RC Club Augmented Reality Motorsports

RC Club AR Motorsports – Game Review (iOS)

Today I was about to test out the beta only to find out that RC Club was just released a few hours ago on the App Store. I was very excited to hear that it is released and of course I played it and can share my gameplay experience with you.

What is RC Club?

RC Club or as its full name “RC Club – AR Motorsports” is a radio-controlled car sandbox game developed using Apple’s ARKit augmented reality technology. It’s a realistic simulation game that lets you control various radio controlled (RC) cars. It employs real-world gravity, speed, acceleration, weight, friction, forces, light, and shadows—all to give the player a realistic feeling of remote controlling an RC electric car.

RC Club car selection screen
RC Club car selection screen

Moreover, the game features a sandbox track builder tool to help you build your own tracks using loops, launchers and special physics objects that add a bit of arcade touch to this AR experience.

The game is free-to-play, however, you only get to play a single car. You need to either purchase each of the other unlocked cars individually or buy the All-in-One pack that features the other 3 cars with the two builder packs (Stuns pack & Quantum pack). The Builder Packs can be purchased individually from the ship as well.

I’ve purchased the All-in-One so I can provide you with the most accurate review of the game based on my experience.

Gameplay

This is a sandbox simulation game, in which you can create your own track and do whatever you want with it. I already see users using it to record some crazy stunt videos and sharing them on YouTube.

I know that there are people who want to complete achievements in games. The developer added 6 different achievements for you to fulfill, including:

  • Full Gas – reach 70 mph speed
  • Roadrunner – Drive 100 miles
  • Wrong Way – drive backward 10 miles
  • Flying car – Fly for 2 seconds
  • Upside down – knock over a car
  • Transporter – lose all boxes of the cargo truck vehicle

It’s nice to have achievements in games, but this is nothing special and I don’t see it as something that rewarding. I think it was better if those achievements lead to unlocking new cars and track items, but just for the sake of an achievement, I don’t see anything exciting about, but many do, I mostly interested in just trying to pull off amazing stunts, have it recorded on video and share it with you guys.

RC car stunt on ramp in RC club game
You can make a stunt like this in your living room with RC Club!

Now each car has its own performance characteristics for Weight, Speed, and Turbo. Obviously heavier cars will move slower. The “Turbo” feature is a virtual pedal which you tap on the screen that boosts the speed for a short time. This is necessary to make stunts like driving a car on a ramp and make sure it can do an aerial trick and land back down on the ramp. I tried it with just driving the car forward, and it didn’t work. You can alternatively use to speed boost track item to boost the speed of the car once it passed through it. Tip: you need to position the boost track a bit further from the 90-degree ramp to make it work. If you put it too close, the car will just tackle the ramp and stop moving.

If you take the Cargo Truck, a car which is recommended for parking, stunt and free driving, you can cause the boxes to fall down if you are not careful. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that, but you can create a local multiplayer game where you and a friend need to drive over a ramp and compete who can do that with losing as fewer boxes as possible. This is just an idea and because it’s a sandbox game, you can create your own mini-game idea and play it with a friend on the same device.

Track builder in RC Club iOS game
The Track Builder. Great feature, but not expansive as I wanted it to be.

The game has a nice feature which once the RC car gets out of the screen boundaries, it shows an arrow where the car is located. The neat feature that prevents you from looking around and searching the car if you lose track of it. It happened to me many times when I used the Turbo button.

Here is a gameplay video that I’ve recorded earlier today. Just keep in mind that it’s jittery because I wasn’t able to shoot at good conditions. It was raining constantly and the floor in the house is a solid color and isn’t good for games that require large space. I will share better footage once the weather is better, promise.

Game Controls

RC Club features simple controls that allow anyone to enjoy playing this game (the game rated 4+ on the App Store). You have 9 buttons in total.

  • Left and Right arrows use for steering
  • A break (reverse as well) and gas pedal
  • A “Turbo” pedal that boosts the RC car’s speed
  • Track builder mode and an edit button to change or remove or duplicate an item
  • A button to respawn the car
  • A pause button – shows a menu where you can go back to the main menu, reset AR center, show achievements, how to play guide.

In the main menu, you also have the option to change the speed units from mph to km/h, disable menu music, restore purchases, watch the game credits, and enable Haptic vibration and 3D Touch gas pedal in case your device supports it. I am using the 9.7 iPad 2017 and those two features are disabled (grayed out), so I can’t provide any opinion about it.

RC Club iOS game screenshot
For me, the best part of the game was being able to pull off some crazy aerial stunts.

I personally found the controls to be not comfortable. It just hard to control the movement of the car by tapping on the screen, especially when you add traction and other forces involved. That small delay of moving your finger from left and right when the car moves fast is enough to lead you to lose control of it. I prefer the wheel control in AR Mighty Angry Stun Cars but even then, it felt really annoying driving a car in 3D space. However, this is not the main problem, the main problem is that you can easily get confused once the car changes orientation and it’s no longer faces the front. Even in a simple Stunt Car driving game like “AR Mighty Angry Stunt Cars” I found it hard to control the car. Now, this is just me not used to these type of controls, but some of you might feel right at home.

I’ve played that game for two hours and still got confused. There is no replacement for a keyboard and mouse or better, a wheel control. They could have used the gyroscope to detect the device orientation and use it to steer the car, but it’s an AR game, it would lead to a very bad AR experience.

Now there is something in between, like was done in powARdup, which is probably a preferable way to control a car in the third-person perspective in augmented reality. However, this is good for that particular arcade-style game and wouldn’t be a good fit for a realistic RC car simulator.

