Motorcycle speedway is essentially four to six racers using one gear for four laps round an oval track, with competitions having a series of heats which lead to finals and an eventual winner. This core simplicity doesn’t translate fantastically well as a videogame experience, since only one finger is required to play FIM Speedway GP 2012 and once you’ve mastered turning left at the right moments for the right amount of time you’re pretty much guaranteed to win every race.
In spite of that, there is some fun to be found playing this. A kind of therapeutic fun that isn’t so much derived from the “adrenaline-fueled thrills” that Vivid Games promise, instead from a gratification similar to how rhythm games engage you at a base level. Press a button at the right time and you’re rewarded with what you wanted to see and hear; likewise in Speedway GP 2012, tapping/pressing your Android or iOS phone screen at the right time rewards you with the required speed to win and a roar from the bike your rider’s on.
This is a game for a commute, quick bursts of thumb fun to detach from what’s around you. There’s only one racing line which ranks your effectiveness percentage as you race and (like the Need for Speed: Shift games) sticking to the driving lines becomes quite important to you as you progress towards trophies. Motorcycle speedway racers in reality use multiple lines but for the sake of this handheld replication, a singular line is displayed to you and only on the outside lane regardless of where you are on the start line.
This is both a detriment and appropriate; this tactical dilution may gripe speedway fans but in turn this makes the game more approachable and fun to master in the small doses Speedway GP 2012 is best enjoyed.
Speedway GP 2012’s aesthetics from slick menus to polished race-day presentation is strong enough to envelop you for these optimum brief periods – it has impressive visuals for a mobile game, even in this day and age – and good use of real-world locale with a lot of attention paid also to bike and racer details means that race-day atmosphere simulation is a success and you may find yourself slipping into that dangerous ‘just one more’ territory. Twelve real-world tracks and fifteen licensed racers to choose from, along with an upgrade system for your chosen racer means there’s some longevity provided here to counter potential boredom during sustained sessions.
An online component would have been a welcome addition, what with the evolution of the mobile game now accommodating expansive online capabilities. Speedway GP 2012 is a game that would only have benefited from such an inclusion; there’s only a Quick Race function or a twelve-grand prix career to choose from in the way of modes and outside of upgrades not a lot in the way of customisation options to tinker with.
FIM Speedway GP 2012 is very simplistic but has enough going for it to prevent instant purchase regret. There are games with less for more on Google Play and iTunes and if you’re looking for a new game to add to your phone this is worth a look.
Version reviewed: Android v1.1.0