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Import Tuner Challenge review

Meet the New Tokyo, same as the Old Tokyo


  • Obsessively tweaking your car
  • Racing on major Tokyo thoroughfares
  • Huge number of rivals to put down


  • Endlessly circling non-descript freeways
  • Driving for miles to get to parking areas
  • Rivals either amateurs or racing gods

It's moved to a new platform and the name it on its license may have changed, but the Tokyo Xtreme Racer franchise is running on bald tires at this point. Import Tuner Challenge sets street racers loose on virtual recreations of Tokyo's major highways and while there's plenty of tire smoke, there's precious little fire.

You start out with some cash, a selection of similar sedans to choose and the first tier of specialty upgrades. The story, such as it is, is merely to climb the ranks of the racing underground in a quest to claim the top spot. Cars handle with sufficient variation, if not necessarily completely convincingly, and the experience of pimping them out with new engines, transmissions, vinyls and ludicrous spoilers sticks close to the crowd of tuner titles on the market. However, here there's considerably more freedom to scale, position, and flip your whip's adornments.

Import Tuner Challenge's tracks clearly shoot for realism, and they succeed on that score, at least insofar as one who's never driven in Tokyo in real life can tell. As invigorating as it feels, at first, to know that you're driving on real world streets, realism outweighs all considerations of gameplay enjoyment. Circling the C1 Loop time and time again can only remain compelling for so long, but it becomes even more repetitive than you'd expect simply because the mechanics of progress aren't varied in the slightest. Hop on the street, haul ass to the your nearest rival and race him until one or the other of you make enough mistakes to deplete your "spirit points."

More Info

DescriptionTuning cars is only so much fun in and of itself, and Import Tuner Challenge's endless freeway of indistinguishable opponents and frightening lack of personality do little to evoke Tokyo's vibrant street racing culture.
PlatformXbox 360
US censor ratingEveryone
Release date26 September 2006 (US), 26 September 2006 (UK)
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