wrong weapon by mistake. Personally I prefer floating.
Cracking Sands features various customisation options and upgrades to help you progress in harder races. Completing each race will award you coins which can be used to buy new buggies, performance upgrades, weapons, weapon upgrades and customise your rider. The rider customisation is brilliant and offers everything from a regular rider, to skulls, masks and even, for a mere 10,000 coins, you can play as our very own Gary Weldon! (i’m going to be shot for that….)
Cracking sands also features various game modes including Campaign, time attack, single race, Elimination, head of the pack, and Multiplayer. You can unlock each of these modes in the campaign. Time attack and single race are self explanitory, so i’ll skip those. In an elimination match, the player in last place will be elimiated at regular intervals during the race. If you’re last when the timer hits zero, you’re OUT. Head of the pack makes you be the person in first place for more than 5 seconds. Whoever is in the lead for 5 seconds gains a point, the first person to a set number of points is the winner. I’m going to be honest and say I didn’t try the multiplayer mode, mostly because I didn’t think anybody else would be playing at the time as I got the game a few days before release (cheers Tommy)
As you would expect from any racing game, the idea is to place first as often as possible, but in Cracking Sands, you have a few tools to help. Each weapon has its own attack and effect, and you can have up to 3 different weapons at any time. Choosing your weapons wisely will make the difference between winning, and
Gary losing. I’d personally recommend seeker rockets, freeze ray and mines, but there’s loads to choose from. To power each weapon and your booster, you have to collect battery power which is floating around the course in various places, or if you drive over a charging pad, you get a huge boost of power.
Blast away your opposition to place fist and you’ll be rewarded with coins to spend on upgrades.
Cracking sands is a “paymium” game, but as I’ve discovered, you’re not forced to buy items to continue the game like most others. If you need a quick boost and can’t be bothered to earn the coins yourself, you can purchase coin packs through In-App Payment, but it’s not a requirement to enjoy the game to its full potential. Pricing at time of writing has yet to be confirmed, but like all Polarbit games, its going to be worth every penny.