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We generally agree with the old axiom that it’s best not to judge a book by its cover, but in the case of the Real Racing 3, we’ll make an exception. It’s got 46 real, licensed cars, real-life tracks including Spa, Laguna Seca, Brands Hatch and more, and some of the most realistic graphics we’ve seen on iOS. It’s also the third game in the series, but you might have figured that out already. Who says truth in advertising doesn’t work?
Since 2009, Real Racing has been the go-to choice for iOS gamers looking for an automotive challenge that’s a bit more demanding than the average arcade-style romp. The series has been one of the few to successfully offer in-depth gameplay while remaining surprisingly accessible to casual players. Real Racing accomplishes this via a slew of customizable, intuitive control schemes. The default setting only asks the player to steer, via tilting or the touchscreen, while more advanced players can opt for the much more challenging, but faster, manual everything with no assists.
The game's accurate tilt steering and assists make these supercars surprisingly manageable.
While it's currently out in Australia, Canada and other territories, RR3 won't hit the US until Feb. 28 – so while we wait, here's a look at what to expect. In addition to its multiple race modes, RR3 also brings something it's calling Time Shifted Multiplayer to the table. TSM allows for competitive multiplayer between you and your Game Center/Facebook friends regardless of when you’re playing, by adapting your racing style to an AI bot that represents you in your friends' races. This ensures that you’ll be racing against some familiar faces in virtually every event, which is a lot more exciting than competing against faceless bots.
Real Racing 3 has caused a little concern amongst longtime fans with its jump to a freemium model, meaning that it’s free to download, but certain features can be unlocked more quickly with the game’s real-money currency, gold coins. Vehicles accrue damage as you race them, meaning that if you slam it into a wall you can expect both decreased performance and a repair bill. Like other freemium games, the services and repairs take real time to complete, though those in a hurry can pay a few gold coins to bypass the wait. The developer we talked to was quick to mention that every portion of the game can be unlocked via regular gameplay, however, and at no point does it ever require the player to use gold coins.
Real Racing 3 looks primed to be one of the premier mobile game this year, pushing the iOS hardware to new heights while offering both a fun experience for casual players, and a legit challenge for those willing to sink their teeth in.