If youâ€™re a follower of iPhone games, then youâ€™ve probably at least heard of Real Racing. Itâ€™s by the same talented people who made the insanely popular Flight Control, and sports some of the slicker 3D graphics to be found on Appleâ€™s devices. Itâ€™s also a very competent racing game, thankfully.
And now, with the release of the iPad, we have Real Racing HD available at our fingertips. As the name suggests, itâ€™s the same game, but scaled up to take advantage of the bigger screen real estate. Is it still a worthwhile game for racing fans? Read on to find out.
For those not in the know, Real Racing plays like an arcade-style racer, but with the sort of content (tracks, cars, etc) normally found in simulator-style games. You can adjust steer/brake assists if you please, but itâ€™s still going to feel fairly simplified for those who love the intricacies of Gran Turismo or Forza. The basic setup has you accelerating automatically, tapping the screen to brake, and steering by tilting the iPad.
Letâ€™s talk about those controls first, because theyâ€™re often the most important aspect of an iPhone/iPad game. Unless youâ€™re used to this sort of thing, the tilt steering may take a while to get to grips with. Youâ€™ll certainly need to spend a few races working out the sweet spot between under-steering and over-steering â€” and in the meantime, get used to slamming into walls while the opposition zooms ahead.
Once you do get the hang of things, the controls work nicely. Iâ€™m a bit torn between the iPhone and iPad versions, however â€” while the larger iPad allows for greater nuance in your steering, it feels less comfortable holding it up for longer lengths of time. Regardless, itâ€™s probably still worth sticking with this control scheme â€” overall, itâ€™s better than the virtual steering wheel you can use instead.
Thereâ€™s a fair amount you can do with your new-found virtual driving skills. Quick races let you dive into the action, but most things are locked from the outset, so youâ€™ll be wanting to invest some serious time into Career mode. Here, you can play through a wide variety of one-off races and larger events, unlocking new tracks and cars along the way. As you progress, youâ€™ll also return to old races on higher difficulties. The content here will keep you busy for some time, and getting ever-better cars is (as always) a great incentive to keep going.
Online is limited to posting your best times, or racing against the ghost cars of other peoplesâ€™ attempts. Itâ€™s a shame there isnâ€™t true Wi-Fi multiplayer â€” it would have expanded the lifespan of the game considerably. Still, if youâ€™re the competitive sort, trying to beat the times of everyone around the world will keep you coming back.
And finally, to loop back to the beginning of this review, the graphics are really pretty. Cars are wonderfully rendered, and while the background scenery can be a little plain, it all speeds by so fast and smoothly that you donâ€™t really notice. The overall aesthetics (from the menu screen to the music) is also impressively coherent and consistent, and serves to emphasise the classiness of the product.
As far as racing games on this new platform go, you canâ€™t do much better. If youâ€™re a fan of the genre, go forth and pick this one up. While itâ€™s expensive for an iOS title at NZ $13.99, thatâ€™s still only the price of seeing a movie. Of course, if you already have the iPhone version, thereâ€™s basically nothing for you here â€” if thatâ€™s the case, you should wait for the sequel.