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Review: Raging Thunder 2

March 13, 2010


Raging Thunder 2 is an arcade racer developed by Pixelbite Games and published by Polarbit, and is the sequel to Polarbit's first foray into the racing genre, Raging Thunder. Raging Thunder wasn't very popular and only mediocre in terms of polish and gameplay, but it seems that Polarbit has learned much from their first experience since much has been improved from the original, including graphics, controls, and content.


The graphics are the first thing that caught my eye when I was browsing iTunes. Crisp, clean, beautiful visuals are always a plus in any game, and they're definitely present here. Raging Thunder 2 also features online and local cross-platform multiplayer, which is another big feature. Many people like to play against real human beings instead of artificial computer controlled opponents, and they'll get their competitive racing fix with this game. In addition, there are five different game modes, and they provide the game with more play time and replayability.

The Good

Given the arcade nature of its gameplay, one would expect Raging Thunder 2 to give a great sense of speed and have purchasable items to beef up your vehicle. While the sense of speed isn't as good as other racers on the App Store, it certainly feels good driving your car. You can also buy things from a small list of vehicles and upgrades. In addition, the AI is actually smart and aggressive, unlike racing games where they just do their own thing and ignore the fact that you're overtaking them. You'll be racing across a multitude of scenic tracks, and quite a few of them have "hidden" shortcuts, harmful obstacles, and nitro and repair powerups. Though playing Raging Thunder 2 is fun, I think that there are a few components missing. The sound effects and background music are both great. The rumble of the engine, screeching tires, nitro boost, crashes, and explosions all contribute to a better experience while playing the game. Unfortunately, I did have sound hiccups here and there where the nitro boost sound didn't take effect due to other sound effects also starting at the same time. Raging Thunder 2's graphics are also pretty nice. Frantic racing across snow-covered mountains, tropical beaches, and even the Great Wall of China is a very fun experience. At an unbelievable mere 15.1 megabytes, Raging Thunder 2 packs all of its content into a 3G downloadable package. In addition, it only took me about 15 seconds on my 2nd generation iPod Touch to start up the game and get through the loading screens and into a race. That's the fastest I've ever experienced for a game with good content and graphics, and it's quite impressive.

The Bad

Raging Thunder 2 needs touch controls. I dislike accelerometer based games, and the awkwardness of the controls here makes me wish there was something touch based. The online multiplayer is perfect, but there isn't anything that compels you to keep playing. No online leaderboard, no personal rankings, nothing. You just race, see what how you did, and then you're done. A more compelling online multiplayer experience would have me coming back to this game more often. The minuscule number of cars and upgrades is also disappointing, and compared to other racing games on the App Store, Raging Thunder 2 just doesn't have as much content.

The Verdict

If you are interested in arcade racers, or you are searching for a game that is like Burnout, I suggest you take a look at Raging Thunder 2. It's the closest that it gets to Burnout for your iPhone and iPod Touch, but it could have been done much better.

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