I also recommend that you play RC Club in a large open environment for several reasons. First of all, it’s easier to steer the car and drive it towards a specific location in a large space. Second, you can build a larger and more impressive stunt track. Third, it’s more enjoyable watching the car soaring up in the air from a bit further away than playing in a small space and follow its movement with the camera. Fourth, You can use the “Turbo” without always worrying that the car gets out of the field of view of the camera.

RC Club can be played also in a small space, but trust me, it shines when played in a large open space.

I don’t understand why the developer didn’t offer a way to resize the game, so I can use a smaller car and items. It would make it so much easier and accessible playing the game in a small space. It’s not that it breaks any game rules or something. In fact, I actually wanted to try it in a larger scale, place a much larger car in the park and see it doing an aerial trick on the ramp at 10 meters height—but the game doesn’t allow me to do that.

One last thing that I want to talk about is the track builder. There are few different type of tracks. It would be amazing if there was an option to use a 3D feature to create and adjust your own ramps, adjust your own physics, etc. Just type “RC car ramps” on Google images and you can see what I mean. Ther are so many cool types of ramps, wouldn’t it be cool to have a 3D tool that allows you to control the size, height, and escalation of the ramp? It would make this app so much better as a sandbox game. If you feel like being creative, you can actually do that and drive an RC car in this amazing sandbox app called Playground AR. Bottom line, there is still room for improvement here. RC Club would have been so much better with more advanced sandbox track builder, not just relying on the default items.

Graphics

3D RC yellow monster truck
RC Monster Truck, nice details, looks badass!

RC club Augmented Reality Motorsports features nice visuals but not something that wowed me. I mean, I like the grungy look but some of the ramps are just thin banded planes with low-texture images. The car 3D models look good, but not impressive after close inspection. Having said that, it’s not a big issue in this game because you play the game from a bit further away from the car and the track.

I also didn’t like some of the visual effects of the physics items, they look cheap. The graphics just didn’t seem to have a unified design. The shadows looked a bit weird, kind of blurry and washed off. They also appeared darker under the car and lighter under the tracks. On the positive side, the lights did affect other surfaces and I liked the sparks that appear after the car intersects with the side of the tracks. I also liked seeing the skid marks when your drift, it looks really nice.

AR Experience

I really enjoy driving RC cars in augmented reality, I really enjoy this type of experience and RC Club is no different. I don’t have a remote-controlled electric car at home, so it’s nice that I can enjoy this experience virtually in augmented reality.

On the positive side, it takes a few seconds to start using the game. You select the car, point the device toward a surface, move it around a bit and tap to place the car. I know the scanning process is annoying, but this is how all ARKit app work, it’s not there is something wrong with this particular AR game. Just make sure you play the game in a well-lit environment with a textured surface.

The physics work really well in this game, and this really translates into a really fun RC car driving experience. As I mentioned earlier, the game is best played in a large open area but you can just drive the RC car freely in the living room just for fun.

The game takes a big turn once you buy/unlock the other tracks. If you read my reviews, you know that I like AR games that take good use of the vertical space, the y-axis. I like seeing 3D objects fly up in the air. The main reason for this is that when I look at the ground, I don’t get to fully enjoy the mixed view of the virtual and the real world and it makes it harder for me to perceive depth.

Once I’ve set up those vertical ramps, I could drive the car up and do amazing aerial tricks. It’s at that point during the gameplay sessions that I actually started enjoying playing the game. I am still baffled by the controls, but I do understand that it can take me a few days to get used to it. It’s just something different. I am used to mouse and keyboard, so moving to a new type of controls take some time. I had the same transition problem when I tried playing with a PS4 controller for the first time. After a few days, it was like a second nature. I remember when my brother tried to play Call of Dusty on my PS4 for the first time, he asked me: “How the hell you can play like that?”, he couldn’t even move an inch. I just wanted you to be aware of that because you might suffer from the same thing that I did. If you love the game, give the controls some time.

Augmented Reality is a perfect technology for this type of game. However, it’s kind of disappointing that ARKit can only detect surfaces. It would be so cool to be able to drive a virtual Remote-controlled (RC) car on real-world surfaces. Just imagine a game like that with achievements based on real-world surfaces. People will motivate people to get their virtual RC car outdoors and go to complete those achievements.

Overall, it felt good controlling the different Remote Controlled cars in augmented reality. Just keep in mind that the game was developed as an RC car realistic simulator. If you want a similar experience (although less realistic) with levels and goals, you probably want to check out AR Mighty Angry Stun Cars.

Conclusion

RC Club – AR Motorsports is a fun and exciting RC car AR game. As much as I enjoy playing it, I still think that it is very limited in its offering. The controls are something that you can get used to, but with just 4 cars, limited level designer and inability to control the game size, it just feels very limited in what you can do with it. I also think that it would be amazing if there was an option to choose a surface to drive the car on, like grass, mud, etc.

Regarding the track builder, it would be nice to have parts that can be easily connected using hot points so you can connect them like a magnet. It would make it so much easier to build complex tracks. Having said that, the selection is small anyway, but if it was to expand, I would have loved to see items that can be attached to other items to make it easier to create complex tracks fast.

The best part of these types of games is that they should give you the tools to go crazy and create your own amazing car tracks. I many times I can load up this app just to drive a car around. I  want to be able to create new amazing tracks so I can record my stunts and share them online. I am telling you, the best part of this game is not the free driving, yes, just making some drift feels great but it’s all about pulling off amazing stunts.

RC Club is a fun RC car experience. I’m still seeing myself creating great tracks outdoors and sharing great stunt videos with you guys. I do recommend downloading this game, and I can’t wait to see what stunts you were able to pull off, just don’t forget to record it and share it with me.

P.S. in the upcoming days I’ll bring much better gameplay videos. It’s not my fault that it’s raining nonstop lately 🙂