Real Racing Review

Sorry, Fastlane.  Move over Asphalt.  Stick to your cut scenes Need for Speed.   The best iDevice racer is here, and it’s Real Racing. It’s safe to say the Firemint’s simulation racer was well worth the wait.


There are five racing modes in Real Racing: career, quick race, time trial, local wifi racing, and league racing.  Career is the meat of the game.

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Events are spread across three car classes:  Hatch, Sedan, and Muscle car.  Each class of car handles radically differently, so there is plenty of value in competing with each class.  Before competing in the circuits for each class, you are required to complete a time trial lap.

Depending on your time, you can unlock the C difficulty for each event.  If you don’t make it in the bronze time, you must try again before moving on.  Each class of car has two circuits, each of which are comprised of three races of varying length.

If you get gold on a circuit, you unlock the next difficulty level.  All in all, you can test your skills in 57 events in the career mode.  In addition, earning various awards in career unlock new cars.  There are twelve cars for each class, for a total of 36 cars. Some hardcore console racing fans, however, might be disappointed at the lack of upgradeable parts for each vehicle.

Quick race, obviously, is the mode if you just want, well, a quick race.  Time trial lets you improve your fastest lap times on whichever courses you have unlocked, and you can compare your times online with the Cloudcell service.  In local wifi racing, you can compete with your friends over a local wifi connection.  League racing is definitely a unique game mode.

Using Cloudcell, you join an online league and compete in timed events. Your times are compared to other users in your division, and you are ranked according to the fastest time. If you do well in your division, you can move up to higher divisions with more skilled racers.

Overall, the actual gameplay is fantastic. Real Racing, as a simulation racer, has something no other iDevice racer has: it feels real.  There’s really no other way to describe it, but the grip, break, acceleration, turning, and the sense of speed all feel incredibly accurate.

The AI is really what pushes this game over the top.  The AI racers, in all difficulties, are not just there for show to line up at the starting line and then follow the same line the whole race. The AI play like other human racers, and they will happily crash into you if it gives them edge.  While playing, it is hard to believe they are not human racers.  They force you to adapt your strategy- you have to look out for them when you’re ahead and jostle with them when you’re behind.

real2I only have one minor complaint about the AI: sometimes they’re too aggressive.  Because there is no limit on the amount of damage a car can take, they will continue to crash into your car, or even wait until you’re starting a turn and then knocking you off course.

The controls are highly customizable, and there is a setting for everyone.  There are four main control options: accelerometer steering with auto acceleration and manual brake, accelerometer steering with both manual acceleration and braking, touching the screen to steer with auto acceleration and manual braking, and touching a virtual steering wheel to steer with auto acceleration and manual braking.

Of these, I preferred control set B, the tilt steering with manual acceleration.  The tilt controls are very responsive and accurate, and feel like using a console steering wheel.  There is also an option to customize accelerometer sensitivity. Another great option is brake assist.  Brake assist, depending on the degree to which it is chosen, slows down your car a certain amount before curves.

This is great for beginners just learning to steer, but in order to beat most events, you will need to turn the brake assist down as it slows you down a lot.  There is also a rearview mirror, which is activated by pressing the top center of the screen. However, the rearview takes up the whole screen, and whenever I activated it, I was passed by other cars as it becomes tough to maintain focus on the road.

The graphics in Real Racing are worthy of more superlatives than I can muster.  The tracks are varied, and each one is detailed beautifully.  The cars are very detailed, but there are no large distinctions, other than color, between each car.   However, I agree with Firemint’s decision on this, as this is a simulation racer, and I don’t want to see a minivan racing a Ferrari.

There are two possible views: the default, a “cockpit” view, and the more traditional 3rd person car view.   Although the 3rd person view may provide a slight advantage gameplay-wise in that you can see more of the area around your car, I much prefer the cockpit view, as it provides a truly immersive experience.

