TAKE a title like Real Racing 3 for a test drive on your iPad and you soon realise why gaming is such a big, competitive business in Australia.

Melbourne-based game maker Firemonkeys has created an exceptionally good sim racer with realistic play, eye-popping graphics and some of the sexiest cars you can dream of driving.

Gaming is said to be worth about $1.5 billion in Australia and the competition in the car sim market is fast and furious.

Real Racing 3 is not without controversy. While you can download the game for nothing, you will pay to buy new cars, upgrade and even to have repairs done more quickly.

Ironically, I found myself testing a few different racing sims during the wait for my free repairs, including Asphalt Heat 7, which is one of the most fun titles around with its nitro bursts and knockdown racing.

Real Racing 3 is super realistic, meaning you have to learn to brake into a curve to accelerate out of it. Fortunately, the game is set up with brake assist, steering assist and traction control to make the experience easier for newbies.

What sets Real Racing 3 apart is its use of real-world cars and tracks. There are almost 50 cars available for purchase from the Ford Focus through to gorgeous-looking Porches and BMWs. The top of the line Bugatti Veyron will set you back a cool $1.65 million racing dollars. $2 million racing dollars cost $51.99.

The "freemium" model has certainly attracted plenty of press with critics saying those with the deepest pockets can pay their way to winning with better, upgraded cars.

But others point out you can race for hours on plenty of tracks and different races without having to fork out a cent. You just have to win new cars and upgrades, the good old fashion way.

Real Racing 3 uses a new "time shifted multiplayer" system. The game remembers every race players complete, tracking data like car damage and lap times.

You're racing against a field of 21 other human players who completed that event days or even weeks ago.

Asphalt 7 7 Heat

Gameloft's Asphalt 7 Heat, which features 60 real-world cars on 15 different tracks across 150 different events.

Again, the graphics are amazing, especially on the latest iPads, while the game play is probably even more fun than Real Racing 3.

What I particularly loved about it was the variety of race types which include Knockdowns, Time Trails, Drift Challenges and more.

Boost power-ups and cash drops litter each racetrack, resulting in a real adrenaline rush as your car hits incredible speeds on tracks.

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