Real Racing HD. The name really says it all. This game is one of the best examples of a racing game on any platform, not just iOS. If you couple the stunning graphics with the intuitive and responsive gameplay, it’s seriously hard to beat.
Today we’re going to take a look at what Real Racing 2 HD has to offer, and look at why it’s a shining example of iPad game design.
Before we dive into the actual gameplay, I want to walk through the interface. When you launch the app, an intro movie plays. It’s easy to skip, just tap the screen, but I enjoyed watching it the first time I opened Real Racing HD.
Once the interface loads, it’s pretty obvious that this isn’t your average app. The UI is completely custom, and yet still maintains an iOS feel. You navigate by tapping buttons and swiping menus. There’s a breadcrumb nav in the top left-hand corner with your stats in the top right. While in the bottom right corner are Settings, Help, and News. I really like the interface – Firemint have done a nice job combining native-feeling controls within a custom interface.
Ok, onto the good stuff – the racing! Real Racing offers three different racing modes. There’s a Career Mode with five levels of storyline and competition. There are also Quick Race and Time Trial options packed with tracks that you’ll unlock as you progress through the Career Mode.
The Career Mode offers something that’ll keep bringing you back to the game, and really hooks you into its storyline, while not becoming too complicated that you can’t pick it up and casually play it.
The actual gameplay here is equally well done. The steering is controlled by tilting the iPad, and braking is achieved by simply tapping the screen.
When I first heard that steering was controlled by the gyroscope, I was a little skeptical. But, fortunately, it isn’t over the top. It’s not distracting, in fact it feels almost natural. It’s nice to see someone take advantage of this high-tech feature without making it feel gimmicky.
Like most games these days Real Racing offers some multiplayer options. If you and your buddy both have iPads, and are in the same room together, you can race one another. If you aren’t in the same room, and you’re opting to play online, you don’t really get to choose your partner.
There’s a Lobby where anyone who wants to race can wait, and when there are enough people there, a race is automatically started. This is can be a lot of fun, getting to test out your racing skills, but if you wanted to be more selective about who you’re remotely playing, there isn’t really that option.
Bonus: Real Racing on Your HDTV
Now this is just a bonus, since there’s some after-market hardware involved to make it work, but is really neat. If you buy the HDMI adapter for your iPad, you can connect it to your HDTV and get a beautiful 1080p output from Real Racing.
You still use the iPad as a controller, and some stats and information appear on the screen when you’re connected, but the race itself appears on your TV. It’s a pretty sweet setup that could probably only be improved by including a wireless option, perhaps via AirPlay or some similar technology.
As it stands, I’m happy that Firemint is pushing the envelope of what an iPad game can do, and I hope that other game developers follow suit.
Real Racing 2 HD is a shining example of what an iPad app can be. Taking advantage of things that only iDevices have, like the accelerometer and gyroscope, to create unique and intuitive gameplay is truly exciting.
I’m glad to see an indie developer like Firemint stepping out, and leading the pack of iPad games. I hope they continue to raise the bar with Real Racing, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.