About a week back I had a chance to visit Gameloft's Manhattan studios and have a look at their upcoming racing simulator GT Racing: Motor Academy [App Store] for iPhone. Tonight, GT Racing has gone live in the App Store and we've got a chance to take a closer look.

GT Racing is a driving simulation as opposed to an arcade racer. Gameloft likens the title to Real Racing, which it considers the only other driving simulation in the App Store. Being a simulation-style racer, it starts off much like the definitive driving sim, Gran Turismo. You are presented with a few initial challenges (accelerate to maximum speed and then come to a stop between the lines, etc.) that must be completed before your achieve your first racing license. From there it's a Campaign journey through a variety of tracks around the world. Though, I will say the game is rather more forgiving than Gran Turismo, partially due to the integrated Break Assist system (like Real Racing), but more due to the overall control scenario.

The game features over 100 cars from 24 different manufacturers to choose from for a race to the finish against up to nine on-track opponents. There are 14 different worldwide tracks in all, comprised of raceway, urban, and rally-style runs. The better you rank, the more credits you accumulate, and the fancier cars and equipment you can purchase. Progressive tracks are unlocked in Campaign mode, and any unlocked track can be used for a quick spin in the game's Arcade mode.

GT Racing features three different control methods: accelerometer (default), screen keys (think Vector Tanks -- kinda), and wheel. I find accelerometer to be my preferred method that, for what it is, really leaves little room for control improvement. Score tracking is handled through the integrated Gameloft LIVE network. Like Asphalt 5, Gameloft also offers an online multi-player component that we were unable to test at launch, but it's an important feature we're certainly glad to see.

GT Racing is one of the most visually impressive racers in the App Store. On my iPhone 3GS test unit, the game exhibits an impressive, but subtle, HDR effect to the rendered scene and runs at a very smooth frame rate. Six different driving views are provided -- three outside, three inside -- to allow for the view that bests fits your driving sensibilities. All races can be seen in Replay mode which is, as well, an impressive thing to behold, and videos can also be uploaded to YouTube (example video). One notable issue with the visuals, however, is a noticeably short draw distance resulting in buildings abruptly popping into view which can be distracting.

There are a few other issues we ran across with the initial version. On occasion, my car appeared to aburbtly jolt into a nose-up position, half embedded in the track, with a warning of "wrong way" presented. (One of these incidents is recorded in our demo video.) As well, in-game language suggested that I had access to a particular track before it was supposed to be unlocked. Neither game breaking, but notable for early adopters.

See our brief gameplay video for a closer look.

Overall, GT Racer is probably one of the best racers on the App Store. In particular, racing fans looking for a realistic racer that offers nicely varied racing action wrapped up in a very pretty package should enjoy Gameloft's latest offering.

Impressions from early adopters on the forum have been similarly positive, but similar caveats:

  • tadad1 - lots of control adjustments, including driving aids, amazingly crisp graphics, but short draw distance, no crash damage, massive content
  • morphman - Lots of options, good but not stellar framerate on 3GS, pop-in apparent, graphics look amazing
  • iPhondTouch3G - screenshots from iPod Touch 3G
  • Diablohead - huge difference in FWD, RWD and oversteer is a big factor here, can do doughnuts very easily if you power out of corners
  • nizy - nice graphics, real life tracks recognizable, pop-in noticeable but not too annoying. early AI not challenging
  • howiedeano - handling and controls good, tracks better than NFS shift, best realistic type racing game on platform

App Store Link: GT Racing: Motor Academy, $6.99

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Lexr

    Will wait a Week or two. Still rememberIng ac2...

  • Lexr

    Will wait a Week or two. Still rememberIng ac2...

  • P6

    a long shot but tell me, does it have the MK1 Toyota MR2 Supercharger and/or the OPEL SPEEDSTER/VX220.. if so I'm buying it.. if not.. I need a demo to see first.

  • P6

    a long shot but tell me, does it have the MK1 Toyota MR2 Supercharger and/or the OPEL SPEEDSTER/VX220.. if so I'm buying it.. if not.. I need a demo to see first.

