Since the earliest days of video games, motor racing has been one of the top themes. Those of us lucky enough to have had 1980s childhoods will doubtless remember arcade classics like Super Bug or Pole Position on their 8-bit home computer. 40 years on, and not only are racing games still among the most popular themes, many of the players are still the same – perhaps a little less trim and with greying hair, but just as passionate about their racing.
Mobile is today’s platform of choice
Of course, plenty has changed in 40 years, and not just in terms of the gameplay and realism. Back in the 80s, playing a racing game meant either feeding coins into a cabinet or hooking up a computer to the family TV screen with either joystick or even steering wheel and pedal set up. Today, it’s just a case of pulling the phone from our pocket and clicking on an app. That’s part of the reason that gaming of all varieties is so common today among all ages. Many of us would think twice about investing heavily in a gaming console and so on, but when we already have a smartphone and 98 percent of games are free to download, then why not?
There are literally dozens of racing games out there covering different themes and sub-genres. If you are looking for a casual game that will provide a fun distraction in your idle moments, we have selected a handful of the most popular for your consideration.
Real Racing 3 – the original and still the best racing sim
For the past decade, Real Racing 3 (RR3) has been the go-to racing game for Android and iOS. Think of it as the mobile version of Gran Turismo. Don’t be deterred by the fact that the game will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year – the graphics and game physics have aged well. The attention to detail is fabulous, and every one of the 250 or so cars available has its own handling characteristics. Performance is affected if you pick up damage so try to keep it on the black stuff!
There are all sorts of game modes, including multiplayer events and special challenges, so there’s always something new to try. But if you are just discovering the game for the first time, focus on career mode, starting with the more modest vehicles. Learning the tracks, and particularly the braking points, is essential, and it all comes with experience.
Asphalt 9 – Legends – a guilty pleasure for arcade racers
Like RR3, Asphalt 9 has licenses with some of the top automotive manufacturers. But that’s where the similarities end. While RR3 is all about bringing the most authentic driving experience to your handset, Asphalt 9 takes a traditional arcade-style approach, with nitrous boosts and incredible stunts that make the Dukes of Hazzard look like a retired couple out on a shopping trip.
It's less cerebral than RR3 and doesn’t demand the same sort of concentration, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes, a bit of mindless arcade-style fun is exactly what you need to pass a few idle moments, and Asphalt 9 never fails to deliver.
Formula X – the motor racing themed casino slot
Here’s a racing themed game that is a massive hit among Australian racing fans. Not only do Aussies love their motorsport, they are also the biggest spending casino players on the planet, wagering on average more than $1,000 per person per year. Most of that is spent on slot games, or pokies as they are known locally, and the best paying online casinos offer hundreds of games. Now the first step towards receiving a top payout is finding a game with a decent return to player and a good selection of bonus features. Formula X checks all the boxes.
Don’t be deterred by the somewhat dated appearance of the game, first impressions can be deceptive. Behind the basic main screen lie extra events like a free spins round and a bonus minigame called “Pole Position” – if that doesn’t transport you back to the days of Commodore and Atari gaming, there is no hope left for you! Overall, this is a fun slot game with reasonable payout metrics, in which there is always something happening.
Flex your managerial muscles with F1 Clash
Some of the most compelling sports games are ones that place you in the manager’s chair. If you think you could out-fox Christian Horner or Toto Wolff, it’s time to stop talking about it and instead install F1 Clash on your phone.
The main game modes are “duels” where you go directly up against another manager in a race to the checkered flag and “events” which follow the real-world F1 season. There are numerous decisions to be made during the race including pit stop strategy, fuel management and choice of tire compound. You can also spend coins to upgrade your cars between races, so with a little dedication, even the Williams Racing, Haas or Alfa Romeos can be fighting it out at the front of the grid!
Open World adventures in Forza Horizon 4
The mobile port of this 2018 addition to the Forza Horizon series is set in a fictionalized Great Britain. There is a vast network of roads and lanes to explore, and more than 400 cars to choose from, from modern supercars to vintage museum pieces – for the driving purists, the latter offer the most challenging experience, especially when the British climate turns against you!
There are numerous challenges and events to try, and success will bring currency and the opportunity to expand your car collection. But the best part is exploring the open road – happy travels and drive safely!