The race to claim the iPhone’s racing game crown has been more of an F1-style marathon than a quick drag race. First, Asphalt 4 had the crown, only to be overtaken by its Gameloft buddy Ferrari GT. Recent months saw even those giants eclipsed by Fast & Furious and Need for Speed.
However, there’s a new contender, and it’s way out in front. We’re talking, of course, about Real Racing. We urge you to go and buy it if you’ve any interest in convincing racing on the go, but do read on to find out why.
True to its title, Real Racing is the most realistic racing title seen so far on the platform. You start off racing fizzy-engined hatchbacks. Full automatic breaking is enabled at the outset, meaning that for a while you’re left either simply tilting or tapping the edges of the screen to turn your car.
Not desperate to chuck you into the deep end without the proverbial paddle, Real Racing lets you happily coast your way through the first tournament without changing these settings. However, to discover the depths of its game engine, you need to take off the training wheels and start to challenge yourself.
With not a nitrous oxide boost button in sight, once you move onto racing faster cars against more challenging opponents, there’s a learning curve you have to climb up to be able to compete. Unlike any other game we’ve seen on the iPhone, in Real Racing you can actually tell the very moment where your car starts to under- or over-steer and act accordingly.
Although Real Racing offers four different control methods that use both the accelerometer and touch controls, you need to try and accept the public embarrassment factor of holding your iPhone like a steering wheel to get the most out of Real Racing. A feature that’s works better than it has any right to, you can even make the screen tilt as you move your iPhone, meaning the image stays more-or-less upright.
There’s more to Real Racing than just the depth of its physics though. For a hardcore racer, it’s keen to make sure that even casual drivers get their share of thrills. In each of the vehicle classes, there’s a pair of tournaments. Complete these with a passing grade and you’ll get to move onto the next class.
Although completing even to this level gets tricky, you never have to grind away at your driving skills to progress. The different types of vehicles handle completely differently too, with the hatchbacks reliable but relatively slow, the touring cars faster but more prone to slipping on the road, and the muscle cars just plain, well, scary.
It’s after you’ve screeched your way through the initial difficulty level of the tournaments that the real enjoyment of Real Racing can begin though- as the game hooks its claws into you, egging you on to try and beat you previous laps over and over again. Thanks to its built-in Cloudcell connectivity, you can even record your best times online and compete with other racers too.
Although we were impressed with Firemint’s work on I-play’s Fast & Furious, it’s thoroughly outpaced by Real Racing. If you’ve been looking for the iPhone’s answer to Gran Turismo or Forza Motorsport, look no further.
Real Racing info
Website/Demo: Firemint’s website