The ‘Real 2009 Killer App’ for the i-Platform?

 

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So far with over 12 months of use, my i-touch has kept me occupied through many a train journey with not just the obvious music or video content: but RPG’s. Flight Simulators, Music Creation Software and even a great port of original First Person Shooter Doom, But despite all the diversity of apps vying for my attention, what game do I keep going back to, and have missed my stop because of on many occasions?….Real Racing by developer Firemint.

If you haven’t had a chance to play this yet, get hold of the free Real Racing GTI Lite version sponsored by Volkswagen that introduces the all-new 2010 GTI. You won’t be disappointed because if you give it just a few minutes on track, sliding through the apex of corners with the tyres squealing, I’m sure that like me the £3.99 price tag of the full game will seem great value for money. Lets face it in a world where we think nothing of paying £40 for a racing title on a console- what’s £3.99 in the scheme of things?

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The game itself and developer have had a great year by both receiving the International Mobile Gaming Award for Excellence in Connectivity during a ceremony held at the Mobile World Congress. And that was before the game was even released onto the market! The International Mobile Gaming Awards are recognised as the industry’s premier event for innovative mobile content. Firemint has an ongoing history of achievement at the Awards, having won in each of the last three years, the only developer to ever achieve this. Firemint Real Racing joins previous Firemint winners “Mega Monsters” for Excellence in 3D (2007), and “FIA World Rally Championship”, winner of the People’s Choice Award (2008). Apple too has recognised the game’s appeal by featuring it on their advertising, and the game has remained a popular choice on the app store since its first appearance.


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The game features a variety of different control methods to suit individual players’ preferences including choices such as accelerometer or touch based steering. Different views of the action include exterior car shots and a Real Racing cockpit view. For i-phone and Wi-Fi enabled i-touch users the connected feature that helped win the game it’s award is the ability for players to upload video replays of their best races direct to YouTube.

Once immersed you compete in Pro-Circuit racing with a variety of tracks all over the world. The car classes, like any good driving game, start tame with 3 door hatches and get progressively faster and more capable as your wins mount up. Visually the game is rendered in stunning 3-D using the developers proprietary Mint3D engine. I always prefer use the inside cockpit view with most racing games, and from my first race was delighted at the attention to detail in Real Racing. The driver is fully animated and is seen changing gear, while the cockpit instruments relay race data real-time and add to the feeling of immersion.

 

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It’s no Gran Turismo or even Project Gotham as the dynamics model is far more arcade than simulator. But Hats off to Firemint, Real Racing shows the potential of the platform and the end result is much closer to a PSP or DS game than any other I’ve played. This is the one app that I use to showcase the power of my i-touch. The tracks are diverse and well modelled with surface variations such as asphalt, grass, gravel and ripple-strips affecting the cars speed, responsiveness and handling. The backgrounds are beautifully rendered and environments like deserts and forests add to the feel of the game.

There are 5 game modes: Quick Race, Time Trial, Career Mode, 6 player local multi-player racing via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and online Leagues. In total 48 cars are available in 4 classes, with hatch, sedan, muscle and exotic all playing their part as you progress. As a fan of US Muscle cars this inclusion got my vote straight away. The tilt-to-steer option is my chosen driving method, and the ability to adjust the handling and sensitivity helps fine tune the experience.

 

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What more can I say, if you like racing games and have an iPhone or i-touch, this is a must have app even at the 3.99 price tag. Even if you have friends or colleagues who are ‘iPhone unbelievers’, this is to Apple’s platform what Ridge Racer was to the PS1…

Peter Gray

For more of the latest in the mobile phone and gaming world download the Phonica Magazine UK App here!

 

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