The only problem with the cockpit view is that the display numbers like laps, place, time, and speed are a little too dim.  Overall, however, whatever view you choose, the graphics are incredible, and I couldn’t believe I was playing an iPhone.

The audio in Real Racing is superb as well.  Real Racing has 12 different tracks from indie artists, all of which are great, intense driving songs.  Where the audio really shines though, is with the sound effects. The sounds of the screeching tires are fantastic, and the sounds of the engine were both realistic and heart-pounding.

Real Racing is what it claims to be, real.  Firemint’s time and effort that went into this game are readily apparent in every race.  This is hands down the best racer for the iDevices, and any racing fan should already be clicking on the app store link now.

The Good

  • Feels extremely real
  • Incredible graphics
  • Fantastic online connectivity
  • Human-like AI
  • Control scheme for everyone

The Bad

  • Sometimes AI is too aggressive
  • Rearview mirror is tough to use
  • Numbers can be too dim in cockpit view

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Leave a comment
  • MichaelMurtagh

    “The audio in Real Racing is superb as well. Real Racing has 12 different tracks from indie artists, all of which are great, intense driving songs. Where the audio really shines though, is with the sound effects. The sounds of the screeching tires are fantastic, and the sounds of the engine were both realistic and heart-pounding.”

    I Just Wanted To Add That Well The Music And Engine Sound Effects Are Great, The Sound Of The Other Cars Hitting You Are Pretty Bad. It’s The Same Sound Each Time, And Gets Very Old After Awhile.

  • mede

    wow, ive been following the hype and counting down the days until this game came out. it is hands down the best racing game on the iphone, and perhaps the best quality game period. it has console quality graphics, cool views from the inside of the car, and makes you feel so involved.

  • dogcat

    The graphics on this game look amazing! The online features (league via Cloudcell and wifi racing) would definitely keep me coming back for more. Hopefully this baby will go on sale before too long.

  • flash09

    its sounds amazing,with innovative graphics, it looks so much better than asphalt 4. This game looks like a five star one.

  • Ricky

    WOW. this game looks SOOOO awesome!!!! if only it’s a bit cheaper…

  • fleabag323

    This looks great! Definitely is the best racing game on the iPhone. The cockpit view seem to add a lot to it too!

  • jonesin

    from the pics and videos the graphics look amazing! And an appversity editor’s choice award? You cant go wrong!

  • jonesin

    and does anyone else see that defenders chronicle picture instead of the last one? lol!

  • Will

    Thanks for the tip. Fixed!

  • Charlie

    best racing game ever

    you feel like sitting in a car

    the graphics are 5+/5

    its like on pc

  • Functional Disorder

    Holy crap this game looks sick!!!!

    Can’t afford it right now but I’ll keep fantasizing about it!!

  • Chumbake

    Wow, great review. This game looks amazing. I’ll definitely own this game at some point. There’s so much content. The number of races, cars, and just the amazing quality. And all this on a phone??? Wow!

  • baseballbaby86

    ahhh…the $10 premium game. Just from reading this review, im so very tempted to buy this game. However, this poses a real dilemma as for $10, i could buy many more cheaper games that are still fun. but the graphics, depth, and control may be too much to handle. Alas, i dont have any itunes money right now so this problem doesnt really affect me. Anyways, keep up the good work appversity!

  • MichaelMurtagh

    Trust Me Premium Games are Generally Worth Every Penny, Especially This One!

  • Raoupp

    I rather used my $10 iTunes coupon on more of cheaper (but still great quality) games than on RR, but this is definitely my next purchase (after a sale) if I won’t win this time…

  • ErichD

    The cockpit view gameplay is just sick!

    Anyone else think it puts Project Naral’s “Hold your arms in the air for hours and pretend you’re steering” to shame? ;)

  • VoodooVyper

    Looks great, nice review. I noticed NFS had it’s price lowered after this was released.

  • im.irish

    The graphics look really good, but to me the graphics from NFS looked a little bit more refined. The gameplay looks extremely fast, and this definitely joins the group of apps that are good enough to be of “console quality.”

