Racing games are a wonderful sub-genre. They can vary wildly, from ultra hardcore simulations that attempt to recreate the highs of motorsport and the exact physics of different track surfaces, all the way to arcade racers where you smash enemies into the barriers and grab yourself some nitro.
So, there are a lot of racing games. That’s probably not news to you. But we all know about Forza and Gran Turismo, so we have to ask, what’s out there if you want to play something on the go? Well, we have a guide to the best Switch racing games if you want to go in that direction. Or, take a detour to a smaller screen with our picks for the best racing games on mobile.
Go on then, get speedy down below. For something a little different, check out our best games like Dark Souls or best Resident Evil games lists if you fancy a bit of grimness. Or, for something a little lighter and more Italian, our list of the best Mario games is the way to go.
Alrighty then, let’s get into the list.
Mobile racing games
Real Racing 3
This may be an old one, but it’s a classic. Released in 2013 by EA, Real Racing 3 is probably the closest you can get to proper simulation racing on mobile. Developed by Firemonkeys Studios, the gameplay hasn’t really aged at all, in comparison to its more arcadey competitors. One warning, however: the game follows the freemium model, so it may require patience (or cold hard cash).
Grand Prix Story
Kairosoft is one of my favourite developers. They made Game Dev Story, an absolutely stellar simulation game that got its hooks deep in me. The studio also has a similar style in Grand Prix Story, except instead of making games, you’re making cars. Build up your team, earn money in races, tune-up your racecars, and then do more difficult races. It’s an addictive loop, one that any motorsport fan could easily fall in love with.
Asphalt 9 is basically the de facto leader of racing games. Not because it’s the best – that’s definitely not the case – but because it looks so good and so many people play it. Leaning far in the arcade direction, Asphalt 9 from Gameloft Barcelona has a whole host of cars, crazy tracks, and easy to pick up controls that make a lot of players fall in love. It has more than two million reviews on the Google Play store, so it’s clearly a hit.
Mario Kart Tour
One of the many Nintendo mobile outings from a couple of years ago, Mario Kart Tour transfers as many of the best bits of the full-fat console game over to the palm of your hand. The most interesting aspect is that you play with the phone in the standard portrait orientation, not landscape. If you’re looking for some mobile Nintendo magic, this is the way to go. We’ve even got an opinion piece on Nintendo mobile games and why they could be so good if they just kept trying, if you fancy checking that out.
F1 Mobile Racing
F1 Mobile Racing translates all the magic of F1 2021 to mobile devices, attempting to keep all the wonderful simulation elements of the main series. For the most part, it succeeds admirably, putting you in the shoes of your favourite drivers for some stints around some world-famous tracks. As a big F1 fan, I have to admit it doesn’t quite live up to my high expectations, but it’s close enough if you’re not as picky as me.
Horizon Chase: World Tour
Another old but gold classic, 2015’s Horizon Chase: World Tour, developed by Aquiris, is a fantastic bit of arcade racing. The soundtrack harks back to the classic 90s Nintendo soundtracks (it was composed by Barry Leitch, composer for the 1992 game Top Gear). The gameplay has all the mad speed of Outrun. The visuals feel cut from the same cloth as Crazy Taxi. It has so many wonderful influences, all meshed into a lovely little videogame.
There are a handful of titans in the racing game space. One of them is Codemasters, developers of Grid Autosport (as well as the F1, Dirt, and Grid racing games, and my old friend Brian Lara International Cricket 2007). Many developers have tried to transfer a console experience to mobile, but porthouse Feral Interactive actually did it with Grid Autosport. It’s a full racing sim with a wonderful array of cars and game modes that are sure to satisfy any motorsport fanatic.
Team Sonic Racing
If you’re a fan of the blue hedgehog who’s super quick for some reason, you might be confused. Why did he get in a car? He’s already super fast. Surely, he’s quicker than a car? Well, leaving those questions aside for a moment, Team Sonic Racing brings great kart racing lunacy to your mobile phone without any compromises. This game is available on all consoles and is virtually unchanged from those versions. And it’s on Apple Arcade, meaning it’s super easy to get into if you’re a subscriber.
Ok, there we go. That slow slog through the world of racing games should now allow you to go forth with speed and confidence. Go out there and win some races, bucko! For bigger screen portability, check out our best Switch games list to get some more recommendations.