The best racing game for Android is... Asphalt 9 (£free + IAP)
There are two ways to approach racing games: you can recreate ‘reality’ by crafting a ‘simulation’ and making the tracks very grey; or you can go crazy. Asphalt takes the latter route.
In this unhinged nitro-fest, you belt along at breakneck speeds, regularly catapulting your car into the air in a manner totally unacceptable under your insurance plan. And you don’t even need to steer. Although you can go traditional for controls, Asphalt by default pulls a Super Mario Run, urging you to swipe and prod to time actions (jumps; nitros; drifts), while the game itself points you in the right direction.
It shouldn’t work. It really does. Only avoid if you’re grumpy, old, and hate breezy arcade lawks.
Touchgrind BMX 2 (free + IAP)
Most trials games have you trying to coax a rider along lumpy side-scrolling circuits – without landing them on their head. Touchgrind BMX 2, though, pretty much puts you in the saddle.
The viewpoint is from above your bike, and you use two digits to, respectively, control the handlebars and seat. When your bike’s hurled into the air (which happens frequently), you perform a dazzling airborne choreography by way of flicks and swipes.
At least you do after a while. At first, Touchgrind BMX 2 is crash city; but commit the stunts and tracks to memory, and this cracker will cement itself in your brain as a wheelie good Android title.
Horizon Chase (£free)
A love letter to classic 1990s arcade racers, Horizon Chase channels Lotus Turbo Esprit Challenge and Top Gear, fusing them with a decidedly modern take on old-school visuals. The result is an intoxicating and vibrant blast through 73 tracks located in 32 cities around the globe.
Realism’s broadly ignored in favour of speed as you battle from the back of the grid (every time, just like in the old days), bumping rivals aside to try for the chequered flag.
The difficulty curve’s smooth; the soundtrack’s head-noddingly cheesy; and the game is fast. You’re basically dead inside if you don’t plonk down £2.29 for the full-game unlock once you’ve bested the initial handful of free tracks.
Motorsports Manager Mobile 3 (£3.99)
Yes, we know: we’re recommending a racing game where you don’t actually do any racing yourself. Fight us. The reason we’re a little bit feisty is because Motorsports Manager Mobile 3 is all kinds of special. In short, it’s a management sim without boring bits.
You start from scratch, gradually building up your team, your HQ, your cars, and your drivers’ egos (although, frankly, they’re pretty big from day one). Race weekends involve a bit of card-game tinkering for set-ups, and then deciding on race strategies and tyre changes. You wouldn’t think it’d be exciting to watch coloured discs whizz about a circuit, but when your driver’s about to take the chequered flag, this game’s just as thrilling as one with an in-car view.