The roster of impressive racing games available for Apple iOS and Android smartphones and tablets continues to grow. If your mobile phone is never far from your hand, there are plenty of choices to keep you from endlessly scrolling social media.
With options from realistic simulators, through to arcade thrills, the games profiled here will let you indulge your yearning for speed with convenience. Almost all are available on both Android and iOS devices.
Digital racing… real money
Given the level of investment and design efforts put into developing the games included here, it might be a surprise that many are actually free to download and play on your phone or tablet.
Be aware that whilst the initial purchase price might be nothing, some free games will feature prominent advertising. Others promote potentially costly in-app purchases to level-up faster.
Both iOS and Android devices offer the ability to prevent in-app purchases from their settings menus, and restricting them may be a wise choice to avoid racking up big bills.
Table Top Racing: World Tour
Inspired by the Micro Machines games of the 1990s, Table Top Racing combines miniature motors with arcade combat fun.
Multiplayer opportunities include online competitions, along with split-screen battles for two players. There are 32 different tracks to work through, along with 16 cars to be modified and upgraded.
One key selling point of Table Top Racing is that it does not feature in-app purchases. It means progress is based solely on skill and hard work, leaving no shortcuts to success.
If you dream of cruising along the West Coast of the United States in a range of supercars, Rebel Racing could be the game for you.
The premise is relatively simple. Choose from a garage packed with officially licensed vehicles, modify them, then hit the road. Rebel Racing includes an array of challenges and events, with simple controls to make it accessible.
Perhaps the biggest draw is Rebel Racing’s impressive graphics. Mountains and beaches are all rendered beautifully, along with the host of cars and SUVs.
Asphalt 9: Legends
The latest in the Asphalt series of games released by Gameloft, this instalment adds a host of extra cars and environments for arcade racing action.
Gamers have the chance to compete in a career mode which spans 60 seasons, and offers up to 800 separate races. Online multiplayer competition against seven other players is also on offer.
Although the roster of cars, including Porsche, Bugatti, and Ferrari are real, the nitro boost effects and epic stunts do mean suspending your disbelief for maximum enjoyment.
Real Racing 3
Gaming giant Electronic Arts certainly lives up to the Real Racing tagline, offering genuine motorsport championships and recreations of actual race circuits.
Recent updates have added the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, alongside NASCAR, Formula E, Formula 1, and Australian Supercar challenges. More than 25 different tracks, including Brands Hatch and Spa-Francorchamps, are recreated in detailed glory.
Online competition supplements a career mode, but some gamers warn that in-app purchases can become addictive in order to obtain the best items.
Need for Speed: No Limits
One of the latest episodes in the long-running Need for Speed gaming franchise, this mobile game was developed by the same studio responsible for Real Racing 3.
That means similarly impressive visuals and roster of real cars, but with eye on much more dramatic arcade-style street racing. Players undertake a variety of different events, earning increased reputation and in-game cash.
Recent updates have added more new content, including cars taken from the entire Need for Speed franchise history, and a DeLorean DMC-12.
Motorsport Manager Online
The Motorsport Manager series of games from Playsport has gained a formidable reputation for replicating the drama of running your own race team. Previous versions have seen players competing solo, but Online incorporates multiplayer competition.
Gamers have to hire drivers, develop new parts, and manage strategy over a race weekend. A detailed 3D model sees race tracks rendered with pleasing accuracy, along with swish graphics on the menu screens.
Motorsport Manager Online incorporates the Formula E championship, bringing real-world drivers and teams into the mix.
For motorsport management with a Formula 1 twist, live your life as Toto Wolff or Christian Horner with F1 Manager.
Last updated to include all cars and drivers from the 2020 F1 season, F1 Manager takes a more simplistic approach to management. There is hiring and firing of drivers, or creating upgraded parts, here.
Instead, progress is dictated by random prizes for winning races, along with a focus on in-app purchases to speed things along.
F1 Mobile Racing
Forget management, and get behind the wheel of an F1 car instead. This is the official mobile racing game of the Formula 1 World Championship, and has been fully updated to feature all the latest 2020 cars, drivers, and regulations.
As you might expect, the game includes all the tracks from the F1 calendar. Players can compete in Grand Prix races, challenge their friends in 1-on-1 duels, or modify their favourite F1 car.
