Far too many racing games are actually drag racing games in disguise. That’s fine for those after a quick hit of speeding through the streets, but it hardly scratches the itch for those of us keen on more serious racing. Real Racing 3 was great for a while, but odds are you’ve played that to death. So it’s about time that something like Gear.Club has appeared. The game owes more to the likes of games like Forza than anything else we’ve seen on mobile. Sure, it’s still got the familiar trappings of free-to-play in there, but Gear.Club is a truly rewarding experience for car enthusiasts.

Starting out, you soon realize just how willing Gear.Club is to accommodate your experience. Plenty of aids are available, giving you a color-coded racing line, stability assistance, and even slowing down automatically when you need to. It’s a fine start to an intriguing game, and one that you’ll soon find yourself tweaking to your heart’s delight.

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You see, Gear.Club is best when you’re in full control. The best thing to do is pull back those aids gradually, much like many players would with Forza. It’s useful having so many options though, ensuring that Gear.Club is immediately appealing to all skill levels, but it’s at its strongest when you’re in charge.

That’s thanks to the fact that vehicles feel weighty and significant. Gear.Club’s visuals might look a bit average for the genre, but its physics engine is great. Speeding around corners and trying to eke split seconds off a turn feels genuinely satisfying. Similarly, clipping an opponent’s car doesn’t just damage your vehicle, but it knocks you off course a little, meaning you need to either get back on track fast or use the game’s rewind feature to correct your earlier mistake.

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It all feels suitably console-y and fun because of that. Unfortunately, mobile gaming elements creep in to dampen the fun a little. For instance, races are never longer than a minute or so. That makes sense in a way, but it won’t stop you wishing for longer races. Even if they were just an optional extra, it’d be ideal for the sofa gamer rather than the commuting player.

More prominent though, is how Gear.Club throws in elements that encourage you to pay up for its premium currency. When your vehicle is damaged, it inevitably needs repairing. Either waiting it out or using some of the game’s gold bars are the only ways to get back on course. Similarly, you can upgrade your car through various systems, but it all involves waiting for things to be installed. Gear.Club skips having an energy system, which is a big advantage, but you should still expect to wait around every once in a while. Certainly early on, when you’re still learning the ropes. On the plus side, such upgrade systems feel more interactive than most, requiring you to place structures in your garage, rather than simply hitting menu options.

Gear.Club isn’t perfect then, but it is highly enjoyable. A further step towards a more sim like experience, its wealth of driving aids means it’ll appeal to all car fans. While there’s room for improvement, it’s great to find an adequate replacement to Real Racing 3. It might have taken a while to get there, but there’s plenty going on within Gear.Club to keep you hooked.