  • Frogtorch

    (One of these incidents is recorded in our demo video.)

    It looks more like you went nose down because you got hit from behind. Pay attention to where you're going.

    • Ender

      That may be true, but it was really weird that "wrong way" appeared on screen when it happened.

      • Mr Slinky Spring

        Momentarily pointing to the centre of the Earth when a 4 wheeled missile anihilates you up the ass could be considered the, 'wrong way'!

  • Frogtorch

    (One of these incidents is recorded in our demo video.)

    It looks more like you went nose down because you got hit from behind. Pay attention to where you're going.

    • Ender

      That may be true, but it was really weird that "wrong way" appeared on screen when it happened.

      • Mr Slinky Spring

        Momentarily pointing to the centre of the Earth when a 4 wheeled missile anihilates you up the ass could be considered the, 'wrong way'!

  • barbicoh

    this looks like a Gran Turismo clone through and through even the overworld map thing

    • SalsaMD

      except for the $6.99 price tag...

    • Shibuya_109

      Even the menu music is ripped off from Gran Turismo. When Gameloft get their game photocopier out, they really don't hold back.

    • GTfan

      Really, they should be sued for this!!! Look at first screen and compare it GT5 Prologue box art!!!
      http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/8/86/Gran_Turismo_5_Prologue.jpg/252px-Gran_Turismo_5_Prologue.jpg

      • http://skippythorson.blogspot.com/ SkippyThorson

        That's insane. I'm glad you noticed that! I was such a huge fan of Gran Turismo, I'd feel dirty picking this one up now. I knew Gameloft was nothing more than a room full of photocopiers, but really? This one is just way too much.

  • barbicoh

    this looks like a Gran Turismo clone through and through even the overworld map thing

    • SalsaMD

      except for the $6.99 price tag...

    • Shibuya_109

      Even the menu music is ripped off from Gran Turismo. When Gameloft get their game photocopier out, they really don't hold back.

    • GTfan

      Really, they should be sued for this!!! Look at first screen and compare it GT5 Prologue box art!!!
      http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/8/86/Gran_Turismo_5_Prologue.jpg/252px-Gran_Turismo_5_Prologue.jpg

      • http://skippythorson.blogspot.com/ SkippyThorson

        That's insane. I'm glad you noticed that! I was such a huge fan of Gran Turismo, I'd feel dirty picking this one up now. I knew Gameloft was nothing more than a room full of photocopiers, but really? This one is just way too much.

  • Neostar

    Does anybody know if you can stear the car with a digital stearingwheel ?

    • rich_952000

      As stated by Blake in the article ^^^

      "GT Racing features three different control methods: accelerometer (default), screen keys (think Vector Tanks – kinda), and wheel."

  • Neostar

    Does anybody know if you can stear the car with a digital stearingwheel ?

    • rich_952000

      As stated by Blake in the article ^^^

      "GT Racing features three different control methods: accelerometer (default), screen keys (think Vector Tanks – kinda), and wheel."

  • Acadiaaaaa

    Why all the hate? :/

    • Shibuya_109

      Probably because Gameloft have built their company on stealing the ideas from other developers. They go way beyond being 'inspired' games created by others, - they copy to such a blatant extent as to be verging on piracy. And that's just not cool, in fact it's downright rude.

      • MellowFellow

        This man speaks the truth.

      • Shin

        There's a demand for it =/

  • Acadiaaaaa

    Why all the hate? :/

    • Shibuya_109

      Probably because Gameloft have built their company on stealing the ideas from other developers. They go way beyond being 'inspired' games created by others, - they copy to such a blatant extent as to be verging on piracy. And that's just not cool, in fact it's downright rude.

      • MellowFellow

        This man speaks the truth.

      • Shin

        There's a demand for it =/

  • jont3

    Can I do qualifying race or is it like all the other "carsims" u start from last position?
    I really miss qualifying in real racing.

