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Racing Games for iPad Reviewed: Need for Speed Shift, Real Racing HD & Asphalt 5

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There are three racing games for the iPad, with three different approaches and a very different experience in each. What is most surprising is how good the cheapest of the three is in this collection.

Need for Speed Shift

Need for Speed Shift for iPad is an impressive title, as you would expect from EA. That said you pay for it as it is the most expensive at $15, which is almost $5 more than the nearest competitor. Its impressive graphically and plays well with one minor flaw. In order to get it to function after you play the game once it is necessary to re-start the iPad. If you go out of the game, to say look at your email, and pop back into the game it refuses to load and spins on the load screen (its a wheel so the expression is especially apt). Having to restart the iPad completely before playing this game again can be a nuisance. The fact it has yet to be updated to correct this problem is a bit worrying.

Graphics are amazing; controls are almost as good as the real thing (I drive a WRX). This is a great game that takes advantage of every single nuance of the iPad. The fact you can select an in-car view while using the iPad to steer is pretty nice. Of the three this is the easiest to learn how to control and the least frustrating to play. While it takes a bit to get the nuances down, once you do it’s a great pick-up game for a race or two.

It’s a game with lots of promise and a small nuisance that will only affect people who need to check other things while they play their game. Its probably a bit short, for the cost, but it does have more replayability than the other two. Maybe when they update the game, a few tracks will be added as compensation. The game is rated 4+ in the iPad App store.

This game can also be found on: PC, PSP, Xbox 360 iPhone.

Real Racing HD

According to the reviews of this game, or at least the ratings, this is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Unfortunately, what those ratings don’t tell you is that its clunky controls and awful racing experience means it gets old fast. This title is meant to be more sim than arcade, but it fails in this task. Despite repeated tweaking of the controls and trying all possibilities, it does not work as well as the other two titles in this group.

Another massive annoyance is that any contact with other cars leads to your losing places. The A.I. seems to never suffer from any contact, as well as always driving the perfect line every time. Even the smallest mistake leads you to fall way back and its very hard to catch up. The A.I. never seems to have that problem. The most basic series seems to be an advert for Volkswagen, while the rest of the series are more lackluster in car appearance. The game just never really inspires a sense of fun and gets annoying quite often.

The “real” element to this title is lacking. It should be harder to drive a car in a game than it is in real life. All the added bells and whistles to this title do not halt the fact that the racing is sub-par and frustrating. Unless you are a glutton for punishment or have loads of time to dedicate to learning the ropes, avoid at all costs. The game is rated 4+ in the iPad App store.

This game can also be found on: iPhone.

Asphalt 5

This title does not pretend to be anything approaching real. Physics, reality and all else fly out the window. While this makes it fun to play, it can be a bit frustrating at times. Like Need for Speed, the cars in this game are recognizable, but it’s the various add-ons that really make the difference.

Bizarrely, for this sort of game, it is relatively easy to earn loads of money, while unlocks seem to be much harder to accrue. More or less, you have to win races to achieve unlocks, which can be frustrating. Older players will be reminded of all the arcade racers we used to pump quarters in our youth. The garish graphics, cheesy starter girl who provides different bonuses all have a nostalgic feel to them. This is an excellent game for those wanting to fill short periods of time. Races rarely last very long.

I am not convinced that the actual characteristics of each car are that different, if all have the same pieces of bought kit. For instance, its just as easy to run someone off the road on a motorcycle in the “cop” race as it is if you are driving the X6. The motorcycles seem to be rather slow compared to the other vehicles, which seems counter to logic.

That said this, the cheapest of the games at $6.99 is as enjoyable as the most expensive. The speeds are silly fast and it quickly becomes twitchy as you you advance. However there is nothing wrong with that and the game rarely gets to a point where it gets frustrating or boring. The game is rated 4+ in the iPad App store.

This game can also be found on: iPhone.

In conclusion it’s a good thing that the best game of the bunch is the one that is the most expensive. What is most impressive is that the cheapest of the three is good fun, for a while at least.

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