Racing is probably one of the earliest genres in video gaming history. It has drastically evolved throughout the years. The first ever racing game was Space Race, an arcade game released by Atari in 1973. The concept of using vehicles was first applied a year after when the company Taito released Speed Race. It was also the first game to ever use scrolling graphics, a milestone in arcade gaming at that time. In the 1980s, we were introduced to games like Rally X, the first racing game to use background music, and the well-acclaimed Pole Position, the first single-player racing game that used F1 Racing cars. When Nintendo entered the competition in the 90s, they brought in a large number of popular titles including F-Zero and of course, the iconic Super Mario Kart. In the same decade, we were also introduced to some popular titles that eventually grew into giant franchises like Sony’s Gran Turismo and EA’s Need for Speed series.
Fast forward to today’s generation, racing remains to be a popular game genre. There is a huge number of racing games on mobile that you can play. Generally, racing games follow the same formula. They provide a realistic simulation of racing vehicles and some of which is based entirely on real car models. The core objective is pretty much self-explanatory, enter the race field and outrace your opponents. Today, we are listing down ten of the best free-to-play racing games on mobile that you can play with.
Asphalt 9: Legends
Asphalt is one of the flagship games developed and published by Gameloft. The first Asphalt game was released in 2004 for Nintendo DS and was eventually followed by multiple sequels and spin-offs. In 2009, Gameloft started venturing into mobile and released Asphalt 4: Elite Racing (specifically released for iOS devices). Asphalt 5, on the other hand, was the first game to be optimized for Android devices. The mechanics of the series are very formulaic. It takes you to fast-paced arcade racing that is set in various locations all over the world. Your main goal is to compete with other racers while attempting to evade police cars on the road.
Appearance-wise, Asphalt is an absolute visual delight that treats you with beautiful 3D graphics. Asphalt 9 is the latest addition to that franchise that was released in 2018. Compared to its predecessors, Asphalt 9 features a vast of improvements. It comes with prestigious car lineups, new control schemes, and new race campaigns to explore. The game features four playing modes including Career, Multiplayer, Events, and Special Events mode. Interestingly, the players can also custom paint the cars that they already unlocked. The game will also introduce players to various new locations such as Cairo, the Himalayas, Wyoming, the Caribbean, and more.
CSR 2: Drag Racing
Following the success of its predecessors (CSR 1 and CSR Classics), CSR 2 takes you on an epic street racing adventure. CSR which basically stands for Custom Street Racing is developed and published by NaturalMotion Games. Here, the player will take the role of a new racer who will attempt to earn fame in a city that is ruled by different racing crews. Each crew represents a tier that you must surpass in order to progress. To do so, you must be able to defeat the boss. It is also interesting to note that each tier will introduce a new location and new lineup of cars. However, the rate of difficulty will also drastically increase as you progress.
Similar to the first CSR Racing game, CSR 2 also comes with multiple campaigns to explore. Aside from the main campaign (Regulation mode), you can also explore the Daily Battle mode that grants players new cars that are not part of their current collection. The Trial Mode, on the other hand, is also a daily event that comes with certain restrictions and rules while the Ladder Race mode is a series of quick races with increasing difficulty and reward payout. There are also different special events that allow you to compete on a global leaderboard. Appearance-wise, CSR 2 also provides visually stunning console-grade graphics.
Mario Kart Tour
Mario Kart is another successful racing game franchise developed and published by Nintendo. The first Mario Kart game was launched in the early 90s and was well-received by gamers. Following the success of the first Mario Kart, Nintendo eventually expanded the game into a massive franchise. Interestingly, the majority of Mario Kart games were exclusively developed for Nintendo console devices like SNES, Nintendo 64, Gameboy, Wii, Nintendo DS and 3DS, and Nintendo Switch to name a few. Mario Kart Tour was the company’s first attempt to bring the franchise into the mobile platform. The game was launched in 2019 for both Android and iOS devices.
Unlike its predecessors, Mario Kart Tour deviates from the traditional Mario Kart gameplay. The goal is simple, compete with other opponents and reach the finish line first. As the title suggests, the game introduced players to a format called “Tours” that will take players to various courses that are based on cities of the real world. These include Paris, New York City, London, Singapore, and Bangkok to name a few. Like most Mario Kart games, players can take advantage of the powerups that they can obtain along the way. The game also features more than 120 characters, the most of any Mario game. Best of all, the game is wonderfully optimized for mobile devices and is also available for free.