  • jont3

    Can I do qualifying race or is it like all the other "carsims" u start from last position?
    I really miss qualifying in real racing.

  • Rylin

    this game is an awesome first step towards hopefully a much deeper racing sim in the future.

    You can argue Gameloft's reputation with their 'clones' but take Gameloft and its huge library out of the equation and people will start thanking them for bringing these types of console-like games to their iDevice no matter how much they resemble other popular games in their genres.

  • Rylin

    this game is an awesome first step towards hopefully a much deeper racing sim in the future.

    You can argue Gameloft's reputation with their 'clones' but take Gameloft and its huge library out of the equation and people will start thanking them for bringing these types of console-like games to their iDevice no matter how much they resemble other popular games in their genres.

  • wateracid

    They have the reventon thats an instant buy for me!

  • wateracid

    They have the reventon thats an instant buy for me!

  • Snyder

    I have the stupidest reason for buying gauranteed, lol. In the preview it had an overpass shaped like a tire and on it the words said "SNYDER RACING".

    My last name is Snyder, so I'm going to tell my friends my cousin programmed for it. If nothing else that just looks cool to me.

    Told you, worst reason ever! Lol

    • MellowFellow

      Congratulations,

      You win douche of the day award.

      • Bruce

        Jesus Christ, what brought that on?
        Just because you CAN insult people anonymously, that doesn't mean you shoul!

      • Snyder

        Why the hate? I was already making fun of myself, guess I made it too easy for ya, so your little brain was like "strike now while it's easy!". Lol, doesn't bother me, the world is full of people like you, I still enjoy myself and have fun and stay positive :-)

        **btw, the body-roll is is a nice compliment to the physics engine, however, it's very UNREALISTIC when a lamborghini or a race-tuned vehicle rolls so much. I've never seen a Porsche tilt/yaw like a mini van before. Lol, but it's fun. Worth $7 for sure

  • Snyder

    I have the stupidest reason for buying gauranteed, lol. In the preview it had an overpass shaped like a tire and on it the words said "SNYDER RACING".

    My last name is Snyder, so I'm going to tell my friends my cousin programmed for it. If nothing else that just looks cool to me.

    Told you, worst reason ever! Lol

    • MellowFellow

      Congratulations,

      You win douche of the day award.

      • Bruce

        Jesus Christ, what brought that on?
        Just because you CAN insult people anonymously, that doesn't mean you shoul!

      • Snyder

        Why the hate? I was already making fun of myself, guess I made it too easy for ya, so your little brain was like "strike now while it's easy!". Lol, doesn't bother me, the world is full of people like you, I still enjoy myself and have fun and stay positive :-)

        **btw, the body-roll is is a nice compliment to the physics engine, however, it's very UNREALISTIC when a lamborghini or a race-tuned vehicle rolls so much. I've never seen a Porsche tilt/yaw like a mini van before. Lol, but it's fun. Worth $7 for sure

  • Snyder

    Sorry I mean "SNYDER SPORTS". it's 4am and I can't sleep, gimmie a break :P

  • Snyder

    Sorry I mean "SNYDER SPORTS". it's 4am and I can't sleep, gimmie a break :P

  • http://www.silentrocco.com SIlent Rocco

    I really don't like the draw distance.
    So, no instant purchase.

  • http://www.silentrocco.com SIlent Rocco

    I really don't like the draw distance.
    So, no instant purchase.

  • otjeuirhtieur

    Where can i find a complete car list?

    • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

      Full list of licensed manufacturers: Citroën, Renault, Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen, RUF, Mini, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, Jaguar, Lotus, Morgan, Caterham, Chevrolet, Dodge, Panoz, Ford, Plymouth.

      • grem

        Yes we KNOW the manufacturers, that is NOT a car list!

        On that thought, why do all these car games find it so hard to publish a fkin car list. I've googled all day and can't find the info. If I had I may well have bought the damn game already. TO me and many 'petrol heads' a certain car or cars is reason to buy a game. A certain car brand isn't.

      • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

        Grem: Take it easy, dude.

