Those of you who followed our 2013 racing game preview may remember Real World Racing, an innovative indie project by Milan-based developer Playstos.
On first glance, it may seem like a traditional top-down racer, but Real World Racing takes authenticity to a whole new level by using real world aerial photographs to model the in-game tracks – imagine if Google Maps was adapted into a racing game, and you get the idea. It's a nifty concept, and one we're surprised we haven't seen attempted before.
A playable demo has now been released for Real World Racing in the run-up to its final release this Spring, which also acts as an open beta for the online multiplayer. The demo contains six cars complete with customisation options, all of which are fictionalised but bear obvious resemblances to real world manufacturers, along with three tracks based in London, Berlin and Rome.
Pricing details and a final release date haven't been confirmed yet, but the final package sounds substantial for an indie game, with over 50 tracks and 80 cars planned for the final game along with a comprehensive career mode and even weather effects.
From a quick hands-on Real World Racing seems to be on the right track, with a responsive handling model that feels semi-realistic yet accessable and the detailed satellite images
By contrast, the car models can certainly be improved on, however, which currently don't blend too well with the environment. They look too boxy and detailless in comparison to the tracks, and there's little variance between the car designs.
If you're planning to play Real World Racing on a large widescreen monitor, you should also be aware that the game is locked to a resolution of 1280 x 720 and cannot be changed. Apparently this is due to the restrictions posed by the original satellite images as playing in a higher resolution would mean zooming out or stretching the textures, but the developers are said to be working on adding borders and sharpening options for the final release to support higher resolutions.