Fed up with getting arrested for drifting on your high street? Save a bundle on legal fees — do it on your phone instead! Alex Todd reviews 10 of the best driving games for iPhone and Android mobiles.
It’s a sad truth, but unless you live in certain parts of the Middle-East, you can’t just hop in your car, flip it on two wheels and drift like a maniac while your mates fire AK47s out the window. Sometimes you have to find other ways to get that high-octane fix and luckily, your smartphone is the key. We’ve scoured both Apple’s and Google’s respective app stores to bring you a comprehensive list of the top ten most popular, newest and downright best racing games on offer for your smartphone or tablet.
1. Real Racing 3
The latest release in the extremely popular Real Racing series, RR3 offers some of the most realistic-looking cars around. If you’ve ever played a Gran Turismo title on PlayStation, that’s a good indication of just how good this driving sim looks and feels.
We love the roster of 45 highly detailed licensed cars, time-shifted multiplayer so you can race your mates, even if they’re not online and the 22 grid races, making for a bigger, better experience on the track than the previous titles. We’re not fans of the in-game currency and micro transactions. Sure this game is the first in the series that’s free to download, but as buying new cars, making repairs and refuelling all need currency, you’ll either find yourself waiting a long time between racing or emptying your wallet in no time at all.
2. Asphalt 7: Heat
If you’re looking for a racer that’s less about accuracy and more about arcade-style mayhem, then Asphalt 7: Heat should be right up your street. This long-establish arcade racer offers access to 60 licensed cars, from the DMC-12 to the Aventador, plus myriad race types including drag racing and elimination rounds, and it takes place in 15 iconic locales across the globe.
What’s hot – The options for local or online multiplayer, the great sense of speed the game offers and a polished overall gaming experience. What’s not – The character levelling means it can take a long time have access to the car you really want to drive. Having to be patient won’t be to everyone’s liking.
3. Reckless Racing HD
Reckless Racing HD is the perfect choice for racers who want to trade tarmac for dirt. This game is a ton of fun. Set in the heart of Dixie, it offers ten tracks, multiple game modes and a cast of colourful characters such as Cletus, Lurlene and Bubba.
The highlights are most certainly the inclusion of destructible terrain and the satisfaction of mastering the perfect drift. The lows include controls that are easy to get to grips with but take an age to master, as well as the aggressive AI – don’t expect an easy ride with RR HD, you will have to fight for first place.
4. Google Chrome Racer
Remember slot car racing with your friends as a kid, how easy it was to spin out going too fast around the corners or having to brush those little metal contacts back into place on the underside of your favourite car? Well, the eggheads at Google have harnessed the power of their mobile Chrome web browser and made a great multiplayer game that recreates that sense of nostalgia.
What’s great is that it doesn’t matter whether your using iOS or Android, smartphone or tablet, any combination of up to five devices can sign in and race with the track scaling to span all of the devices in use. It’s simple to play and just as challenging now as it was when you were a kid. The downside, you’re all going to need to be on the same WiFi network to play. Oh, and squabbles will break out – be warned.
To play: Head to g.co/racer from Google Chrome on your Android or iOS device.
5. Crazy Taxi
“Are you ready to make some crazzzzy money?!” Yes? Good, because the insanely popular Dreamcast title has now re-emerged on iOS and we can report that it’s just as fun to play as ever. You’ll love flying through city streets, smashing through billboards and even driving along the bottom of the river, just to deliver your seemingly undeterred fare to his or her destination. It’s just a shame that the game’s sequels haven’t yet made it to mobile. That being said, we still love SEGA for porting this one over in the first place.
6. Need for Speed: Most Wanted
EA refreshed the NFS: Most Wanted name on consoles at the end of last year, but in the process also made sure that mobile racers could get in on the action too. It’s a lot of fun not only outsmarting your opponents but also outsmarting the cops, who are more than happy to lay roadblocks and other obstacles in your path. The biggest shortcoming is that being such a high quality 3D title, you’ll need to make sure you have a whopping 1.8GB of free space to install it, ouch.
7. CSR Racing
Sometimes less is more and that’s certainly the case with CSR Racing. Whilst other titles in our lineup have multiple game modes, here it’s all about the drag race. You can choose from a ton of highly detailed licensed cars from Audi R8s to Nissan GT-Rs, as well as customise your ride with new tyres, turbos and trim. We’re fans of the story progression, racing against each member of a rival crew is fun, as is the ability to race new, more powerful cars before you can actually buy them. We don’t like the fuel system. After so many races, depleting your fuel means no more fun until the cooldown timer has elapsed (or you lay down some real cash).
8. Fast & Furious 6: The Game
If you’re a fan of the films or just looking for an alternative to CSR, this is a surprisingly high quality movie tie-in title that puts the cars, characters and challenges of the latest film in the palm of your hand. We appreciate the great visuals, nicely detailed cars and the way the game can switch from drag racing to drift racing and back again, however, we aren’t so keen on the game’s reliance on fuel which limits how often you race and its ‘freemium’ payment model.
9. Red Bull Kart Fighter World Tour
When it comes to track racing, it’s not always about KERS, DRS and 740bhp engines. Karting is where so many of the great F1 drivers started out and that’s why we’ve picked up on Red Bull Kart Fighter World Tour. The great thing about this top-down kart racer is that if you don’t have a smartphone to hand, you can still play it on your web browser. It features easy to use controls, fun tracks and Game Centre integration. The only thing we weren’t so keen on was the racing line holding your hand a little, but you can switch this off.
10. Trial Xtreme 3
Sure this is a top 10 of driving games and not riding games but Trial Xtreme 3 is so much fun, we had to give it a mention. You’ll have a blast trading four wheels for two with this game as you jump, wheelie and endo your way through the game’s plethora of obstacles. Thankfully you can multiplayer with strangers or your Facebook friends, should you wish but, as it’s a free game, be ready for a barrage of ads between levels.