No matter if you’re an arcade or sim racer, there’s a mobile game for everyone – allow us to introduce you to them.
Photo credit: Asphalt 9: Legends / Gameloft
Virtual racing can be one of the most rewarding and wholesome hobbies out there: For a passionate racer, there is nothing like winding down on the track after a stressful day. However, like with most hobbies, there is only a certain time and a certain place to actually sit down and race.
So what does our dedicated racer do when they’re still stuck in the middle of said stressful day and no PC or console is in sight? Well, first of all, they take out their phone. No, not (only) to check social media, but to find their racing action in an app! Gripping racing games “to go” are already numerous and still keep coming, so here’s our list of current mobile racing apps to check out.
Forza Street Mobile (2020)
The perfect example of a fast and simple racing game you can enjoy within five minutes. Forza Street Mobile is the go-to of a stamina- or fuel-based racing app, meaning that each race burns out one unit of your tank while it takes some time to refill. It rolled onto the market in May 2020 and is available on both Android and iOS devices.
For a mobile game, developer Electric Square included a decent array of driveable cars featuring several BMWs, Ford Mustangs, Lamborghinis, older and newer Chevrolet Camaros as well as cult models like the Porsche 911 Carrera. These mostly differ in stats like acceleration and maximum speed, as these are also the main concern of the player. Yes, that’s right, Forza Street Mobile, like many other racing apps, leaves the actual steering of the car to the device, but gives players control over brakes and shifting. While the racing aspect is not quite the same as in your regular PC or console games, Microsoft’s mobile version is still incredibly good-looking for its general free-to-play format and definitely conveys the “race and improve” spirit as players customise their cars and max out their accounts.
Project CARS GO (2021)
The newest kid on the block in terms of mobile racing games is Slightly Mad Studios’ version of the popular Project CARS franchise. Just like the aforementioned Forza Street Mobile and mobile racing “classics” like CSR Racing 2 from 2016, Project CARS GO is more of a reaction-time-based title than a pure racing game. Because that alone might become boring rather fast, the game keeps players busy with more than 50 cars to unlock and a story mode that sends them all over the planet. Aided by mobile graphics that are actually a sight to behold, Project CARS GO becomes extra attractive through the free-to-play aspect and the absence of a pay-wall. If you feel like you need more information to decide if the download is worth it, be sure to check out our review of the game at launch.
Rebel Racing (2019)
An absolute racing gem from Hutch Gaming entered the mobile stores in November 2019. Rebel Racing might be worth a shot for mobile racers who cannot get to terms with simply shifting gears and braking. Compared to Project CARS and Forza, it applies the exact opposite principle by letting drivers steer, but not manage the pedals as they please. This also includes semi-manual drifting which definitely takes some time to get used to, but can be fairly satisfying when mastered. Adding to that are highly convincing engine sounds (headphones recommended) and a story mode featuring unlockable content. With all of that going for it, Rebel Racing definitely fulfils the expectations of a mobile racing game and is a great free-to-play pastime.
Team Sonic Racing (2020)
Coming from at least semi-realistic racing apps, this might seem like a hard cut, but Team Sonic Racing is definitely worth a look. The mobile iteration of the cross-platform success doesn’t miss anything its big arcade brother has to offer. Players are kept on their toes in flashy stages with loops, tight turns and colourful surroundings. Not that a lot of the sightseeing is going on, as the races – in a fitting Sonic way – are incredibly fast and entertaining. The game further features both an offline and online mode, meaning that even a long subway drive can turn into fast-paced arcade action. The only big downside of this gem is that it is somewhat exclusive, as only iOS devices will play it, while Android is so far left out.
F1 Mobile Racing (updated 2020)
After a little detour into the arcade realm, let’s return to sim racing for the final place in our list. F1 Mobile Racing is by no means a new release for mobile devices, but it received a significant update at the end of the previous year. Codemasters’ handheld edition of the pivotal F1 games now features competitive events from 2020, the official cars from the season and all its GP circuits. Players are also given the option to once and for all establish that they are the best F1 mobile racer among their friends by mercilessly beating them in the PvP mode of the game. With throttle, brake and steering wheel all in the players hands on one device, F1 Mobile Racing remains one of the most challenging mobile racers so far. However, if you’re up for the challenge, the game is free-to-play and at your disposal on both iOS and Android devices.
Two candidates that absolutely have to be featured in this list, but already came out quite a while ago are Asphalt 9: Legends as well as GRID Autosport. Asphalt 9 has been available since mid-2018 on both Apple and Android and found the perfect compromise between the only-steering and only-shifting gameplay principles. By simply turning steering into an optional feature that players can either enable for themselves or set on automatic, the game offers both without forcing complicated gameplay onto players. Setting aside a lot more details to discover as well as some seriously stunning optics, Asphalt 9 is best kept in mind as “the arcade racer with supercars and neon lights”.
GRID Autosport is for any player who is not that much into F1, but still misses actual sim racing on their phone. While it comes at a price of roughly ten US-Dollars, it offers all the merits of a serious racing game. There will be no micro-transactions after the initial payment, the in-game graphics are on-point and while the game offers a career mode next to online options, the game can also be played one hundred percent offline. In terms of control options, GRID Autosport might be the most ambitious and precise mobile version there has been since its release in late 2017.
Overall, it’s up to the individual player to decide which mobile racing game is truly the best on the market. For purely killing some time, almost any title can do the job, while a true alternative to sim racing on a console or PC might be harder to find and comes at a price. Nevertheless, a lot of great options have made their way onto the market within the last decade. Each and every one of them caters to different needs, either in terms of visuals, game mechanics or maybe even picking up a beloved franchise – having said that, we did not forget to mention Mario Kart Tour and its iconic appeal in this list.
Which is your all-time favourite mobile racing game? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!