If you’re bored with mainstream racing games, how about going for something a little more under the radar? Here are your best options coming to Steam in 2023.
Assetto Corsa, Forza Horizon and F1 23. These are just three of the many mainstream racing games adored by the entire community. But that does not mean they are the only options available to racing game fans. Indeed, often times the best titles are those hiding in the shadows.
In this brief list, we will showcase three of the top under the radar racing games to look out for in the next few months.
NASCAR Arcade Rush
A few weeks ago, we reported on rumours surrounding the potential sale of the exclusive NASCAR licence. Indeed, Motorsport Games may well lose its right to hold the exclusive deal with other studios looking to pounce and create their own title.
The announcement of this first under the radar title did not appease the rumours. NASCAR Arcade Rush is far from a simulation racing game. But it does feature NASCAR licencing and several cars from the series, both past and present.
Placing fans on whacky versions of infamous ovals like Daytona and Indianapolis, the game is essentially a kart racer. Vehicle personalisation, power ups, portals, ramps and boosters all feature. Bringing a NASCAR twist to the formula, this is one of many new kart racer games looking to take on the might of Mario Kart.
But will it succeed in its quest? We don’t have to wait long to find out as this new title releases on 15 September.
ExoCross: Under the Radar
Another developer famous for its NASCAR content is iRacing. Whilst the team is best known for its online racing service, few sim racers know the company owns a plethora of external studios. One of which – Orontes Games – is working hard to finally release a long-time project.
DRAG: Outer Zones is an off-road racing title that has been in early access for many years, slowing getting updates. Finally, the game will release as a full title, though not before changing name. ExoCross is set for release in autumn of 2023 and is expected to be a fun, futuristic off-road racer.
In true iRacing style, several simulation aspects are being thrown into this otherwise arcade game. The tyre model will reportedly feature realistic flexibility whilst the surface model is said to draw inspiration from the online sim racing game’s dirt oval surface.
Featuring futuristic racing vehicles in a post-apocalyptic setting, ExoCross is sure to offer something no other title can. Indeed, it often takes a bold design choice from a smaller studio to create a game that sets itself apart from the market. For that brave strategy, we can only applaud iRacing and Orontes and patiently wait the title’s release later this year.
Hot Wheels Unleashed 2
As one can guess with the recent releases of LEGO 2K Drive, Disney Speedstorm and the announcement of NASCAR Arcade Rush, kart racer arcade games are in fashion. Therefore, it is obviously the perfect time for Milestone to bring its offer to the table in the shape of Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged.
Much like the first game, Unleashed 2 puts the player behind the wheel of toy cars flying around one’s home. Different circuit locations place a fully custom track within a room and see players duke it out for the win.
A very stylised game, the title looks just like a hot wheels track flying around a living room, back garden or bedroom. However, in this second title, locations such as a gas station, dinosaur museum and mini golf course also join the roster. If you want to feel small in a big world, this may be the game for you.
Furthermore, over 100 vehicle models will feature in the game. Whilst these aren’t customisable, one can create their own tracks. The title releases on 19 October in what has been a very busy 2023 for Milestone, the team behind the game.
Future Under the Radar Racing Games
That may be it for quirky, atypical titles coming in 2023. But there are plenty more announced for years to come. Indeed, indie game developers are allowing the sim racing market to once again become an exciting place to be.
First up, the community has already seen what Reiza has done to raise awareness of Brazilian Motorsport. Well, REG Simulations is putting in a similar job creating a simulator focusing on the Argentinian way of racing cars. Currently, PISTA Motorsport screenshots mostly show off a low-level formula car and a small hatch back racer. But rest assured that the iconic Turismo Carretera beasts will surely feature.
Elsewhere, it seems JDM-focused racers are returning to the forefront of gaming. Our very own René Buttler often streams the in-development Apex Point title. All about buying cars, modifying and racing them or selling them off for cash, this game is surely a petrol head’s dream. Growing at a good rate, 2025 should see this title leave Early Access status.
Additionally, Japanese Drift Master looks to be a gorgeous title all about rising through the ranks of Japan’s drift scene. An open world game with car customisation, an enticing story and enjoyable physics. According to the market blurb on the title’s Steam page, it is also sure to be popular among car enthusiasts.
Finally, unveiled just last week was the latest addition to the Mudrunner series of games. Expeditions is the newest off-road simulator from Saber Interactive pushing on from the original Spintires tech demo. With new techy game modes and a focus on exploring the wilderness in rugged machines, the first clips certainly intrigue fans.
Which under the radar racing game are you most looking forward to? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!