Blog: Secrets from the Chef

Three top racing games for the iPhone

Dmitri JoukovAuthor: Dmitri Joukov
1 January 2009

What do you use to keep your hands busy outside of home or work if you are already holding an iPhone? The answer is simple – download and play games. I like racing simulators. Honestly, I was rather skeptical about the first releases of racing games for the iPhone, since a good racing simulator requires buttons if not a steering wheel with pedals. “The iPhone is a steering wheel in itself”, – my hero – an attentive reader – might object. Now imagine that you don’t have to hold on to your steering wheel in your car because it is not attached to anything. You just have to swivel it in the air. Sounds odd? But the game developers together with Apple suggest that we do just that.

Despite all possible inconveniences in controls, racing simulators for the iPhone come in abundance. You can race on virtually anything from bikes and jet skis to weird flying saucers.

Need For Speed Undercover

EA just could not do it wrong. EA delivered a good product but very much arcade. The good old racing times are back: a car runs its way following its track, the track slightly changes its direction without any chance to turn into a sideway. Although you can drift, slow the time down, buy new cars or indulge in tuning. Dynamic and exciting gaming process is served. The main upside of NFSU is an unbelievable level of graphics. Compared against others, it appears as though EA has crossed the borders of unreal. Prior to NFSU nobody has ever shown such graphics.

Bottomline: Exciting arcade racing game for 4-5 days.

Fastlane Street Racing

This is the first fairly good racing sim to hit the AppStore. All of the previous stuff was absolutely lame. Very complex but still very engaging racing game. Lots of cars, although absolutely unreal with a slight hint of supercars’ glamour in shape. On the other hand, where in the world the developers could get the money for licensing real car models? Nevertheless, all cars appear absolutely unique.

In the main game mode – arcade you get to race against opponents on various tracks that become available as you progress along the gameplay. The second setting is when you become an opponent to yourself: you need to race leaving the track safeguards in place, complete a certain number of tracks and catch up with your main opponent. Everything is timed.

It takes literally a couple of hours to get used to the controls and the game’s spirit will permeate you to ensure a couple of weeks of truly amazing racing experience. There is a light version of the game available for those of you who want to give the game a try for free.

Bottomline: cool racing sim with exciting physics for a couple of weeks.

Firemint Realracing

The freshest racing game in this bundle of three. The name to the game was awarded for a purpose, Firemint the company did its best squeezing as much realism from the Apple phone as it possibly could. To offset the game’s realism the developers included a virtual assistant, which will help you hit the brake at the right moment. Novice gamers will truly appreciate it. All the racing is done on race circuit. Cars are divided into several classes and – just like it was with Fastlane RealRacing – resemble real cars but with some weird names.

RealRacing landed on the last place for a purpose. It is great as a racing simulator but it is hard to call it diversified and exciting. For the real nerds out there, there is a cabin view with a steering wheel and a dashboard. I also need to mention that it is the only simulator from the list that evolved as I wrote the review: yet another fourth class of cars appeared in the game. A small but a neat thing.

Bottomline: The game would last on your iPhone for six months if you are really into racing games.

All of the rest racing simulators featured on the AppStore are mediocre if we put it mildly. Look for a free Lite version before buying in order to avoid further disappointment.

P.S. The steering wheel on the opening pic is not a result of my ravings but a real product.

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