      • Shin

        Petrol heads play Forza/Gran Turismo

      • grem

        huh? I WAS taking it easy. That's the problem with 'text' based comms. My mini rant was directed at the games company and was quite tongue in cheek anyway. It is true they often neglect to publish a car list and wait for fans to do it, which I think is ridiculous as it's a major selling point.

        I didn't lose any sleep about it though ;)

        And yes, maybe some petrol heads play Forza/GT (I had Forza on my box before the box died - again) and I've got prologue, waiting for GT5 'forever'.

        However, this is an ipod/iphone site so of course I'm talking about 'portable petrol heads' which I think is quite clear. Car lovers want certain cars no matter the format or how simple the game.

  • otjeuirhtieur

    Where can i find a complete car list?

    • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

      Full list of licensed manufacturers: Citroën, Renault, Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen, RUF, Mini, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, Jaguar, Lotus, Morgan, Caterham, Chevrolet, Dodge, Panoz, Ford, Plymouth.

      • grem

        Yes we KNOW the manufacturers, that is NOT a car list!

        On that thought, why do all these car games find it so hard to publish a fkin car list. I've googled all day and can't find the info. If I had I may well have bought the damn game already. TO me and many 'petrol heads' a certain car or cars is reason to buy a game. A certain car brand isn't.

      • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

        Grem: Take it easy, dude.

      • Shin

        Petrol heads play Forza/Gran Turismo

      • grem

        huh? I WAS taking it easy. That's the problem with 'text' based comms. My mini rant was directed at the games company and was quite tongue in cheek anyway. It is true they often neglect to publish a car list and wait for fans to do it, which I think is ridiculous as it's a major selling point.

        I didn't lose any sleep about it though ;)

        And yes, maybe some petrol heads play Forza/GT (I had Forza on my box before the box died - again) and I've got prologue, waiting for GT5 'forever'.

        However, this is an ipod/iphone site so of course I'm talking about 'portable petrol heads' which I think is quite clear. Car lovers want certain cars no matter the format or how simple the game.

  • Stak

    Good game. Looks nice. But why cant the graphics be more like ridge racer accelerated? Nice car reflections and high draw distance? Ridge racer has all that and runs very smooth on my 3g ipod touch. But the gameplay and content here is really good. BUT MORE TRACKS!!!! i give it 9.0 out of 10. Because of bad but not annoying draw distance.

  • Stak

    Good game. Looks nice. But why cant the graphics be more like ridge racer accelerated? Nice car reflections and high draw distance? Ridge racer has all that and runs very smooth on my 3g ipod touch. But the gameplay and content here is really good. BUT MORE TRACKS!!!! i give it 9.0 out of 10. Because of bad but not annoying draw distance.

  • Shin

    This game is pretty much a slowed down version of Asphalt. Real Racing is much better. The only feature this triumphs RR is licensed cars. Still waiting for a RR2 with real cars. :(

  • Shin

    This game is pretty much a slowed down version of Asphalt. Real Racing is much better. The only feature this triumphs RR is licensed cars. Still waiting for a RR2 with real cars. :(

  • Eggbert

    How well does it work on the 1st gen iPod Touch?

  • Eggbert

    How well does it work on the 1st gen iPod Touch?

  • Spud

    Anyone tried this on the iPhone 3G? Any performance issues?

  • Spud

    Anyone tried this on the iPhone 3G? Any performance issues?

  • Bruce

    I'd like to hear from "Real Racing" owners who have also bought this: how do the two compare...?

  • Bruce

    I'd like to hear from "Real Racing" owners who have also bought this: how do the two compare...?

  • Snyder

    It's working great on my 3g phone! The load time is a little long but the framerates are good, comparable to Real Racing.

    I have to say this game just feels fun! Slightly better than Real Racing. You can pick apart the details like draw distance (the tracks are bigger than real racing that's why it happens). But it runs smooth and feels great, your car has weight and turns feel natural, important in a racing game.

    It won't replace GT5, or forza, but this is the most FUN racer I've played on iPhone.The real cars make a big difference!