Real Racing 3
Real Racing is another critically acclaimed racing game that was exclusively developed for mobile devices. Developed and published by Firemint Studio (which later became Firemonkey Studios after merging with Iron Monkey and after the EA Acquisition), Real Racing features a realistic racing game simulation. As the title suggests, the game highlights cars that are inspired by real models. The critical success of the first Real Racing game has led to two more sequels. Real Racing 3 is the recent addition to the growing franchise that features highly improved graphics and tons of new vehicles to unlock and play.
It includes 45 circuits at 20 real-world inspired locations, a 43-car grid, and over 400 licensed cars from 42 world-renowned car manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz, Bugatti, McLaren, Chevrolet, Ford, Koenigsegg, Audi, Porshe, Lamborghini, and more. While the game is considered freemium, there are many elements that require in-game cash. For instance, the players are required to maintain and service their vehicles. If they failed to do so, the car’s performance will suffer drastically. Tournaments and other multiplayer campaigns are also available n RR3 that will allow you to compete with online players in real time. The game is also an absolute visual delight that takes you to immersive 3D maps and highly-realistic racing simulation.
Top Speed 2
T-Bull is not really new in developing racing games for mobile. Their growing library includes a great collection of racing game titles including Top Bike, Top Boat, Racing Xtreme, Racing Classics, Bike Clash, and more. Top Speed is one of the studio’s flagship titles. The game follows the story of an officer who was recently suspended from his duty. He got a call back and was tasked to act as an undercover to catch illegal traders. To do so, you will engage in a series of illegal drag races and will attempt to beat the criminals. Unlike other racing games, Top Speed 2 comes with a unique racing format. Instead of maneuvering the vehicle across a circuit or challenging courses, the game only involves a straight lane.
Just like a typical drag race format, the race is only between two vehicles and the objective is to reach the finish line first. The game will not require players to manually operate a virtual steering wheel. It features tap-based buttons that allow you to shift gears. Generally, the key to winning the race is perfect timing. You must learn to tap the button at the right time to maximize your chances of winning. Of course, it is also important to upgrade your car to make you more efficient in every challenge or better yet purchase a new car with a higher tier level. Aside from over 70 cars to unlock, you can also customize them individually and change their paint or add decals according to your preference.
Rally Fury is a simple yet surprisingly addictive racing game that is developed and published by Refuel Games. The game offers both Single-Player and Online Multiplayer modes. Like most racing games, your main objective is to reach the finish line as quickly as possible. For Single-player modes, the objectives will vary per level. Each level is rated 1 to 3 Stars where each star represents an objective. Therefore, if you want to obtain three stars, you need to finish the race while successfully completing the two other objectives (since completing the race already guarantees the player one star). Some levels might require you to perform drifting and jumping on air in a certain amount of time.
The ability of the players to repeat levels in an attempt to gain all three stars provides Rally Fury an impressive replay value. The game also features dynamic sceneries and over 100 race events to explore. All of these will take place in six unique environments including green fields, alpine mountains, a desert canyon, a tropical beach, and more. You can also take advantage of the nitro boost to help you reach your goal or outrace your opponent more effectively. Players can also upgrade the cars to make them more efficient in every match and they can also customize their appearance according to their preferences to give their vehicles unique identity. If you have an Android TV, this game can also be installed and you can play the game using your remote control or a gamepad.
F1 Mobile Racing
Electronic Arts or EA is already a well-established game-developing company that brought us some of the biggest titles in both consoles and mobile platforms. These include well-acclaimed series like FIFA, The Sims, Plants Vs Zombies, Bejeweled Blitz, and NBA Live to name a few. F1 is also one of their leading titles which were first released in the early 2000s. The license was later acquired by the Codemasters in 2008 but was recovered by EA after the acquisition that took place in 2021. While most F1 games are exclusively developed for higher consoles, EA developed a game that was exclusively optimized for mobile devices. F1 Mobile Racing managed to capture all the exciting elements that the F1 series has. It is also the official mobile game of the 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship that also features all this year’s teams and drivers.
