Is it possible to generate a convincing sense of speed on a four-inch display? It might seem unlikely, but the App Store is bursting with an excellent and diverse array of racing games that beg to differ. Whether your tastes run toward arcade antics or simulation-style precision, or you prefer to loop in a cartoonish kart racer from time to time, we've got you covered with our picks for the 10 best iPhone racers available today. Heck, a couple of them don't even give you active control of your vehicle, but still deliver intriguing touchscreen tweaks on the genre. Whatever your speed needs, these zippy affairs are sure to satisfy.
It's surely difficult to craft the follow-up to the most spectacular iOS racing game ever produced, and doubly so when ditching a price point for a divisive free-to-play model. Electronic Arts attempts both with the anticipated Real Racing 3, and largely succeeds on both fronts, delivering a hugely impressive free racer. You've never played a free mobile racer that's half as robust or refined as Real Racing 3. Building upon the fantastic previous iteration, the game pumps even more gloss and detail into its simulation, providing a great sensation of speed and realism as you blast through real-world tracks in licensed super cars.
We generally agree with the old axiom that it’s best not to judge a book by its cover, but in the case of the Real Racing 3, we’ll make an exception. It’s got 46 real, licensed cars, real-life tracks including Spa, Laguna Seca, Brands Hatch and more, and some of the most realistic graphics we’ve seen on iOS. It’s also the third game in the series, but you might have figured that out already. Who says truth in advertising doesn’t work?
If you were a fan of ’90s arcade racing games, start revving up your engines, because that same brand of intuitive, intense, fast-paced fun is headed to Apple platforms with The ’90s Arcade Racer (working title). Influenced by coin-op classics such as Sega’s Daytona USA and Indy 500, The ’90s Arcade Racer is being built to blend old-school design sensibilities with modern technology.
Since its early beginnings as a game platform, iOS has seen its share of racing titles. Amazingly, each year seems to find some developer upping the stakes with smoother controls and exciting, new features. Table Top Racing is not one of those games. More like a plodding journey into an almost forgotten time when Micro Machines were still interesting, Table Top Racing is a great-looking game without much substance.
On consoles and PC, Need for Speed: Most Wanted recently returned the enduring racing franchise to glory, delivering a huge open-road experience in which players can explore, compete, evade police chases, and test out dozens of licensed rides. Expectedly, the universal iOS take is less robust; it finds the middle ground between its much larger (and pricier) brethren and the series' past mobile entries, delivering a portable racer that impresses on many fronts, yet doesn't fully satisfy.
Injecting a dose of excessive violence and foul language into the racing game genre helped the original Carmageddon stand out from the pack for its controversial nature alone. Many years later, this faithful iOS port still has a touch of shock value left in its gas tank, but the brutal racing and crass antics haven't aged very well.
When a studio is entering the seventh iteration of a game franchise, it's expectedly difficult to keep things feeling fresh. And the issue of creative stagnation is even more prevalent when looking at genres with traditionally strict boundaries, like the arcade racer. So, if you were hoping Gameloft would reinvent the wheel -- pardon the pun -- with Asphalt 7: Heat, curb your expectations.
Putting a fresh spin on iOS racers, Slingshot Racing ditches traditional steering and gas controls and simply lets you tap the screen to grapple onto nearby pillars and whip around turns. As such, timing and momentum take center stage in these looping, steampunk-themed environments, with a variety of play modes included across distinctive tracks.
Spun off from the popular Burnout arcade racing franchise on consoles, Burnout Crash turns a horrifying real-life fate – causing a huge vehicle pile-up – into a comical high score chase, as you attempt to pull more and more cars and buildings into your explosive wave of destruction.