GT Racing: Motor Academy is a new 3D racing title designed to run in Google+. Created by established mobile and digital developer Gameloft, the game aims to offer a deep, social racing experience inspired by console and mobile titles such as the Xbox 360’s Forza Motorsport 4 and iOS’ Real Racing 2.
The game offers three main modes of play: a simple “Arcade” mode, which allows players to jump in to a variety of different race types immediately; a multiplayer mode which is currently undergoing beta testing; and an in-depth “Career” mode that tasks players with completing license tests along with purchasing and upgrading cars as well as the racing itself.
Racing takes a realistic approach, featuring 111 different licensed cars from 26 different manufacturers. It’s possible to play the game from a variety of camera angles, including an in-cockpit view featuring authentically-recreated interiors of the cars in question. A healthy degree of skill is required to make progress in the game, though a variety of assistance options are available for those with less experience in realistic racing simulations. These include a “suggested line” superimposed on the track, indicating where players should accelerate and brake; traction control to help prevent out of control skidding; assistance with braking; and an Electronic Stability Program (ESP) setting to help the player stay in control of the car and keep it on the track.
The game is monetized through the sale of soft and hard currency. Most cars can be purchased with either soft or hard currency, and hard currency can also be spent on skipping challenges such as license tests. It’s also possible to purchase experience points directly, which is unusual for a social game. Since experience levels unlock game content such as new cars, those players who wish to jump straight to the part of the game with high-end concept cars can do so by spending money. Conversely, those willing to put in the time and effort to work their way through the early game can gain access to almost all of the game content — though some later cars and performance upgrades can only be purchased with hard currency.
“Gameloft is very excited about offering our games to Google+ users,” said Baudouin Cormon, VP of publishing for the Americas at Gameloft. “GT Racing is bringing a stunning racing experience right in the browser, and we are happy to be pioneering the field with Google to bring the social gaming platform to the next level.”
We didn’t hear back from Gameloft prior to the publication of this review, but it’s clear what the future could hold for GT Racing. Racing games are, by their very nature, modular experiences to which it will be easy to add new cars, tracks and challenges. The game’s multiplayer options will also ensure that an active community will arise around the game, particularly as regular play is incentivized by daily bonus packages.
The social network version of GT Racing: Motor Academy is currently exclusive to Google+. The game is also available for iOS and Android devices, but the mobile editions do not have any link to the computer-based social network versions.