Updated 7/17/2009: Version 1.10
In the first major update to Real Racing, Firemint have added some great features including 6 player local Wifi multiplayer, a new Exotic car class, and OS 3.0 improvements. Also included is a Team Flight Control painted car.
[caption id="attachment_14484" align="alignright" width="300" caption="New Exotic Car Class"]
Here's a full list of the updates to the 1.10 release:
- New vehicle class: listen to the distinct roar of a V12 engine and experience unsurpassed speed and control with new exotic vehicles
- Support for up to 6 players in local WiFi multiplayer (up from 2 players)
- Select your favourite songs from your personal music library while racing (iPhone and iPod Touch OS 3.0)
- Completely new game soundtrack with 10 original music tracks composed specifically for Real Racing
- Even more content in Career Mode with an exotic vehicle qualifier and two new championships
- New control method: touch-wheel-to-steer, manual accelerate and manual brake
- Increased smoothing of the horizon tilt feature
- Various improvements, bug fixes and OS 3.0 compatibility updates
Version Reviewed: 1.0
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The last build I saw of Real Racing was an early beta build from March. I've had this build on my phone since then, and loved it. Problem was, it was far from perfect. I could barely get a lap in without it crashing. Ah, betas. But now, the racer has been released and in the hundreds of laps I've run in the past few days, it hasn't crashed once. On top of that, everything looks smoother, better rendered, and is easier to control. So, I'd say that the delay was well worth the wait.
Real Racing is a sort of hybrid racer. It isn't an arcade racer -- sorry, no nitro boosting or drifting challenges. It isn't a racing sim either -- no tuning or upgrading or 55 race seasons you must sequentially work your way through. It's sort of a hybrid of the two, taking the best parts of each. It has unlockable tracks and cars like you'd have in both, unlocked as you progress through various races and improve your skills. It also has different classes to race in with cars that handle very differently. It also has fast paced action without requiring the tedious qualifying some sims require.
There are multiple game play methods in Real Racing. The main one is career mode. In this mode you are progressing through increasingly difficult circuits, unlocking new tracks and cars as you meet required times and positions. Pretty standard stuff for a racer, but well implemented and paced.
There are three main classes in the game, hatchback, touring/sedan, and muscle car. Each progressively gets faster yet harder to control. You can unlock extra classes and extra cars in each class as you progress. If you win gold in a particular circuit, you unlock an additional divisions in that particular circuit which get progressively harder.
The AI in the game is downright brutal. Very well done and one of the reasons for the delay in the game. Apparently the AI became so good in the game that it started to cheat. Just like humans. Thankfully they tuned it down before it became self-aware and threatened to take over the world. So even though it was tuned, it will still be more than happy to push you off the track repeatedly just be being in the way.
Other game modes include quick race - this lets you race any unlocked track, class, and car in a simple race where you set the number of laps. You can choose to race alone or with opponents.
Time Trial mode lets you race a single lap to set your fastest time.
In addition to these single player local modes there are some unique and very innovative online modes which we'll cover later.
Graphics and Sound
The visuals in this game are absolutely fantastic. Perfectly rendered and wonderfully smooth, this could be the best looking game we've seen yet on the iPhone.
The game comes with multiple music tracks to act as a soundtrack, which just like every other game I play, I nearly immediately turned off. The sounds while good are a bit repetitive and could use a little more variety.
The controls in Real Racing are a little out of the ordinary for a racing game. For one thing they offer great flexibility with 4 different control options including 2 modes to steer by accelerometer and 2 to steer via on screen finger control. After testing all four methods, I find myself switching between the two main methods. While the accelerometer control is good, it is sensitive enough that it can be a little difficult to get the turns just right.
The on screen steering control, method number 4, works pretty good for this but it's easy for your finger to slip out of the control area.
The coolest and best implemented feature of the control schemes has to be the assistive braking. This allows you to concentrate on just the steering and let the computer to break and accelerate when needed. You always have the option of touching the screen to brake if needed. The assisted braking can be adjusted to reduce it's aggressiveness. At it's default, it can slow down your lap times considerably, though this works well when you are juts learning the game.
Online Modes / Connected Races
This game uses Firemint's custom Cloudcell server to allow unprecedented online leaderboards and multiplayer league play. Once you create your account you can sync your career progress and your fastest laps to the server to participate in worldwide leaderboards.
The Cloudcell servers also allow what could be this games most unique feature, racing leagues. The leagues allow you to compete in multiple different asynchronous racing competitions varying in the class cars used. These competitions are done in multiple rounds where everyone in the league has a set amount of time, which varies based on the league, to complete the same race and submit their time. The racers with the fastest time gets the most points. At the end of the competition, the racer with the most total points for all of the races in the league wins.
The leagues are set up in a ladder format where the top people at the end of a competition move up the ladder and the worst scores move down the ladder. This works surprisingly well, but requires that you keep track of when your next race is due if you miss it, you'll likely be out of the running to move up in the league.
In addition to the leagues, the game provides a head to head local multiplayer that is done over wifi. I have yet to be able to try this method out but look forward to it.
Take a look the the following game play trailer for Real Racing from Firemint:
Real Racing came in at what we now consider the top tier of game pricing in the App Store, $9.99. That's going to disappoint some people... probably the same people that pay $60+ for console games without blinking, but this game is well worth it. I know people are skeptical of a game at this price point, and we've seen racing games at this price before, but what we haven't seen is a racing game with this quality and this depth before.
Everyone at Firemint should be congratulated, they have truly created the fantastic racing game on the iPhone. I can't recommend this game enough. If we had an editor's choice award, and maybe we should, this would get it.
Grab it now and I'll see you in the leagues.