Mad Wheels ($0.99) by Chillingo Ltd is the new arcade racer on the block. This is very much like Chillingo's previous release, Horror Racing, just without the horror.
You can play in many modes, including the race for the championship or a quick match for those pressed for time. You can even battle a friend over Wi-Fi or hop online for more multiplayer fun.
You automatically take off, you just need to control the turns. You're able to change the positioning of the joystick control — you can put it on the left or right of your screen. I know having it on the left, as is the default, makes the most sense and is the least awkward, but I enjoyed trying out both ways. I ended up keeping it on the left.
Collect power-ups along the way and use your guns and missiles to attack your opponents as you race for the finish line. Fortunately, the fire button will switch sides as well if you put the joystick on a different side. So they will always be on opposites sides, making it easier to fire and control movement.
The graphics are okay, but nothing amazing. You don't have the option to customize your vehicle either. You have different vehicles to choose from, but there aren't any upgrades. Each vehicle, however, does have it's own set of unique abilities and traits.
A racing game that allows you to attack the other racers is always awesome in my book. I'm a huge Mario Kart nerd; give me three red shells already so I can auto-win. However, because I expected tilt controls, I was pretty disappointed off the bat. I think tilt-to-move controls over a joystick makes racing games for iOS easier and more fun to play.
Everyone seemed to rave about this game, but I am not very impressed. I would take Death Rally over this; I would almost take 8-Bit Rally over this because of the tilt-controlled racing.
I suggest you give Mad Wheels Lite a try for free to see what you think. Although the lite version is universal, unfortunately, the paid version is not. There is a separate app for the iPhone ($0.99) and iPad ($1.99), both are available on the App Store.