It's been a while since we reviewed Need for Speed
, so it's about time we found a rival for it's tyre-smoking, pedal-to-the-metal charms. Gameloft's GT Racing Motor Academy HD promises to be just that, with its impressive array of machinery and in-depth career mode.
GT Racing certainly looks the part - the intro video wouldn't look out of place on '97-era Gran Turismo for PS2 and that sets the tone for the rest of the GT Racing experience. Sumptuous, detailed graphics are the order of the day and with over 100 cars to unlock, the level of detail is phenomenal with faithfully reproduced cockpits for each vehicle. There are a huge variety of manufacturers' wares on offer with various models from each.
You can dive straight in for an arcade-style thrash, or enter career mode, building up licenses and cash and pimping out the cars you own, much like you would on GT's big console brothers.
Default controls use the accelerometer to steer and a touchscreen-mounted brake and accelerator pedal to control your speed. You can go for the classic arcade external camera mode, or dive into the cockpit to see things first-hand. We at Life of Android found the accelerometer controls a little oversensitive from the off, so we'd advise turning the sensitivity down a touch rather than find yourself furiously correcting some over-zealous steering.
The other options are to use the virtual on-screen wheel or left and right touchscreen buttons, although neither of these methods is without its drawbacks.
Events take the form of straight races, elimination events, drag races and rallies and there's enough here to keep even hardened race fans playing for many hours. Career mode isn't for those short on time, however. Before you even start racing you need to complete a license test to prove your mettle and, as you progress through the ranks, you'll need to complete each level's license before you can compete.
While GT Racer doesn't have the looks or instant pick-up-and-playability of Need for Speed, it does boast online multiplayer alongside the comprehensive career mode to extend the longevity still further and it's a definite contender for top Android racer. A worthy adversary for NFS.
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The bottom line
Gran Turismo-esque racer that pips Need For Speed on depth, if not on looks.
Version reviewed 3.1.8