Street Kart Racing Simulator
Compared to many of the games here, Street Kart Racing firmly lives up to the simulator tagline. The physics of karting are accurately replicated, with a selection of 15 real-world venues included in the game.
Weather conditions can change in real-time, with karts able to be upgraded and tuned for maximum performance. Former Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg makes an appearance, dishing out tips and advice.
The downside is that Street Kart Racing is available for Apple iOS devices only.
Rush Rally 3
The product of one man’s dedicated efforts for more than eight years, the Rush Rally series aims to bring console-inspired rallying action to the smaller screen.
More than 70 rally stages are on offer, varying between tarmac, snow, gravel, and dirt surfaces. Different weather conditions, and even fearsome night stages, add extra challenges for players.
Gamers can customise their touchscreen controls to individual preferences, create their own liveries for the variety of cars, or take on others with real-time multiplayer competition.
The most expensive game on the list, Grid Autosport replicates the console experience of the game originally seen on the Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3.
With more than 100 cars and 100 tracks, Grid Autosport includes five different motorsport divisions. Touring cars offer close racing, with even a destruction derby mode included.
Originally only offered for Apple iOS devices, Grid Autosport is now fully compatible with Android smartphones and tablets, too.
If you fancy yourself as the next Ken Block, the addictively simple Thumb Drift will let you unleash your inner Hoonigan.
Don’t let the simple graphics fool you – the developers have invested in creating a compelling drifting game, that only requires one thumb to control.
More than 100 unlicensed, but instantly identifiable, cars are on offer with them able to shatter into pieces should you make a mistake. There is also a soundtrack featuring original music to set the tone.
Horizon Chase – World Tour
Unashamedly inspired by the retro arcade racing games of the 1980s, the resemblance to the classic Outrun series is no accident. Gameplay is similar to those historic titles, seeing players racing towards the sunset.
The Brazilian development team actually employed the man who created the soundtrack to classic games such as Lotus Turbo Challenge, ensuring it even sounds like a 16-bit arcade racer.
Initially free to purchase, players have the chance to try five different tracks before deciding whether to indulge further in gaming nostalgia.
With fully-licensed vehicles from Jeep, Chevrolet, Subaru and more, Asphalt Xtreme is a giant of mobile off-road racing games.
Gamers can play through 1,100 different challenges, unlock 50 different cars with customization options, and journey through diverse locations from Detroit to Thailand.
A real-time multiplayer option also supports the lengthy solo career campaign. Oh, and there is the small matter of being able to race monster trucks!
CSR Racing 2
If you like living your life one quarter-mile at a time, CSR Racing 2 is the drag racing game for you. From hot hatches, to classic muscle cars and modern hypercars, CSR 2 offers a packed garage of cars to choose from.
Each car can be customised with endless combinations of paint and decal options, with thoroughly detailed interior and engine bays to match.
Out on the virtual street, practice will make perfect for timing your starts and gear shifts. Cars can be upgraded, nitrous oxide added, and there is a wealth of online competitions to take part in.
Virtually Live Formula E Ghost Racing
One of the newest games on this list, Virtually Live Formula E Ghost Racing allows players to fully immerse themselves in the increasingly popular electric single-seater series.
Using data from races as they happen, gamers are able to test themselves against digital versions of real Formula E drivers. Players can also build up a garage of their favourite Formula E cars, along with testing themselves in challenges against friends.
Mario Kart Tour
The Mario Kart series of games have become an institution for wacky arcade fun, with an emphasis firmly on entertainment rather than simulation. Offered for both Apple iOS and Android devices, Mario Kart Tour takes players on a journey across the globe with regular updates and challenges.
Finishing first is not always the main objective, with rewards for completing various tasks in each race. Multiplayer online competitions are included, including the ability to play against friends.
Although free to download and play, there is an emphasis placed upon in-app purchases.
Team Sonic Racing
This was one of the initial offerings for Apple’s Arcade monthly subscription gaming service. It means that this is another option limited to iOS devices at present.
Themed around the famous blue hedgehog, expect Mario Kart-style thrills and spills plus a healthy dose of fun. Features include 15 tracks across three different zones, characters from the Sonic universe, and the chance to build your own team.
Online multiplayer is also on offer, whilst Apple Arcade allows you to keep playing across various devices.
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