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Gear.Club Stradale Review (iOS/Apple Arcade): A New Racer That Favors Style Over Substance

The latest entry in the Gear.Club racing game series made its debut on iOS last month. The studio behind the franchise, Eden Game, was at the helm of Gear.Club Stradale’s development too, which is probably the main reason not much has changed when it comes to game mechanics and the actual content.
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Above all else, Gear.Club Stradale is an arcade racer that is trying, and successfully manages, to cover a niche between more serious racing games like the GRID series and other arcade racers such as the Asphalt series. It’s easy to pick up and just as easy to master since it doesn’t support complex control mechanics like manual gears and such.

On the bright side, Gear.Club Stradale does a few things very well. For example, it’s the perfect game to play on the move. You don’t have to prepare for a race in Gear.Club Stradale, as each event is quite short (1-2 minutes) and doesn’t require players to make any adjustments to their cars.

Visually, the car models look fine, although the environments are very disappointing visually, which creates a weird contrast between the two. For a game that wishes to elevate the joy of racing through an idyllic region like Italy’s Tuscany, I find this a major letdown.

To emphasize on the casual aspect, Gear.Club Stradale lacks any sort of complex settings for the cars. Although you’ll be able to upgrade them with various parts using in-game currency, it won’t make too much of a difference when racing against the AI. There are three types of control schemes you can select before starting to play Gear.Club Stradale, which can be changed anytime if you don’t feel comfortable: arrows, touch gestures, and controller.

Gear\.Club Stradale screenshot
Although I have to say that using the controller is the best way to play Gear.Club Stradale, using touch gestures feels just as good. Also, don’t expect any extra features that your controller supports to be available in Gear.Club Stradale (i.e. vibration), but this is probably not a major issue.

In Gear.Club Stradale, you race in very short events that start to repeat very fast. To start playing, you must either join a Club or create your own. The game coerces players into the social aspect by forcing them to adhere to a Club or play offline otherwise. The only other option would be to create your own Club and play alone, but that will prevent you from joining Carta Stradale, a series of time-limited events meant for Clubs with multiple players. Don’t get me wrong, the Club system is good as a way to accommodate players with the social part of the game, but there’s no similar alternative for those who wish to play solo.

Once you create your own Club, you’re free to start racing through the picturesque region of Tuscany. Well; that’s reality, the actual game looks a lot worse. That aside, races award players with two types of currency and two types of experience, depending on their performance. One type of currency is used to purchase additional cars, while another is used to buy upgrades for your cars. Also, you’ll receive the experience that counts toward your pilot rating and for your workshop. To unlock additional supercars and the tracks, you have to increase your pilot rating, and that will take a lot of time.

There’s a lot of grinding to be done in Gear.Club Stradale, and while the racing part is enjoyable, the fact that races are very short, you’ll be quickly bored by the fact that you’ll have to race the same tracks over and over again.

One other interesting aspect about Gear.Club Stradale is that it offers another opportunity to spend your hard-earned money: customization. You can buy new paint, bumpers and other cosmetics for the cars you own, but they are very expensive. What’s strange is that they rotate after several hours, and there’s a high chance that there won’t be any customization items for your cars in the next batch listed in the game.

Gear\.Club Stradale screenshot

Conclusion


Gear.Club Stradale tries very hard to look stylish, and while this is partially true (car models look nice), the overall racing experience doesn’t feel that “premium.” Choosing Tuscany as the main hub for races was definitely a good decision, but this isn’t backed by the actual visuals in the game.

If you’re craving for a short burst of adrenaline that only a speed race can give you, Gear.Club Stradale is definitely not the game to provide you with one. However, if you’re looking for a chill, casual racing experience and you don’t mind the massive grind, Gear.Club Stradale will scratch that itch, especially if you have friends to play with.

Rating: 70/100

 
 
 
 
 

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