  • Snyder

    It's working great on my 3g phone! The load time is a little long but the framerates are good, comparable to Real Racing.

    I have to say this game just feels fun! Slightly better than Real Racing. You can pick apart the details like draw distance (the tracks are bigger than real racing that's why it happens). But it runs smooth and feels great, your car has weight and turns feel natural, important in a racing game.

    It won't replace GT5, or forza, but this is the most FUN racer I've played on iPhone.The real cars make a big difference!

  • Snyder

    In Real Racing you feel like your checking off a racing list, in this game the race feels more like an event. It's set up more like a console game.

    In Real Racing other people are driving the same cars, GT is fun because of the variety of vehicles in each race. Cuts down on the feeling of repetition that Real Racing suffers from.

    That's some advice from a Real Racing owner, hope it helped.

  • Snyder

    In Real Racing you feel like your checking off a racing list, in this game the race feels more like an event. It's set up more like a console game.

    In Real Racing other people are driving the same cars, GT is fun because of the variety of vehicles in each race. Cuts down on the feeling of repetition that Real Racing suffers from.

    That's some advice from a Real Racing owner, hope it helped.

  • thatonedude

    IMO, this game is much better than Real Racing, and I really like real racing. The driving physics are much more enjoyable in this game. In real racing, all the cars felt the same to drive, but in this game you can really tell the difference between cars, and there is a much larger selection. Also, the steering wheel control scheme works really really well.
    However, since I'm playing it on a 1st gen, the load times are ridiculously long. Like around 1-2 minutes.

    • Snyder

      very good observation, the cars in Real Racing do feel all the same. they are a little touchy too...GT Racing seems a little more forgiving.

  • thatonedude

    IMO, this game is much better than Real Racing, and I really like real racing. The driving physics are much more enjoyable in this game. In real racing, all the cars felt the same to drive, but in this game you can really tell the difference between cars, and there is a much larger selection. Also, the steering wheel control scheme works really really well.
    However, since I'm playing it on a 1st gen, the load times are ridiculously long. Like around 1-2 minutes.

    • Snyder

      very good observation, the cars in Real Racing do feel all the same. they are a little touchy too...GT Racing seems a little more forgiving.

  • Spud

    Synder - cheers, I'll give it a go then.

  • Spud

    Synder - cheers, I'll give it a go then.

  • Snyder

    Gameloft focused on physics, car detail and bright colorful levels. The one thing that I've noticed (and ppl complain about in the app store) are the draw distances.

    -trees buildings will pop up and the bleechers grow in front of you. If that's a deal breaker then don't get the game.

    +the courses are huge, your not limited to small circuits like Real Racing. That game hides pop-up by having small courses with less detail and decor on the sides of the track. Gameloft is obviously attempting to create a larger GT5/forza game with sprawling courses, while also maintaining 30fps (occasionally framerate drops could be my 3g). Unfortunatley that means the iPhone is being pushed to the limit graphically. Time for an upgrade to a 3gs, lol

    • hi

      How you know fps is 30 or 60?

      • Snyder

        Just from being used to seeing them side by side. I've used the program FRAPS on my PC for years, I got used to what 30fps looks like, vs 60fps. I can usually guess within about 10fps. A useless skill maybe, but it wroks

  • Snyder

    Gameloft focused on physics, car detail and bright colorful levels. The one thing that I've noticed (and ppl complain about in the app store) are the draw distances.

    -trees buildings will pop up and the bleechers grow in front of you. If that's a deal breaker then don't get the game.

    +the courses are huge, your not limited to small circuits like Real Racing. That game hides pop-up by having small courses with less detail and decor on the sides of the track. Gameloft is obviously attempting to create a larger GT5/forza game with sprawling courses, while also maintaining 30fps (occasionally framerate drops could be my 3g). Unfortunatley that means the iPhone is being pushed to the limit graphically. Time for an upgrade to a 3gs, lol

    • hi

      How you know fps is 30 or 60?

