Speed your way past the competition in these outstanding racers for Android!
We’ve rounded up the best racing games found in the Google Play Store. With so many options to choose from, we’ve compiled a list that covers a whole slew of sub-genres — from stylized arcade racing to highly realistic racing sims — so no matter your preference, you should find an outstanding game that’s right for you. Let’s hit the road!
- Mario Kart Tour
- Asphalt 9: Legends
- Riptide GP: Renegade
- Horizon Chase: World Tour
- Colin McRae Rally
- Thumb Drift
- Real Racing 3
- Fast & Furious Legacy
- Death Rally
- CSR Racing
Mario Kart Tour
A brand new mobile Mario Kart game is obviously going to be one of the most exciting racing games titles released on Android this year. Nintendo making this game free to play is as much a blessing as it is a curse — it means that millions of people can jump in and play without having to pay a dime, but it also means the game has been carefully designed to entice you to subscribe to a monthly Gold Pass and spend on in-app currency to unlock more characters and rewards at a quicker pace.
The gameplay itself is as frantic and chaotic as you’d expect from a Mario Kart game, and it’s easily the most fun I’ve had with a mobile racing game in some time. In most aspects, this does look and feel like a true Mario Kart experience complete with item boxes and coins scattered across each course, fun shortcuts to discover, and that familiar thrill of victory and the more familiar sting of defeat. This is, however, in spite of the oversimplified controls, invisible bumper rails preventing you from going off course, and other bizarre limitations that Nintendo has imposed.
In many ways, the only novel aspect of Mario Kart Tour is that it’s available to play on smartphones. There’s less courses and characters available and to unlock them all would likely require spending cash than it would take to simply buy the latest Mario Kart game for the Nintendo Switch. But again, you don’t need to spend money to enjoy Mario Kart Tour — until you start getting matched up against those players who have spent gobs of it to upgrade their drivers and karts, of course.
Asphalt 9: Legends
Asphalt 9: Legends is the latest entry in one of the most popular racing titles games available in the Google Play Store. It skips all pretensions of realism and provides an over-the-top, high-octane experience with all the fixings. Players can work (or pay) their way through the career mode to unlock new rides or upgrade the ones they have. You can race against online opponents in eight-car races that are wild and fast.
The controls default to "TouchDrive," which allows you to focus on shifting lanes to hit specific jumps or routes, drifting and using nitro while the game itself handles your acceleration and steering. There are other control options available including on-screen controls and tilt-steering, but honestly, you’re best off playing with TouchDrive on to start until you get a handle on the game.
The incredibly polished graphics and outstanding soundtrack make Asphalt 9 an adrenaline trip you won’t soon forget.
Riptide GP: Renegade
Riptide GP: Renegade is the latest and greatest in futuristic jet ski racing franchise on Android. Harkening back to memories of games like Jet Moto or Wave Race 64, Riptide GP: Renegade features a story-driven career mode alongside options to run a quick race or battle against online opponents. The graphics are top-notch, with water and motion blur effects, giving the game a good sense of speed.
It uses tilt-steering to control your hydro jet, which is less than ideal, but Bluetooth gamepads are also supported and make things smoother. Speaking of controls, one key aspect of the game is pulling off insane stunts, which are easy to do with quick swipes. There’s plenty to unlock and upgrade as you play through the career mode, and the AI is top notch, providing a real challenge compared to other racing games for Android. You’ll need a pretty good phone to handle the graphics and gameplay, and also plays wonderfully on the NVIDIA Shield Android TV box.
If you’re looking for some tips before diving in, check out our Beginner’s Guide for Riptide GP: Renegade.
This game stands out from other racing games with the way it blends a high-speed car chases with the best elements from the endless runner genre. Immediately, you are drawn in by the great art style that uses procedurally generated maps to plot out the curbside attractions and towns you must pass through on your outlaw tour. You’ll need to become a skilled driver to collect all the bottle caps as you go, which are spent on unlocking your choice of 29 uniquely cool vehicles. Completing the ambiance is your anonymous sidekick, who reminds you every time you pass a gas station and comment on every near miss.
Although endless runners are often casual games, the touch controls require your full attention with quick inputs used to drive your car through tight spots. Each car you unlock has its own speeds and handling, but you can master each one as you unlock them and race across the three terrains — deserts, snow, and jungle — each with five cities to tour through. The free version you download from the Play Store includes ads that you can watch to extend a run — or you can pay a one-time in-app purchase to remove ads and get permanent in-game bonuses.
