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 www.cloudcell.com
The 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.
The 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.
Real 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.
The 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 accelerate, 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).
Finally 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.
Real 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.