It offers a Career Mode where you start your very own career and represent an official F1 team for a season. The game also allows you to develop and customize your very own F1 car from scratch. Aside from the single-player mode, you can also test your skills by entering the multiplayer matches. This mode allows you to compete or duel with other players in real time. If you are lucky enough, you can also enter the limited Grand Prix events and win prestigious prizes. Appearance-wise, F1 Mobile Racing will certainly not disappoint gamers with its console-grade graphics.
Horizon Chase is described by Aquiris Game Studio as a tribute to classic arcade racing game because aside from adopting the classic racing game format, the game is also incorporated with a retro-inspired soundtrack composed by Barry Leitch, the same composer behind Top Gear, a popular SNES racing game in the 90s. Your main objective in this game is to compete against 19 other opponents and try to finish at least 5th place to advance to the next level. The mechanics for Horizon Chase are very simple and easily manageable yet like any other racing game, it requires you to exert the best of your eye and hand coordination to win the game.
Aside from attempting to outrank opponents, you are also encouraged to collect items along the way. You can collect coins that you can later use to purchase new vehicles and upgrades, you can also collect fuel to keep your vehicle running. Be mindful that if you run out of fuel, the vehicle will stop and you may not be able to complete the race. You can also take advantage of the nitro boosters to give you a temporary speed boost during the race (players are provided with three free Nitro boosts in every race). Aside from the World Tour Campaign, you can also explore the Daily Challenges that will introduce you to much more difficult tracks. If you want to experience more, you may also purchase special campaigns that feature new locations and vehicles.
Need for Speed No Limits
Need for Speed is probably one of the oldest racing game titles that are still actively being developed today. The first Need for Speed game was initially launched by EA in 1994 for the 3DO home video game console. It was eventually ported to other platforms such as MS-DOS and PlayStation 1. The success of the game has led to multiple sequels and spin-offs. Need for Speed No Limits is one of the recent additions to the franchise and is exclusively developed and optimized for mobile devices. The game is developed by Firemonkey Studios, the same team behind the Real Racing 3 game.
The premise of the game is similar to the majority of Need for Speed games. Your goal is to play as a new racer who will attempt to earn a name in the illegal street racing industry by competing and defeating other racers. Unlike other racing games though, Need For Speed No Limits comes with different control schemes. Instead of manual acceleration, the car in this game will accelerate automatically and the only actions you can manipulate are the left and right movement of the vehicle by tapping the left and right portion of the game screen respectively. You can, however, activate the Nitro boost by swiping the screen up. Players can also upgrade the vehicle to improve its performance and maximize their chances of winning. Aside from the main campaign, you can also explore equally-challenging modes like Car Series and Rival Races. Most cars in the game can be customized with wheels, body kits, widebody kits, paint jobs, and wraps, in addition to performance upgrades. If you think you are skillful enough to win this game, feel free to explore Need For Speed No Limits and see how far you can go.
Developed and published by Hutch Games, Rebel Racing is yet another decent racing game on mobile that you can play for free. The goal of this game is to help your character build his own name in the car racing industry. Rebel Racing shares the same control scheme with Need for Speed where your car runs or accelerates automatically and the only action you can operate is the car’s left and right movements. Unlike NFS though, the races in this game are notably short and quick. It comes with multiple campaigns that you can freely explore one after another. These include Easy Money mode which is equivalent to a quick match and Ladder Races which takes you to a tournament-style campaign where races will become increasingly difficult as you climb the ladder.
Boss level, on the other hand, allows you to compete against bosses and earn bigger rewards while Daily Test Drive takes you to a more challenging match using a different set of vehicles. Players can also upgrade their vehicles to make them more efficient and effective in their succeeding races. You can also take advantage of the crates to obtain more blueprints and unlock new cars. Going offroad or out of the track, or bumping other vehicles will also grant you Rebel bonuses that will also add impact to your final score. Graphics-wise, Rebel Racing is also an absolute visual delight that treats you with clean and beautiful 3D console-grade visuals. Definitely worth exploring.
Racing games are developed to test your skills while providing you with a fun gaming experience. The genre definitely has come a long way from simple scrolling graphics to hardcore and highly realistic racing challenges. If you are looking for a decent racing game for your device, feel free to explore our Top 10 Best Free-to-Play Racing games and let us know which one suits your taste! Have fun!
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