F1 2011 (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Andrew 02.09.2014

Review for F1 2011 on Nintendo 3DS

Whilst many consoles get a new F1 game every year, Nintendo gamers have generally not been so lucky. Three years later, and F1 2011 is still the only choice available for the Nintendo 3DS. As expected, it covers the whole 2011 Formula 1 season, with all 19 tracks, 12 cars and 24 drivers present. The game follows the standard formula for F1 simulation in many ways, but as ever, the devil is in the detail. Whilst it does many things reasonably well, there are issues that crop up to prevent F1 2011 from being a must-buy, even for F1 fans.

The first impressions of the game are not particularly good. The menu screens look very bland and the significant (but by no means ridiculous) loading times don't help either. Getting stuck into a race, the first surprise is the way the cars handle. Whilst it's not bad per se, it certainly takes some getting used to. Of particular note is the car's tendency to slide about under acceleration. This appears to be a way of representing tyre wear, but the feature plays too big a role in the handling of the cars and makes it tricky to jump into races without practicing first. Once used to this quirk the controls are adequate, but still feel somewhat unnatural.

On the positive side, the main menu reveals plenty of modes available from the get-go, and races can be customised in a variety of ways. Whether it's a wet time trial, a quick race, a full race with pit stops or any number of other combinations, players have plenty of choice. Of all the modes, Challenges is a particular highlight, adding some variety by giving specific criteria to be fulfilled in order to progress (for example, finishing a race on dry tyres as it starts to rain). Purists may disagree with the arcade style of some of the challenges, but they are definitely fun and they complement the portable nature of the game by providing short bursts of entertainment.

Screenshot for F1 2011 on Nintendo 3DS

After a few races it becomes clear that the AI is less than perfect. Thankfully other racers don't act irrationally or do the impossible, but they do occasionally lack the finesse required in close combat racing, particularly at race starts. Being hit from behind at turn one is rather annoying to say the least. Admittedly races can usually be restarted without too much hassle, but that doesn't solve the fundamental issue and it feels like a very poor solution. Another mild annoyance is the occasional frame rate drop when the action heats up, particularly when playing in 3D. The drop is noticeable, but it is not great enough to ruin the experience. It is also somewhat forgivable given the sense of speed and full grid that are requirements for the game.

As with most F1 games, the sound of the cars fills the speakers, and there is also a race engineer feeding important information (such as gaps to cars, penalties etc.) via radio, just like in a real Grand Prix. Although standard, this arrangement works well enough, especially given the large amount of information necessary to fully follow a race. In addition to the driver's position, other factors such as tyre wear and usage of KERS and DRS must be taken into account (for non-F1 fans KERS and DRS are basically speed boosts that have certain restrictions). The lower screen is sensibly used to display some of this information, and for the most part the game does a good job of giving the player what they need.

As a final note, both local and online multiplayer are included, as well the ability to exchange timing information via Street Pass. The local multiplayer mode plays pretty much as expected, but due to the learning curve for controlling the cars it lacks the instant fun of say, Mario Kart. The online mode, meanwhile, suffers from a lack of players, probably due to the title's age. Overall, the multiplayer is a welcome addition, but isn't the main reason the play the game.

Screenshot for F1 2011 on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 5 out of 10


Overall, F1 2011 is an adequate attempt at bringing an F1 sim to the 3DS. It's unfortunate that little niggles in important areas (particularly with regards to the controls and AI) prevent it from reaching its full potential. For F1 fans it is certainly worth considering, but those who are not already fans of the sport may be less forgiving of the game's flaws. F1 nuts or anyone that finds it cheap can give it an extra point.


Sumo Digital







C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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