After a recent hands-on at Gamescom, it transpires the Android and Apple smartphone version of Wreckfest is surprisingly playable, fully featured and graphically impressive.
The PR Manager at HandyGames, Bernhard Richter, exudes calm confidence when I introduce myself at the back of the THQ Nordic B2B area. He hands me a Samsung S22 Ultra that’s running Wreckfest.
To reiterate, it’s running Wreckfest. Not some crunched-down mobile spin-off, but Wreckfest. This feels as if it’s the best-kept secret from the Austrian publisher at this year’s Gamescom event.
The real McCoy. The full career, evolving Tournament mode, replays, user interface and car upgrades. It’s here and will update over time like the existing PC and console smash-a-thon.
Things get better. On this device, in particular, loading times are the quickest I’ve ever seen for the title originally created by Bugbear Entertainment, period. The visuals during our, albeit brief, encounter are running at a smooth 60 frames per second with the option of pushing it further.
Recently I was surprised by the quality of the Nintendo Switch release, but based on these early impressions, Wreckfest Mobile looks to be a step above, far exceeding expectations. There’s certainly more detail in the surroundings than the hybrid console and greater car model fidelity.
Options, lots of options
HandyGames has been part of the THQ Nordic group since 2018, the same Embracer Group label also oversees original developers Bugbear.
“We are a developer and a producer of titles within THQ Nordic. Wreckfest Mobile is our project and we’ve been working for over half a year thanks to our mobile porting team,” clarifies Richter.
Both touch and tilt control schemes are available, with a suite of accessibility and sensitivity options in tow. But before we get too carried away, there is only so much you can do with touchscreen inputs when trying to precisely control a car handling system bordering on the serious side.
However, there is full Bluetooth controller support – Xbox, PlayStation and third-party devices like the 8BitDo Pro 2. So, if you already own a smartphone, perhaps on a monthly contract, and you’d like to dip into Wreckfest when out and about, travelling or when your partner is binging a Netflix show, this is a viable option.
Online multiplayer is yet to be clarified, but local multiplayer between separate mobile devices nearby is featured.
Buy to Play
The price and release date are both top secret for now. But, Traxion.GG was told it would be “very, very soon” and that it’s a ‘buy-to-play’ pricing strategy. No in-game ads or microtransactions, with the option of purchasing the existing Wreckfest DLC, like on the Switch release in June.
“You buy a game, you play the game,” explained Richter to Traxion.GG.
“We’re all old-school gamers here and that’s the way of acquiring titles. We create games for gamers, no matter what platform they play.”
The game is available for pre-registration on Google Play and the Samsung Galaxy Store now, with the Apple App Store to follow, and we were told the release date would be “very soon” but it’s not yet confirmed.