By Mike Garrison
Whether it's wheel nuts, wings, tools, tracks, trinkets and/or anything in between, the LiveRC staff gives their testimonial and review of each every Thursday morning!
Once upon a time, a long long time ago, there was a world in which the only way to play video games with your friend meant you had to call by landline, make sure it was okay to come over, hop on your bike, pedal as fast as you could 10 blocks away, and sit side by side on your buddy’s couch with controllers in hand. In today’s time, a simple text, Snapchat, or Facebook message to your pal on the other side of the world and you can be playing video games head to head right from your phone. There are 1000’s of games to choose from and download, but one of the most talked about lately in the R/C world is Hondune Games “ReCharge RC” – developed by Brandon Proulx.
ReCharge RC is free to download and begin playing, but like most “free” games, you either have to work hard to earn coins and gems through extensive gameplay, or take the easy route and drop some real-life cash (ranging from $.99 to $4.99) to collect precision coins and gems to customize, and buy new vehicles. The game offers a selection of vehicles including; a buggy, a truggy (looks like a stadium truck), a short course truck, a monster truck, and mini versions of each. Each vehicle can be fully customized with different bodies, wings, wheels, and paint schemes.
Perhaps the most intriguing part of the game is the ability to build your own tracks, upload them, and let the world race them. Some tracks are purely arcade fun, and others like the Trackside AE Race 2017 replica built by LiveRC’s very own Brandon Rohde, set aside the rocket boosts, loopty loops, and hula hoops for a more realistic feel to racetrack.
Video games aren’t for everyone, but with the ability to play it for free with the potential to race anyone in the world, there has been a number of big name R/C racers take to the virtual track; such as Joe Bornhorst, Evan Vail, Cole Ogden, Robert Batlle, Jackson Brunson, Zack Rogers, Colin Herzig, and Adam Drake to name a few. On each track you have the option to race your personal best time, your friend’s best time, or anyone on the leaderboard’s best time. You aren’t actually racing the other person at that very moment, you are racing a ghost of their fastest time on that given track.
As a kid who grew up playing nothing but racing games, and a grown adult who still spends more time than he should hiding under the covers playing racing games on his phone at night, I was compelled to give ReCharge RC a try.
When I first opened the app/game (whatever you want to call it), I was instantly turned off. Starting out the game is extremely difficult, the cars feel nothing like a real R/C car, the viewpoint is awkward, and my big thumbs couldn’t stay on the controls. I gave it all of five minutes, and I closed the game with no plans to re-open it…until I was taunted and challenged by a 10-year old kid at the track. Upon giving it a second try, I started getting the hang of it, parts of it began to remind me more and more of real R/C racing, and it became downright addicting.
I learned that each car handles just a little bit different, “drifting” corners scores points but not fast time, and you must judge your speed, jump angles, and corners as you would in real life – as opposed to many arcade games that WIDE OPEN miraculously jumps and downsides every jump, big or small, just perfect. My personal favorite became the short course to drive, but to beat Joe Bornhorst, I have resorted to a buggy with a paint scheme matching Yuichi Kanai in hopes it will give me some extra speed.
Racing and trying to beat your friends fast time is very addicting, but equally addicting is the seemingly endless options to customize your cars and build your own tracks. If you have the time, coins in your ReCharge bank, and skill, you can literally re-create 1000’s of real-life paint schemes, colors, and looks.
The graphics remind me of something you might play on Nintendo Wii. The sounds aren’t terribly annoying, but I still silenced them for full focus (which didn’t help my poor skills). To keep you from cheating you must pass between checkpoint flags on each track. When you pass through, an abrupt “DING” noise is made. Even with the noise silenced in the game, you must actually turn your entire phone to “silent mode” to silence the dings.
Putting a grin on my face was the fact that in the game with a little fancy maneuvering on the jump faces, you can throw some big whips, scrub smaller jumps, and even pull off a Ryan Lutz style backflip or two.
The controls are very easy to understand as it is four arrows – forward, reverse, left, and right. The handling of the cars is what can be a bit tricky. As with real-life R/C, if you are looking to just have some fun you can hit the free roam skate park, or choose from hundreds of user-created tracks ranging from very easy to very hard. Typically, the replica tracks that mimic real-life R/C tracks are among the most difficult, and aren’t the most confidence boosting place to start.
The game also offers Daily Challenges, which means yet another way to race some of the best ReCharge RC players in the world.
- Wide variety of R/C vehicles to choose from.
- Custom build your own tracks, and upload them for racers to enjoy around the world.
- Choice of tracks to play grows by the minute as more and more users create and upload their own track designs.
- Ability to customize each vehicle’s wings, bodies, wheels, paint jobs, and more.
- Ability to race the fast lap “ghost” of your best time, your friend’s best time, or any one on the worldwide leaderboard for each track.
- Free and easy to get started with in-game options to spend real money, but no actually money needs to be spent to enjoy all of the games features and be competitive.
- The developer has released multiple updates fixing bugs and improving the game already, which shows good signs the game is backed by a motivated creator willing to improve it around every turn.
- Available for both Android and iOS users to enjoy.
- The handling is a bit tricky to get a handle on at first.
- The viewpoint is similar to if the driver’s stand was in the corner of every track, which also takes a little getting used to.
- After spending time and valuable in-game coins and gems to customize your ride, no one that races your time can see it, as the ghost is simply a white silhouette.
The Final Word:
If you take the time to read the description of the game, I think their statement which reads, “…blurs the lines between arcade and simulation,” is spot on. If you are looking for a simulator to improve your actual R/C driving skills I encourage you to check out the VRC Pro simulator on your computer. If you are looking for a creative mixture of arcade fun, real life R/C racing, the ability to build and race your very own tracks, and an extremely addicting and competitive way to have fun racing your buddies - all in the palm of your hand, look no further.
Mad Skills Motocross doesn’t improve your ability race a dirtbike in real-life, but its unique blend of real-life handling and bike characteristics with a fun arcade-style game play, makes it one the most successful mobile motocross games to date. The same goes for ReCharge RC. In my opinion, ReCharge is currently among one of the most addicting and fun ways to get your daily dose of R/C right from your mobile device. Not to mention, you might never have the chance to go heads up in real life with R/C racing’s top pros, but with the impressive list of real-life R/C professionals playing ReCharge RC, here is your chance to claim your fame!