With the N-Gage now acknowledged by Nokia as somewhat of a failure, it seems sad that a few games are now appearing that could have given the system a much better chance of success had they launched earlier in its life. System Rush is one of these 'better' games and while its premise is ludicrous and its gameplay is simplistic, it's a fun and stylish arcade racer.
Don't laugh, but you play a hacker who can hack into servers and then race in courses, that have a Tron-like visual style, inside the server, which just so happen to be themed in styles fitting to the server's location. You race in a craft, similar to what you'd find in the F-Zero games, against rival hackers or drone ships that are in the server. Your goal is to win each race, either by destroying all opponents or by finishing first.
As you progress you can upgrade your craft using points you've earned from previous races, but this ends up making the game incredibly simple. It's not until the very end of the game that any real challenge is presented to the player, and the power-ups that can be picked up along the tracks just make things even easier. Gameplay itself is very simple, with the ability to jump being the only novel feature. This is necessary to cross some track obstacles and to pass opponents on narrow sections of track, but isn't anything to get too exited about.
Despite the N-Gage's limited power, it's the presentation that really stands out. The neon covered track designs (which strangely feature symbols and landmarks from their home nation) all look great and the game moves at a brisk pace once your craft has been upgraded. The game also pumps out some pretty good techno beats that fit well with the hacker theme and bright colours the game uses.
If you're into multiplayer gaming on the N-Gage you can link up with another player via Bluetooth and even share your best-time ghosts. It's great that these features have been included, but unless your town has a disproportional number of N-Gage owners in it, you're unlikely to be able to make use of them.
System Rush isn't a complicated game, and even though it has a story that revolves around hacking, the actual gameplay is just as you'd expect from a futuristic craft racer. It's one of the best presented games on the system and is genuinely enjoyable in short bursts. If you're looking for another game to add to your meagre N-Gage collection, System Rush should be on your short list.