Appletell reviews Real Racing HD for iPad

Sections: iDevice Apps, iPad, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, Reviews

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Category: Racing games
Seller: Firemint
Requirements: iOS 3.2 or later
Compatibility: iPad
File Size: 157MB
Version Reviewed: 1.03
Price: $9.99
Age Rating: 4+

Firemint hit it big with Real Racing for iPhone, and now they’re back with Real Racing HD. This racing game is looking better than ever on the much larger display of the iPad. It has all the features you’ve come to love in the regular version, but with bigger and better graphics. If the iPhone version is feeling cramped to you, or you just want to race on your iPad, this is the answer.

Real Racing HD works on iPad because it’s made for iPad. Now, that statement might sound pretty obvious, but what I’m trying to say is that this isn’t just a straight up racing game like you’d see on a console. The difference is that this game knows that controlling a game with virtual buttons isn’t ideal. That means you have to work with what you have. The iPad, and all iDevices, have great support for accelerometers and touch controls. As such, this game excels at using the iPad’s hardware advantages to the fullest.

Real Racing HD sun spots

Accelerating happens automatically, because honestly, why would you drive slow in a racing game? Braking can also be set to happen either fully or partially on its own. Some races will force you to do it on your own, at least to a certain degree. If only they could automate steering right? Just kidding, that’s up to you, but it couldn’t be more intuitive; just tilt the screen as if it were the steering wheel. If you want to be even more precise, here’s what I do. Instead of turning the iPad like a giant knob or steering wheel, position the iPad parallel with the ground and tilt it to the left or right side. This may make steering for you more precise; it does for me, anyhow.

Now, I know what you’re saying; “That means that Real Racing HD is less skill-based than something like Gran Turismo.” Big surprise. I really don’t think that Real Racing HD is aiming to topple Gran Turismo. I’m betting their aim is closer to making driving and racing on an iPad enjoyable, yet still as challenging as you want it to be. It’s unlikely you actually want on screen buttons to control everything. Steering with accelerometers just makes sense. And the auto braking is a godsend for average gamers. It’s not for the hardcore racing gamers, and that’s fine. But it’s more difficult than it sounds. Even on semi-autopilot, you still need to be pretty good. Career mode actually builds you up pretty well, starting you off will slower cars with most everything on auto so you can get the hang of things.

One quick side note. With the release of iPhone 4, the non-HD version of this game may have an edge over the HD version. Why? Well, if you have an iPhone 4, then the non-HD version makes use of that retina display for a denser image. Plus, steering has never been as precise as with gyroscope support. That means that the image may be smaller, but it should look better, and the game should be more responsive overall. So, if you have an iPad and an iPhone 4, it will be extra hard for you to choose between versions of this app.


When you fire up the game, you have some choices: Career, Quick Race, Time Trial etc. Quick Race lets you pick a track and race it against some computer opponents. Time Trial is pretty similar, but you’re just going for the best track time. These two modes are great when you’re short on time. But when you have more, Career mode is where the meat of the game is. There are more races and tracks here than you’re ever likely to have time to even get to. All race details are kept track of in your profile. That’s so you can see how much better than you everyone else is online.

That’s okay, though, because the races are great fun. It’s not like you’ll just pick a track and race on it (you can do that in Quick Race mode if you want). These races group tracks together, meaning you’ll need to have good times and placement on more than one track at a time. You compete against the computer to earn trophies, which are again, tracked in your profile. The more races you win, the more in which you can participate. You’ll also move up from lower to higher classes of cars. These challenges should keep you motivated to keep playing. No one really wants to race with a sedan, but you’ll have to get good at it if you want to race with something better. It’s actually a good way to get a grip for the controls and overall game so you can appreciate the game when you earn your way up.

What I really like about this game is that it’s so accessible. It’s fun for just about anyone, from those of us who hardly ever game, to those of us who do nothing but play games. The controls are intuitive enough to not really need instructions, but there’s depth to Real Racing HD that makes it appealing to the gamers looking for more. You can play one race and then quit, or race all night. The game is totally what you want it to be.

Real Racing HD turn

The only thing I’d really like to see in this game is damage. When you hit a car, they get nudged. Or, if you drive straight into a wall, you just stop. It’s not a huge deal, and I’m sure it takes up a lot of processing power, but it would really be nice to see some form of damage built into this game.

There are more than enough racing titles on the App Store, but you really can’t go wrong with Real Racing HD. It’s designed specifically for iDevices, and has been adapted well for iPad. What I really like about FireMint is that they update their apps for new features very quickly. It didn’t take them long to take advantage of the iPad’s unique features with this release, nor did it take them long to update Real Racing to support retina display and the gyroscope for iPhone 4. That’s the kind of customer satisfaction you aren’t likely to find present with other titles on the App Store.

Real Racing HD is iPad racing at its best.

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Real Racing HD Review

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