  • MichaelMurtagh

    I Just Wanted To Bring Up That The Second Attachment When Clicked Brings Up A Completely Unrelated Picture.

  • robertf224

    this game looks pretty beast. Driving in first person looks pretty great

  • Glenn

    Congratulations to “ Robertf224 ” You have been selected as the winner of the free application contest from appVersity.com

    For those of you not familiar with the free Premium code give away contests we have here please visit this url and start winning free apps today! You would be crazy not to!

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  • Bessamy

    OMG, OMG, OMG!!! Wow! This looks absolutely awesome! My husband was walking by while I was watching the video and he couldn’t help commenting. We agree, if the game is like the video it really draws you in and blows you away! Wow!

    I haven’t really been interested in a racing game until NOW. Well done Firemint! Real Racing indeed!

  • tims8

    Ahh that cockpit view is just enticing…looks like we’ve got a decisive leader in iphone racing games.Firemint has already scared EA into dropping the price of NFS lol

  • themendoz

    Honestly, I didn’t thint the developers would be able to deliver such an amazing experience, but they seem to have been able to deliver in every aspect. What excites me the most is the A.I. which I’m dying to try out. I think we are closer than ever to destroying the PSP and the DS with this quality.

  • wubb

    This game looks amazing.

  • Locus

    The graphics are beautiful for an iPhone game. It seems like a lot of 3D iPhone games have gone back to Playstation quality graphicsc, but these are top notch.

  • iD-Alan

    Looks like the most well built game for the iDevice.

  • Clymos

    I have heard raving comments about the AI in this game. I have yet p purchase a real racing game for the iPhone and I have a feeling this will persaude me once I have the ability to download it.

  • greenhornet9

    looks and sounds awesome from your review. The graphics are amazing, and i heard despite agressive ai, it makes it seem human-like. Ive been dying for a racer on my iphone and hopefully, this is it!

  • MichaelMurtagh

    The Graphics Are So Good For What They’re Being Played On. It’s Amazing

  • kdhomick

    This game looks spectacular. Sounds like it’s blowing all other racing games away. I really hope that I win this one!!!

  • Super

    THIS IS AMAZING

    I own this game –PLEASE IGNORE ME FROM DRAW–

    This game is definately worth the money if you don’t win!

    5* amazing gfx!

  • palmer11000

    Wow! this game looks even better than what people have been saying about it, which was pretty good to begin with…

    i really like how there is wifi racing too!

  • JCman7

    WOW I cant belive you guys are giving this great game away! SWEET!! Great review it makes it seem even better then I already thought. Too bad AI can be too hard and agressive I dont know why games do that sometimes although it should be like that to make it competitive

  • Will

    The AI will seem unnecessarily aggressive if you’re a beginner, but if you’re hardcore, you’ll love the AI.

  • JCman7

    Ok cool, as long as they are not as agressive like in the game Days of Thunder then im good lol

  • Will

    No definitely not that aggressive.

  • JCman7

    Well thats good to hear THANKS!

  • Kevin Stauss

    Everyone I talk to who has this games says that it’s nothing short of amazing. Personally, I’m not a big fan of racing games, but Real Racing does look pretty awesome.

  • Mr. Charley

    All I read everywhere is how good this game is. I’d love to give this one a whirl….

  • vaturko422

    The graphics look really great on this one. I love simulation style racers and haven’t gotten one yet for my phone.

  • inogard

    Ahhh yeah. Real Racing… my most anticipated racer on the phone.

    I’m a huge fan of the Forza / Gran Turismo style racers and I was thrilled when I heard they were making something like that for the phone and I will definitely be buying it shortly.

    It’s funny that I still think 9.99 is a lot for a game when I paid $50 for Gran Turismo years ago. We are so spoiled by the marketplace.

  • cathy

    Whoa. What bman said.

  • bman

    Holy crap this game looks amazing, blows every other racer away.