When SUVs became popular in the '90s, it was under the notion that bigger was better. Bigger seats, added room, a more powerful engine - everything about an SUV was bigger and better than its lowly sedan and compact counterparts.
Yet, there are just as many enormous disadvantages to owning one of these gas-guzzling, hard-to-park beasts on wheels. The increased cost and public disdain for driving an SUV make them a trend that has been parked in the garage of history.
Real Racing HD has more relevance than the analogy above would imply, though it does feel as though time is rolling along for this finely tuned racer.
The increased price - £5.99 up from £2.99 - for this enhanced port of the iPhone and iPod touch original brings with it new high resolution graphics and silky smooth performance, but no new content.
Two hands on the wheel
To be fair, Real Racing HD nails the most important thing: handling. It comes as no surprise, however, since the original iPhone and iPod touch release features phenomenal controls.
The highlighted accelerometer control scheme works beautifully on iPad and lends the ideal amount of precision and responsiveness without veering too far into weighty simulation mechanics.
Alternative configurations are offered - pure touch controls with a virtual steering wheel situated at the bottom of the screen, as well as options to toggle driving assists and transmission modes - but the default scheme is by far the best. Tilting to steer while in cockpit view provides the sort of immersion to which console racers can only aspire.
Nothing like the real thing
Work done to enhance the graphics for the larger and higher resolution iPad display only furthers the sensation of being behind the wheel. Firemint has gone to extraordinary trouble redrawing many of the visual elements in high-definition and the results show.
The graphics don't come anywhere close to maxing out iPad's processing muscle, but it looks nice nevertheless. The cockpit gauges and indicators look crisp, road, and sky textures appear in realistic detail, and the sense of speed has most certainly been improved.
In fact, the higher resolution actually improved my driving because I was able to spot changes in the course more easily. The ability to see curves in the track well in advance makes Real Racing HD more enjoyable than its iPhone and iPod touch counterpart.
Where's the online multiplayer?
When it comes to content, though, there's little that separates the two versions. New custom skins can be applied to any vehicle by using photos stored on your iPad and local multiplayer has been expanded to allow cross-platform play between all three Apple devices, but that's the extent of the new content.
Every single-player Career mode event, each Time Trial, and League components remain untouched. That basic online multiplayer wasn't added is an oversight. Real Racing HD drives circles around the issue with leaderboards and ghost data, but iPads everywhere are begging for it.Real Racing HD will get your engines going with its sensational gameplay, even if it's abundantly clear what must be tuned up for the sequel.