App Store Racing Gets Crowded With Need for Speed SHIFT, Ridge Racer

A pair of high-profile racing titles hit the App Store on Friday: EA Mobile’s Need for Speed SHIFT and Namco’s Ridge Racer Accelerated. Both feature graphics aimed at the iPhone 3GS’ hardware, which is also found in the current 32GB and 64GB iPod touch models. Namco said that a version of Ridge Racer Accelerated optimized for 3G iPhones is coming soon.

Need for Speed SHIFT (US$9.99) features 20 high-performance vehicles and 18 street tracks in cities around the world, including those in Chicago, London, and Tokyo.  Players can race from a first- or third-person perspective against computer or live opponents via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. As in other Need for Speed games, players can use nitrous boosts to get an edge and can customize their cars between races.

Ridge Racer Accelerated ($2.99) serves up 18 vehicles and two tracks, with 40-plus tracks and more than 60 cars  coming via an update. Like Need for Speed, Ridge Racer offers nitrous boosts, which in this case are charged up by drifting through turns. Namco also promises Bluetooth multiplayer and access to the player’s iTunes library in a future update.