When you’ve played a game like Gran Turismo 5, your standards for all other racing games are pretty high. Unfair as it sounds, car racing games on the iPhone don’t really have a chance to give you the same sense of satisfaction when you’ve played an hour – or about 1,000 hours – of GT5.
Having said that though, Gameloft’s GT Racing: Motor Academy is one of the few games on the iPhone that can go above and beyond the invisible GT Wall because, well, it kind of looks and plays like one of those old Gran Turismo games.
The whole concept of the game is pretty much the same as the GT series. You need to earn a license to be able to race. You can buy cars from the dealerships with over 100 models from 24 real life brands with some pretty awesome car selections. You can go over to the tuning shops and put in some new performance packages. And when you win races, you win money that you can spend on – what else? – cars!
Needless to say, GT Racing took the whole Gran Turismo formula and turned into a pretty awesome iPhone game.
Hit the jump for the details.
The key to making good graphics in a mobile app race game is to work within your means. That means detailing the cars and the surroundings while knowing your limitations. It’s not going to be as graphically outstanding as GT5, so don’t shoot for that star. Work with what you have and make it as believable as you can without compromising game quality for good graphics. On that end, Gameloft seems to have figured out that formula. The graphics aren’t anything to shout about, but the details are there. The cars look believable and the tracks look like they’re tailor-made for the game. Using their means, Gameloft’s graphics for GT Racing is good enough for our liking.
Gameloft uses the unique tilt steering method that seems to be prevalent in a lot of mobile car games these days. The good thing about GT Racing is that its version of the tilt-steer is about as sharp as any game we’ve played on this type of platform. The cars respond instantaneously and with great precision, which bodes well for those gamers who easily get rattled by other car games with oversensitive tilt-steering programs. From somebody who plays these games regularly, having great controls at a platform like an iPhone is a win in itself.
GT Racing’s career mode is also similar to how Gran Turismo works. Before you get the chance to get behind the wheel as a racer, you need to pass a series of driving tests first. Yeah, we’ve seen that before. When you pass the tests that increase in difficulty and complexity as you move forward, you can compete in a series of races on fourteen tracks. GT Racing’s preference for technical driving and precision makes the game sort of like a mini Gran Turismo, except with vastly inferior graphics. Let’s have some perspective here anyway, folks. GT Racing is played on the iPhone whereas GT5 is on the Playstation 3. Big difference there, so you can’t expect the former to have graphics as sharp as the latter.
And in another rather obvious ode to Gran Turismo 5, GT Racing also has a car purchase and customization program that allows you to use your winnings by either buying new cars to add to your garage, or buying customization programs for your existing vehicles. For those of you who don’t have a PS3 – or even a PSP – then GT Racing is about as close to a game as you’ll come to playing Gran Turismo. That fact alone makes this game a worthy download.
Interactivity is also a unique feature in GT Academy as Gameloft has included an online multi-player that allows gamers to put their skills to the test against other people for a nice competitive racing shakedown.
Pretty pricey - $7 - by its standards, but it gives you the closest resemblance to playing Gran Turismo 5 on your iPhone, so it should be worth every nickel and dime.
We like the whole concept of GT Racing, especially because we enjoy the experience of slowly going up the ranks while improving your skills, acquiring new cars, and being responsible for every nook and cranny of them.
What Others Are Saying
iLounge’s Take: "Gameloft deserves some commendation here. Just don’t expect to be amazed by anything except for its depth, which will keep simulation fans interested and playing for much longer than anyone else."