F1 2011 3DS review The last Formula 1 game on a Nintendo handheld was F1 2002 a decade ago so F1 2011 has a lot to live up to. Thankfully, it was worth the wait.
All the tracks, racers and cars are based on those of the 2011 F1 season, so if you want to go back and rewrite history in order to spite Sebastian Vettel by confiscating his crown, now is your chance to do so.
As well as quick race and season options, the game has a Career mode that sees you playing through three seasons, though other than the odd change of team and a mailbox system there's not much difference between this and just playing Season mode three times, which is hardly a ringing endorsement.
There's also a 3DS-only Challenges mode, which is our favourite of the bunch by far. Here you're given different, shorter tasks designed with handheld gaming in mind. One asks you to get through as many checkpoints as possible before time runs out, another challenges you to pass a set number of cars and a third has you trying to beat a lap time while avoiding moving obstacles.
You're then given a ranking depending on how well you did; rest assured, getting the triple-A rank on all 60 challenges will take an awfully long time, and so it's this mode that gives F1 its crucial longevity beyond the rather samey Career mode.
Name That Tune
The racing itself takes some getting used to, but once you've tuned your car, twiddled with the handling sensitivity and set up the various driving aids to your exact specifications it eventually becomes a fantastic racer.
Adjustments-wise, you can tweak the driver AI, weather conditions and penalty strictness, and turn on handling assistance, braking assistance, damage and random parts failures.
Once you get the hang of making small steering adjustments with the Circle Pad, racing can become a really tense experience, especially when you raise the difficulty and take weather and parts failures into account.
Visually the game's a mixed bag. F1 is always a difficult sport for developers to get running smoothly in a game because the 24-car grid can bog down processing power, but this holds its own.
The frame rate is a solid 30fps in 3D and when you slide down to 2D you get a generally smooth 60fps, with it dropping down slightly whenever there are lots of cars on-screen for it to cope with.
For the most part though, this is a nice-looking game, considering the strain it puts on the 3DS' processor.
Of course, gameplay is king and in that respect, F1 is a success. Challenge mode will take you ages and you've got Wi-Fi multiplayer too if that's not enough. It's a shame the 2011 season is nearly over now, making the game out of date, but this is easily the best serious racer on 3DS.
Want to discuss this F1 2011 review? Go to our Reviews and Buyer's Guide forum.
Like this game? Here are some reviews of other 3DS racers.