Real Racing HD was a huge success when it released earlier this year on the iPad. With updated graphics, bigger screen real estate to use and some of the best touch-screen controls I have ever seen now has a new update which brings online gaming via Game Center; Apple’s answer to Xbox Live and PSN.

Lets talk quickly about the games extensive single player experience. Boasting 76 events, 12 tracks and 48 cars in four different classes; hatchback, sedan, muscle & exotic. You have Career Mode, Time Trial and Quick Race.

In Career Mode you enter events which consist of three races. Win races, earn points. Racer with the highest points wins. Overall the Career Mode was great. There was none of that idiotic, rubber band AI. Instead, if you took the lead, you could hold that position until you crash or lose control of your vehicle and swerve of the road. Time Trial and Quick Race modes are pretty self explanatory. One sees you race one lap around a track in a certain time for a gold, silver or bronze medal and the other allows you to set up a race if you don’t have enough time to set up the Career Mode. Little tip though, you need to play through the Career Mode in order to unlock more cars and tracks for Quick Race.

The controls are simple and very effective; use the accelerometer to steer, tap/hold the screen to brake and automatic acceleration. If you’re not so good at braking, you can use assisted braking. You can use on-screen controls but, if you want my honest opinion, use the control scheme I mentioned above coupled with the games cockpit view and you have one of the most authentic racing games on a mobile platform. It handles so well that I was moving around the tracks at breakneck speed while still being in full control of my vehicle.

And now, the online functionality. With Firemint recently releasing a multiplayer update, I got the chance to try it out and see how it all works. And that’s just it, it works, surprisingly good. But it’s still, unfortunately, flawed. I struggled to find people in lobbies bigger than one person.

The online mode uses Apple’s Game Center to pit iPad users against each other via the Internet — think of something along the lines of Xbox Live or PSN. It’s virtually lag free, has an easy-to-navigate UI but, it was hard to find actual people playing. I tried searching for bigger lobbies with more players, but it just wasn’t happening. So, I searched for a one against one race and found a game pretty quick. If you can, add some people on Game Center and you can invite them to race against you online.

What struck me the most is it’s ease of use. I could walk anywhere in my house and play online against someone I have never met — on an iPad. When you actually find someone to race against– it’s extremely worth it. The sense of excitement & tension increases when you know you’re playing against a real person rather than an AI. It’s personal.

The online leagues are fantastic and kept me coming back everyday. It’s highly competitive and lets you play out your racing career against real people. Leagues are time limited. You start of a season consisting of a group of races that must be completed by a set date or time. Once all of your races have been completed the season is over. You earn points in a race if you place well, and at the end of a season the driver with the most points wins. Simple but very effective and adds an extra layer to this racing game.

  • Free Updates
  • Leaderboards
  • Online Gaming
  • Achievements
  • Customizable Cars

There’s not a whole lot that needs to be fixed in Real Racing HD but, all this game is crying out for is support. Support it with updates containing more car/track packs. I would love to see some more race tracks in future updates.  Maybe, Nürnberg? Please.

Andrew’s final say: Real Racing HD could be, if not already, the best racing game on the iPad. With it’s sublime controls, beautiful graphics and online functionality, you can’t go wrong buying this one.