      • Snyder

        Just from being used to seeing them side by side. I've used the program FRAPS on my PC for years, I got used to what 30fps looks like, vs 60fps. I can usually guess within about 10fps. A useless skill maybe, but it wroks

  • Snyder

    [UPDATE]

    After playing this game for a while I'm totally impressed with the full list of features that this game offers! It's like a home console game. Wow, here's just a few things that people deciding to purchase might like to know. These are things that Real Racing does NOT have:

    -Upgrading vehicles, buying new parts actually affects perfomance. Don't like how the car performs? Upgrade it!
    -Arcade mode, play "knock out", "regular", "perfect line", "ghost"
    -Online races, playing against friends over bluetooth rocks
    -105 cars, the models look good and all have their own dashboards
    -Mulitple camera views, dashboard, in-car, above hood (my favorite), and behind car
    -Great physics, cars have weight to them and it feels great driving
    -Variety in tracks, cities, country sides, small circuits, and real life tracks
    -Loads of roadside detail, which is why the game has pop-up issues
    -Achievements, gives more goals to reach long term

    I'm very happy with my purchase, if having some graphical pop-up issues means having ALL THIS on my iPhone, then so be it.

  • Snyder

    [UPDATE]

    After playing this game for a while I'm totally impressed with the full list of features that this game offers! It's like a home console game. Wow, here's just a few things that people deciding to purchase might like to know. These are things that Real Racing does NOT have:

    -Upgrading vehicles, buying new parts actually affects perfomance. Don't like how the car performs? Upgrade it!
    -Arcade mode, play "knock out", "regular", "perfect line", "ghost"
    -Online races, playing against friends over bluetooth rocks
    -105 cars, the models look good and all have their own dashboards
    -Mulitple camera views, dashboard, in-car, above hood (my favorite), and behind car
    -Great physics, cars have weight to them and it feels great driving
    -Variety in tracks, cities, country sides, small circuits, and real life tracks
    -Loads of roadside detail, which is why the game has pop-up issues
    -Achievements, gives more goals to reach long term

    I'm very happy with my purchase, if having some graphical pop-up issues means having ALL THIS on my iPhone, then so be it.

  • Rick

    I also bought it. Yeah, it is impressive. I like how you can tailor the features to suit what type of racing game you want. You can treat it as a serious racing simulation with a high level of realism - or you can turn all the driving aids on and just do some quickie arcade-style races.

  • Rick

    I also bought it. Yeah, it is impressive. I like how you can tailor the features to suit what type of racing game you want. You can treat it as a serious racing simulation with a high level of realism - or you can turn all the driving aids on and just do some quickie arcade-style races.

  • Mr H

    Not seen it mentioned anywhere, are there in depth online leaderboards for the time trial mode? thanks.

  • Mr H

    Not seen it mentioned anywhere, are there in depth online leaderboards for the time trial mode? thanks.

  • Leon

    Hi, I already owned a Real Racing and I did enjoyed it. However, I finished the game already. So I still play ridge racer accelerated, because I love anime
    "Initial D" -you can watch some of it at youtube-, which is a drifting street racing show. So I thought, if this game really does have realistic simulation and driving experience, I'm going to buy this. I tried demo and It was disappointing. It was sluggish, not responding with control, and was simply frustrating. Still, I've seen people drifting crazy in this full game. Should I get this and replace real racing?
    Reply me plz.

  • Leon

    Hi, I already owned a Real Racing and I did enjoyed it. However, I finished the game already. So I still play ridge racer accelerated, because I love anime
    "Initial D" -you can watch some of it at youtube-, which is a drifting street racing show. So I thought, if this game really does have realistic simulation and driving experience, I'm going to buy this. I tried demo and It was disappointing. It was sluggish, not responding with control, and was simply frustrating. Still, I've seen people drifting crazy in this full game. Should I get this and replace real racing?
    Reply me plz.

  • apps wiz

    As I love car racing game, so how it was possible for me to leave this game. The gameplay and more number of tracks are the things which has attracted me towards this game.

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