The racing game is like the toasted cheese sandwich of apps. A classic in every way and tasty no matter how badly you cook it, we love a good racing app. There is however an insane number of them to choose from and while most are pretty decent, there are a few standouts which you most definitely want to download.
Check below for our list of the greatest racing games you can slap on to your iPad. But be warned, these guys carry some of the heftiest price tags in the app store. Understandably so, as most are pretty much fully fledged console quality games.
Mini Motor HD
Mini Motor is a familiar kind of game. It’s a top-down, non-realistic, lap racer with all the usual power-ups, car upgrades and track, cup and vehicle unlocks. A quick glance at all the padlocks on the menus is a good sign that there’s plenty of gameplay to get through; certainly enough for your £2.50 outlay or thereabouts, anyway.
Generally the game is pretty standard fare. You choose your car, you choose your track, you get behind the wheel and you get racing but, what really sets Mini Motor apart - and, ultimately, makes it worth downloading - are the stunning graphics and smooth way that the game is put together. It’s a treat to watch each menu roll seamlessly into the next and, once you get driving, it’s as much a pleasure to enjoy the sights and sounds of the environments as it is to screech, skid, boost and bump your way around the bends. Read more
Cars & Guns 3D
Cars and Guns 3D does pretty much exactly what it says on the tin, minus the 3D part. It's a cardboard cut-out, PaRappa the Rapper-look, road rage racer where you can buy and sell vehicles as you complete different types of missions and buy tune-ups along the way. Get a little bit further into the adventure and one of those optional extras you can pick up turns out to be guns.
The cars obviously handle very differently from one another, with a more expensive model not necessarily guaranteed to bring you better results, but it's probably the on-screen touch controls that unintentionally add a little extra. The lack of polish doesn't take anything away from this title though and it's possibly not the easiest app to use on the back of the bus but certainly well worth your 69p. Read more
Put together, effectively, by a super group of developers, Bike Baron has been much anticipated and is a side-scrolling, platform-style trial bike racer game. There's only four buttons you need to press - lean left, lean right, go and stop - and we're very pleased that the developers have resisted the urge to add gyroscopic controls into the mix. Waggling your arms around when on the Tube is not a way of a) remaining inconspicuous, or b) making friends. Old-fashioned controls for old-fashioned gamers, and we're happy with that (although you can set whether you're right or left-handed).
Even the game progression is simple, relying on the tried and trusted "earn up to three stars" level method. Stars can be earned through finishing the course in a set time, collecting coins, and even the amount of back or front flips you manage along the way. But added to this format is the way you unlock the next level. Each unlock costs a certain amount of stars, so, unless you do particularly well, you may find yourself running out, and thus having to go back to a stage you hadn't completed in full. Say goodbye to your free time. Read More
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing
The premise of the game is simple - you control Sonic or one of his pals (or foes) around a series of tracks, drifting, boosting and weapon-using along the way. It's a bit like that other franchise karting came that you're probably already familiar with - you know, Shrek Kart. You kick off proceedings by creating your Sega Driving Licence and choosing a game face, then you're off straight into the tutorial. It's all fairly straight forward if you've played this type of racing sim before - although the graphics are above and beyond what we've seen from its small screen rivals in the past.
After the tutorial you have a plethora of single-player and multi-player options. In single player there are three GP stages in which to compete (with three difficulty levels), speed trials, single races or missions, of which there are 25. These include coin chases, accuracy tests and the like - all the while you're collecting Sega Miles to unlock further characters and courses. This game is far superior to the racing game that Sonic first appeared in, back in 1991, and probably around the price of three or four goes on that arcade classic. Read more
Developed by Renderpaz, this game consists of driving down said zombie highway while dodging, and using, various upturned cars and lorries to knock zombies (who leap from the side of the road) off you car. Fortunately, there is a decent array of weapons as well, so you can mete out justice the good 'ol fashioned way - with a shotgun.
There are three levels - Clasic, No Weapons and Hard - to keep you busy and a good variety of zombies on offer with varying degrees of toughness. Get as far down the highway as possible to earn weapons and be awarded with either the gold, silver or bronze award. A great game. Read More
HTR HD High Tech Racing
HTR HD is, basically, slot car racing without the hassle. It offers numerous track layouts, structured, progressive gameplay, and different cars to whiz around. The game even offers the ability to create your own track layouts and race them. In short, it brings back so many memories of kneeling in the living room and racing toy cars that it'll even make you knees throb.
There's not a lot to the gameplay. Just slide your finger up the screen to accelerate. That's it. But, as anybody who remembers the real thing will know, the skill is not in how fast you can go, but also how well you can keep on the track while you're doing it. Admittedly, the game plays a bit more like TCR (Total Control Racing) than Scalextric, with four small cars on the track and jumps, but it's challenging nonetheless. You can even download a Lite version for free if you want to give it a go before you buy. Read More
Real Racing 2 HD
Once you have the fairly meaty download that is Real Racing 2 HD sitting comfortably on your iPad home screen you are going to want to get yourself fired up and straight into the single player. You might notice almost immediately, from the detail in the car that you purchase, that this game is graphically a stunner. That first car by the way, go for the Volkswagen - it sets you up better for things later on.
Then it's straight into the racing which is quite simply, well ... real. The iPad 2 and upwards version benefits from an enhanced lighting engine and improved textures as well as the ability to run the game at 720p on a television via AirPlay. You can also go split screen against another three different players.
You race against a different array of cars, initially small hot hatches but later on full-blown supercars and racers. Control is done by the usual accelerometer input an a single screen tap to turn on the brake. You can switch things to a right-side tap for accelerator and left for brake or if you prefer, go for full-blown wheel sliding control. Read more
If you've ever played any of the Burnout games, Burnout Crash will make some sense. Its premise is based on the Crash element in the console games, and here it is the main focus. Crash into a car, and then spend the next 90 seconds, or whatever the goal is, trying to continue that crash going to rack up the points.
Each level has three game types: Rush Hour, Pile Up, and Road Block, all with different goals to achieve. Each area also has three difficult levels to it and there are six different locations.
We would tell you more about the intricacies of the levels, but we are still working them out. You see there's no tutorial in Burnout Crash or any real sense of what is going on. You start the game by crashing into a car, and then spend the next couple of minutes swiping furiously with your finger on the screen hoping you are doing the right thing.
Turns out, even though we don't really know why, we are doing the right thing because, while we confess we don't really know what tactics we are using, they seem to be letting us get stars to open up more levels and more vehicles. Read more
Any other racing apps you really enjoy? Let us know in the comments below ...