Horizon Chase – World Tour
Horizon Chase is a fun retro-style racer with gameplay reminiscent of the classic 80s arcade racer Pole Position. Featuring bright and colorful retro graphics and over 70 tracks spanning 32 cities, there’s plenty of fun to be had here. You start each race from the back of a 20 car pack and must weave your way past your opponents to take the crown. Keep winning to upgrade and unlock up 16 available cars.
You get to play the San Francisco tracks but then must pay to unlock the full game. Given how beautiful and fun this game is, we bet you will.
Repulze is proof that not all great racing games require wheels. If you’re a fan of the F-Zero or Wipeout franchises, you’ll love Repulze. Race through 24 winding, gravity-defying tracks in experimental hovercrafts. Another thing that sets Repulze apart from other games is the way you collect turbo boosts. Based on your craft’s polarity, you either aim to go through green or red gates, which unlock boosts. And the whole game is wrapped up in an overarching storyline about the evil corporation controlling everything from the shadows.
Repulze is a fantastic, futuristic racer that’s definitely worth the $0.99 price tag.
Colin McRae Rally
I recently rediscovered the port of this classic PC game from way back in 1998. Rally car racing is all about whipping your car down gravel and dirt roads while trying to set the fasted time on the course. This offline racer is a great option if you’re less interested in street racing games.
The controls are tight with on-screen and motion-based options available, and the game has a good grasp on real-life physics, which is crucial for rally racing. You’ll need to learn how to follow the on-screen and audio directions given by your co-driver so that you keep your car on the road and avoid smashing into trees. If you do, your car will take damage, which stacks up quick when you’re trying to compete for a championship. There are many tracks to unlock, and all the iconic rally car brands are included.
Despite the lengthy loading times, this is still the best rally car game you’ll find on Android.
Thumb Drift – Furious Racing
Want to race, but only have one hand free? Thumb Drift is the perfect game for you! Featuring charming graphics and a simple premise, your goal is to drift sideways through four increasingly challenging courses. With over 70 cars to buy via in-app purchases, or unlock randomly using coins collected on the track, there are hours of mindless fun to be had here.
Thumb Drift is the casual, endless racer you’ve been waiting for.
Real Racing 3
Real Racing 3 is bound to keep gearheads entertained. It puts real brand-name cars on real-world tracks – hence the name. It features an interesting asynchronous multiplayer system whereby lap times are recorded from your friends, and you race against a bot that’s driving at that time. Of course, you can bump them out and affect their track time, and there’s a single-player career worth playing through too. Over time, players earn new cars and can upgrade various mechanical bits with their winnings, but make sure you take it easy on your car — you’ll have to keep your ride in good condition to avoid repair costs.
Real Racing 3 is gorgeous, and the white-knuckled racing action will keep you coming back for more.
Fast & Furious Legacy
Fast & Furious Legacy is a racing game based on the popular action movies. The game features a good mix of different races and missions. Hit the nitro and blast past your opponents in street races, drag races, drift races. Winnings are spent on upgrading rides to take on bigger and badder challenges as you progress through the story mode, featuring all your favorite characters from the film franchise.
Fast & Furious Legacy offers bite-sized racing with varied gameplay and beautiful graphics.
Death Rally is a gritty, combat-heavy top-down racing title. Players deck out their ride with all manner of Mad Max-style weaponry and eliminate competitors in races and straight-up deathmatches. Weapon parts litter every battlefield, as well as cash bonuses and nitro speed boosts. The nice thing about Death Rally is that even if you don’t place first in a race, you can still walk away with a fair bit of cash just from blowing up opponents.
Death Rally is a great title for those looking to unload a bit of road rage.
CSR Racing is a clean-cut drag racing game. Players needn’t worry about steering — all you have to do is perfectly time your gear changes. Indicators tell when to make your next shift, and assuming your timing is up to snuff and your ride is amply upgraded, you should pull across the finish line before your opponent, and earn some winnings. Premium currency can be used to buy high-end cars, while the standard currency can be used to buy the others, as well as upgrade specific parts such as the gearbox, engine, intake, and body.
CSR Racing boils down the racing experience to pure twitch reflexes.
What’s your go-to racing game of choice? Let us know in the comments!
Updated, September 2019: We’ve added Mario Kart Tour to our list. Happy gaming!
October 3, 2019 at 02:30AM