There are a number of schools of thought when it comes to driving games. Some like to focus on reality, on tweaking and tuning and shaving fractions of a second off your lap times.
Others like to let you do loop-de-loops into jumps, smash into the rock wall of a mesa and then backflip over a steam train. Crash Drive 3 definitely fits into the latter category, and it’s pretty darn marvelous.
The game essentially gives you a vehicular playground packed with ramps, jumps, secret areas and floating paths. It’s up to you to go explore, pull off ridiculous tricks and compete in the challenges that the game throws in your general direction – y’know, if you fancy it.
There are other players doing the same, and you can bash into them, help them, or completely ignore them. There’s a sandbox feel to everything, albeit a sandbox that you’re churning into dust under the spinning tyres of whatever car, van or truck you’re driving at that particular moment.
The touchscreen controls are pretty slick – although it’d be nice to have an option to move them around a bit, since they can sometimes be a bit fiddly depending on the size of your thumbs. When you’re in the air the buttons that let you steer and accelerate let you flip and spin.
You can play online or offline, and you keep your progression across both of them – cars and cash you earn offline can be taken online when you get a connection. Your cars get better just by using them, and you’re always sucking in cash from one source or another while you’re driving around.
Crash Drive 3 is a rich, chaotic experience that urges you to push things a bit further. Try that backflip, go and climb that hill, explore and play and have a lovely time while you’re doing it. It’s got a few niggles, for sure, but they’re not enough to put you off coming back for more.