Grand Prix Story - Manage Your Own Racing Team
After giving us the chance to manage our own game development studio and our own hot spring, Kairosoft are now giving us the chance to manage our own racing team in Grand Prix Story.
Grand Prix Management Made Easy
Grand Prix Story is very similar in style to Kairosoft's previous titles, in this game, you're given some money and you have to build a Grand Prix team capable of winning races. You start with a team of mechanics and a driver and you have to develop a car. Once you have a car, you can start entering races, which gets you more money, which you can spend on researching new parts for your car and training your driver.
Try to make sure your driver is well rested on race day in order to make sure you get the best out of him. You don't have to worry about any strategy in the race, your driver will set a qualifying time to place on the grid, then you watch a single lap race.
Graphics and Sound
If you've played Kairosoft's previous titles, you'll know what to expect. If you haven't, then you can expect an isometric 3D view, with basic, but cute, cartoon style graphics. As with Game Dev Story, there are little animations to show your mechanics working away, and your driver in training, but when you enter a race, you get to watch it, so you can get important feedback on how your car compares to the others.
The sound isn't really a lot to write home about either, with a fairly repetitive soundtrack, although you do get some nice upbeat jingles when you achieve something in the game.
Overall, Grand Prix Story, doesn't exactly push the technological limits of your phone, but both graphics and sound are in keeping with the overall feel of the game.
The gameplay is very simple, just try not to run out of money (although the first time you come close to running out, you'll be given a bit extra to keep you going). You'll need some mechanics, a car and someone to drive it. As you progress through the game, you'll unlock new staff, be able to research new parts for your vehicles and unlock new vehicle types. You'll also unlock more races, and the opportunity to get sponsors so you can make even more money (some sponsors also unlock different parts for your vehicles). You'll also unlock slightly less useful things, such as the paint shop, giving you an opportunity to add a different color scheme to your vehicle.
All of these improvements cost research points, as well as money, both of which you can earn by entering races. You can also earn more research points while repairing and upgrading your car, and sometimes, your driver gets an aura, which can lead to improved stats for whatever your team is working on. This can boost your chances if you use it during a race.
After you progress far enough through the game, you'll unlock your first Grand Prix series, where you have to compete in several races one after the other, earning points (and money) depending on where you finish. It's important to keep your vehicle well repaired, or better still, fill your garage with more vehicles so that you can alternate, or use one that's better suited to each specific kind of race.
The game is controlled through a series of menus and the game plays as though it has been made touch screen compatible, rather than adapted for a touch screen. Although you have to confirm most of the options that you select, so it's hard to make a wrong choice, it can be a bit too easy to initially choose the wrong option sometimes. Fortunately, you can bring up a directional pad, which can make choosing things a little more accurate.
Like Game Dev Story, Grand Prix Story is capable of making minutes turn into hours, as you enter "one more race" to see how much of an improvement your latest changes have made to your vehicle. There's also a certain satisfaction from seeing your car overtake someone on a corner, or crossing the finish line in first place that makes you want to keep playing it.
As much as I enjoyed Game Dev Story, I've not really had the urge to go back to it after my first play through, but so far there seems to be a lot more to Grand Prix Story, and I can see it taking up a lot more of my time.
The Final Verdict
Along with Hot Springs Story and Game Dev Story, Grand Prix Story is the third of Kairosoft's management games for Android, and is another very enjoyable game. It is guaranteed to suck away at your free time (and possibly your not-so-free time as well). There's also a demo version available at the Android Market, so that you can give it a spin (sorry) before buying.