Real Racing Review

Real Racing is the best racing game to hit the iPhone so far, bar none.

You already know all the details about this amazing title, so I’m not going to spend a lot of time re-hashing details about how the game is played or what features the game has. Instead I am going to focus on the review, what’s good what’s bad, and why you would be interested in looking at this title. Now, just in case you have been living in a spider-hole the last 12 months here is a basic rundown of Real Racing’s features:

WINNER – IGF Mobile, Technical Achievement
WINNER – IMGA, Excellence in Connectivity

- 36 cars in three classes, a dozen unique tracks, five game modes
- Three divisions to play through
- Massive career mode with 57 events to complete
- Ten licensed music tracks from indy artists
- Six cars on screen
- Touch or tilt to steer
- Manual or automatic acceleration and braking
- In-car cockpit view or external camera
- Local multiplayer over WiFi
- Online league play
- Online leaderboards
- Video replays on YouTube
- Create personal leaderboards at

The Good

img_011The first thing that will grab you in Real Racing are the amazing graphics. Even the intro is rendered graphics, not video. In game the menus are perfect, highly contrasted, clear typography and easy usability. In game I’m always impressed by the level of detail. First, in the levels you have trees, signage, crowds, everything that makes this feel like a real racing experience. While driving you will even get lens flare while driving toward the sun. Second, you have details in the way the game is designed. In the cockpit view you can see your driver shift, the details in the steering wheel & gauges and even the seams in your racer’s gloves. The graphics in Real Racing will blow you away. The frame rate is quick, and the details and scenery are spectacular.

img_04The graphics are great, but I think an even greater stand out is this games technical prowess. Not just in rendering pollies, but how it does it. When you start the game, it takes about 10 seconds to load up, not bad. But throughout the rest of the game there isn’t a single load time above a few seconds. Even when loading up the the race, it only takes a second or two. Many 2D games don’t even load this quickly. Firemint put some serious time and effort into making this game run as fast and lean as it’s cars in game do. During the game you will also notice how quick everything is, the framerate is very smooth with no slowdowns. I have also never had the game freeze up on me. Real Racing is SOLID. The game is so well crafted it creates an experience you may not have thought possible on the iPhone.

img_05Real Racing uses realistic racing sounds and music from indy artists to create a very exciting audio environment. The music is an amped up soundtrack that will keep you pumped up and ready for more while the sound effects bring real racing sounds to the game. My favorite is the crowd sounds as you pass by. One very interesting thing about the sounds in Real Racing is that it seems tuned to work with the iPhone speakers instead of constantly badgering you to use headphones. Headphones will enhance the experience, but you won’t feel like your missing much using the built in speakers. It seems they made a conscious effort to use the higher end sounds that just work better on the iPhone’s default hardware.

photo-3The controls and UI in real racing are highly polished and well thought out. Realizing the iPhone is a portable platform, Real Racing will ask if you want to enable game sounds, before anything else. This is a much appreciated feature, especially by those who play iPhone games covertly during meetings and such. Unlike other racing games who seem to stick with one or two control methods Real Racing really lets you dial in your game experience. You have 4 different control schemes that let you choose between tilt and accelerometer steering, touch to accelerate, or auto img_0062accelerate, even use a wheel. You can tweak your tilt sensitivity but what really makes the game unique is the brake assist. Brake assist essentially lets you choose the difficulty you play at. With brake assist on high you can focus on steering and acceleration (or just steering depending on the control scheme you fixed) you won’t post huge numbers, but it makes the game very accessible. On the other end, when you turn brake assist off, you will use your full concentration easing off the gas and tapping the brake to make those tough curves. With brake assist completely off you can post the fastest race times, and it makes the game experience dramatically different (I think better).

img_03Finally let’s talk about the racing experience. You’ve heard us talk about this in previous posts, and on the podcast, but it is worth repeating again: Real Racing is the best racing experience on the iPhone. Not only because of the features we have already talked about, but also because it takes advantage of the iPhone’s unique features. For example, you can post replays to youtube, or join an online racing league. This lets you play other people all over the world online for the best time. There are even a few types of leagues that you can compete in. To get a sense of how well the game plays, be sure to check out the video below.

The Bad

img_02Real Racing isn’t as long as it’s other portable cousins. Twelve tracks is good, but many PSP games would have more. I also wouldn’t mind seeing some plans for more tracks and more cars. Maybe Real Racing can use the in-game purchasing feature in 3.0 to download add-ons. The only other thing I’ve heard people complain about is the lack of car customization, in Real Racing now you have to unlock cars to get diffrent color variations. By iPhone standards we are still above par in these catagories, but for the genre in general we have gotten used to these features and it’s a little dissapointing not to have them in Real Racing as well.

The Bottom Line

Real Racing is an unparalleled iPhone racing experience. Firemint has pulled out all the stops to give us one of the best titles we have ever seen for the iPhone. Everyone who enjoys gaming on the iPhone should own Real Racing.

Presentation & Graphics
Real Racing’s graphics are a crowning achievement for iPhone games.

Great indy sound tracks and realistic racing sounds, tuned for the iPhone couldn’t be better.

When you buy Real Racing, block out a few hours on your schedule to play, because you will be glued.

As long as people keep playing there will always be online leagues to compete in. You could say they should have online head to head play, but their online leagues are more accommodating for the portable play style of the iPhone.

Game Rating – Editors’ Choice
Boo-ya! You need to have this game. In fact if you call yourself and iPhone gamer and don’t have Real Racing on your phone, I’m coming to your house and revoking your gamer card.

Real Racing ($9.99)

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  • Jay

    cool. I got it and it was everything I was hoping it would be except, the lack of variation in cars. :) still a VERY good game

  • Rock $ Rolla

    NOw this is real racing


    one of main things i enjoy in a car racing game is customization. unfortunately i cant have that in this game. But after reading the review, Nacho, you have convinced me to buy it.

    Hopefully they add the in game purchase system after the 3.0 update and include customization. Than this game will truly be the best on the iphone (even though it still is).

  • Luke

    Great review, the game looks great. I’ve been waiting for this game and Star Defense for a long time… I’m huge console racing fan, but haven’t liked any of the iphone racers yet. I’ve found them all extreamly boring. I WAS a big fan of tower defense games until I got bored with them all. I would have snatched it up in a second if it came out 6 months ago… So, which one should I get or should I pass and wait for the next big thing?

  • RayFlower

    Erm, solid?
    I have had this game hang on my ipod touch a dozen times already but it only happens during the leagues (un)fortunately, look up their forums and you will find many cases of issues like this.
    Another issue is that for some users they actually have to reformat their ipod and sync everything back in order to make the app work(black screen).

    Other than that, good review it is definitely the best iphone racer available.
    Also the online component of this game is very interesting and adds lots of value to the game.

    I think this game proves that motion detecting peripherals can compete with joypads in the long run, I do actually prefer using motion controls over my psp these days.

    It’s really exciting to see that the iphone development is going in this direction, more and more exciting tittles appear on a weekly basis and they only cost a fraction of what sony and nintendo charges for portable games.

  • jon

    it should be mentioned that the game DOES NOT HAVE LICENSED CARS, TRACKS.i.e. BURNOUT STYLE

  • Neuro Linguistic Programming ·

    online racing is of course fun to play too, i always bet on it when money permits ”

  • Pine Wardrobe ·

    online racing is of course fun to play too, i always bet on it when money permits *

  • UPVC Windows %0A

    i would really love to bet on online racing, i think it is kind of exciting ‘`”