Developer: Firemint
Price: $9.99
Version Reviewed: 1.00

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★★
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★★
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★★
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Car racing sims on the iOS have to walk the extremely fine line between being realistic and fun. Unlike consoles and PC’s that can use all sorts of add-on accessories, the iPhone is limited to the accelerometer and the touch screen. Games in the past, such as the Need For Speed and Asphalt games are quite fun, but mobile gamers crave that Gran Turismo experience. The iOS has taken some huge strides in the past year, so iOS gamers now expect brutally tight turns, beautifully detailed tracks, and real, shiny cars.

For me, Real Racing 2 lies somewhere between a Need For Speed game and Gran Turismo. First off, the car selection is truly amazing for an iOS game (although the 1,031 cars in Gran Turismo 5 are hard to compete with). Instead of just giving you 5-6 cars to mess with, Real Racing 2 gives you 30 officially licensed cars, from street racers like the Ford Focus and VW Golf to high end McLaren MP4-12C’s and Lotus Elora’s. Each car has unique driving characteristics, unique sounds, unique interiors, and slick exteriors. Past the glossy car selection though is an upgrade system that only lets you purchase a handful of updates. Gran Turismo fanatics will be disappointed to find that they can’t tweak the weight balance and the tire pressure, but the macro upgrades provided will please the casual upgrade fiend.

The game itself is really whatever you want it to be. If you want a brutal Gran Turismo experience you can turn off the brake and steering assist and play on hard. You’ll be sliding all over the place, but if realism is what you want, Real Racing 2 can give it to you. If you want really easy, just jack all the assists to full and play on easy. You’ll never lose, but who likes losing anyways? The average gamer will probably find themselves at home on the normal difficulty with 50% assists, just enough to prevent you from marking up the track with tire marks (which are beautifully detailed) but still let you have some difficulty to work with. I still haven’t decided if playing on hard with 80% assistance is really all that hard, or if playing on easy with no assistance is really easy, but I am happy to have options. Just fiddle with the game a bit and you’ll certainly find what you like best.

On the technology side, Real Racing 2 is certainly one of the prettiest games to ever grace my iPhone screen. It won’t make you weep tears of joy like the first time you turned on Infinity Blade, but it is very nice. Small touches like a readable speedometer and identifiable dashboard parts are nice, and the tiny but legible fonts throughout and the minute details on the trees and buildings are more impressive then they could ever possibly sound. On another front, Real Racing s also allows you to compete in 16 car iOS races, which may be the most impressive feat of multiplayer gaming ever on a mobile device. Amazing stuff.

In the racing sim category of the App Store, there really isn’t another game that is as impressive as Real Racing 2. It really does have everything that you would want in an iOS racing sim, from the nice selection of cars to the various racing tweaks to the outstanding graphics. The bottom line is that Real Racing is now the App Store’s Gran Turismo.

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