With the iPhone’s accelerometer controls at their disposal, developers have been making all sorts of racing games for the platform. The ability to simply tilt your iPhone right and left to steer is an incredibly useful feature, and game makers are crowding the category in the iTunes App Store with countless racing games, from bikes to slot cars, boats to supercars.
As you may know, I’m a racing game fanatic. I prefer the road-racing, realistic games with an arcade feel that use real street cars (none of that NASCAR BS.) Project Gotham Racing 4 is my current favorite, and I’m very much looking forward to Need for Speed: Shift. But when I’m away from my Xbox 360, of course I need an iPhone racing game to keep me entertained. I’ve played quite a few iPhone racing games, and while most of them are at least somewhat good, Real Racing by Firemint promises to overtake them all, and provide the most console-like racing game for the iPhone to date. That’s a big statement to make…did they pull it off?
Upon starting up, Real Racing gives you options very similar to that of console-based games. You can run a Quick Race, start Career Mode, Time Trials, edit your player’s profile, and race multi-player over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Once you start a race, you’ll be amazed at how detailed the graphics are for a game on the iPhone. There is no jittering or freezing when other cars are on the screen, and you can switch views from outside the car to a cockpit view. Sound is also very good with realistic engine and tire sounds, and the game includes 10 songs by indy artists, or you can listen to music from your iPhone.
Many of the other racing games I play on the iPhone suffer from poor controls using the accelerometer. Either they’re too sensitive or too numb, and it makes controlling the car frustrating. Real Racing somehow got past that limitation and provides excellent control of the car. If you still don’t like using the accelerometer, you can choose to use on-screen controls instead. By default, acceleration and braking is automatic, but you can switch them off and use on-screen throttle and brakes as well, if you want.
The gameplay itself is great, with a full-featured Career Mode with 57 events letting you unlock 48 different cars and 12 tracks, and a multi-player option to race your friends over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Some of the coolest things about the game are the features you won’t find on other games, such as the ability to upload your video replays to Youtube, local multiplayer, and online leaderboards.
Overall, Real Racing is without question the best iPhone racing game I’ve ever played. Firemint is releasing regular free updates to the game as well, providing more cars and more features. With their recent price drop to only $6.99, it’s a must-buy for any fan of racing games.
Disclosure: Writer was provided a copy of the game for purposes of review