The AppFinity AppDrive is a steering wheel attachment for iPhones, iPod Touches, and select Android phones that works with certain games to provide a more realistic experience. Whether you’ll want to add it to your collection of gaming peripherals comes down to two questions: do you (or your kids) like to play racing games on your mobile device, and do you want to use a steering wheel to do it?
If your answer to both of those questions is yes, then the AppDrive deserves serious consideration.
The AppDrive wheel itself feels great. It’s plastic, but with textured rubber grips that makes it easy and comfortable to hold onto, and it doesn’t feel cheap like so many Wii accessories. It could have been maybe a half inch wider on each side, to allow more room for larger hands not to bump up against, but kids will have no problem. The wheel features four buttons (two on the front, two paddles on the back) that are in just the right places, and work in a unique way.
Each button is connected to one of four pads that sit over the top of the screen. If game developers map functions to those areas of the screen, then those buttons can handle acceleration, braking, camera changes, gear shifting, or any other driving function.
The drawback is, those pads end up covering up a very significant portion of the screen, which can be very inconvenient when it comes to actually playing games with the wheel. Playing MX Offroad, I had to hold the wheel at an awkward angle so that I could see what lay ahead, which would otherwise have been obscured by the wheel.
At the time of writing, there are four AppDrive-specific racing games available on the iTunes store. XL Offroad is free, while the other three range in price from 99 cents to $4.99. MX Offroad is a fairly basic title that shows how well the AppDrive can work, but if you are buying the wheel, factor in added cost for more apps. The AppDrive is also compatible with GameLoft’s Asphalt 7, which is a good start, but in the long run, the more quality games that are compatible with the AppDrive and the more varied the types of driving experiences, the better.
The GamerPops Recommendation
The AppFinity AppDrive is a very nice, very simple piece of hardware, without the software to match. In time, when there are more games available, this might be a no-brainer for mobile driving game enthusiasts that want a steering wheel. For now though, with a limited library, proceed with caution.
A review sample was provided to GamerPops.
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