Who doesn’t love the heart-pounding thrill of racing down the streets or track at speeds that would make your mother shake her head and wring her hands? Racing games are a staple of the iOS App Store, but there are so many that you might struggle to separate the good from the bad. I’ve played hundreds of racing games, and narrowed down the field to the seven best racing games. Most of these are car or truck racers, but I’ve also added in some fun on the water and in the air. Read on to find your next great race.
Fast-paced driving, nitro, and lots of smack talk Horizon Chase
Heart-pounding action on a 22-car grid Real Racing 3
A true-to-life automotive journey GT Racing 2: The Real Car Experience
Birds and Piggies duking it out on the racetrack Angry Birds Go!
Reckless driving is expected, not frowned upon Crazy Taxi City Rush
Rocket powered hydro jets = watery thrills and excitement Riptide GP2
Fast-paced driving, nitro, and lots of smack talk
In true street racing, as well as on the track, there’s bound to be plenty of smack talking to go along with the fancy driving. While most racing games leave that aspect out, it’s something that really sets Horizon Chase apart from the crowd. You also get the best fast cars, challenging courses, and vicious competitors who will do whatever it takes to get past you and beat you to the finish line.
Split from the grid when the lights go green
Rev up your engine and get ready to take off from the starting line, then work your way through splitting from the grid of cars.
Talk smack about your rivals
You know you're not going to just quietly blast past your competition, so this game actually shows you talking smack as you overtake other cars.
Kick in the nitro
Get a boost of speed to overtake the competition by hitting your nitro.
Collect Track Tokens, Nitro, and Fuel
To make the most of your run around the track, you'll have to collect track tokens to improve your score, nitro for that extra boost of speed, and enough fuel to make it through all the laps to the finish line.
Heart-pounding action on a 22-car grid
Real Racing 3
If you’ve ever wanted to race a Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini, or Bugatti, here’s your chance. With a 22-car grid, more than 100 meticulously detailed cars, and a continuously expanding roster of officially licensed tracks, Electronic Arts’ Real Racing 3 is what video game racing should be. Fast, furious, and filled with fully customizable cars. EA knows sports, and they show that in Real Racing 3. Race against the computer or get bumper to bumper with friends and rivals in global racing featuring eight-player, cross-platform, real-time action. Real Racing 3 is free on the App Store with in-app purchases.
Test your skills in autocross mode
As a rookie, you can take to the track on your own to see how fast you can make it around the course.
Feel the need for speed
In Speedsnap races, you whip around a corner and get your car up to as fast a speed as possible. Shift those gears at just the right time to make it to your car's top speed.
Race against other drivers in Elimination heats
Another part of your rookie training are elimination heats, where the driver in last place is pulled out of the race every 20 seconds. Can you make it to the end?
A true-to-life automotive journey
GT Racing 2: The Real Car Experience
GT Racing 2 features some of the most prestigious cars in the world, including Ferrari, Dodge, Nissan, Audi, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, and more. With 71 licensed cars on 13 tracks, you can race the cars that make the sport so exciting and thrilling to watch. The game features 1,400 different events, including classic races, duels, knockout, and overtake. Each week, GT Racing 2 presents 28 new challenges to test the limits of your driving skills. GT Racing 2 is free on the App Store, but does offer in-app purchases.
Jockey for position in classic races
You won't be racing alone in this game. You'll have to rip your way down the track and fight your way into first place among other players.
Overtake your opponents
In some races, the goal is just to overtake as many cars as you can. If you can speed your way into first place, all the better. See how closely you can overtake the cars and you might get bonus coins or cash.
Get rewarded for perfection
Make your turns in the perfect position, and get rewarded. You can get coins or cash, depending on how difficult the maneuver is and how close to perfect you make it.
Birds and Piggies duking it out on the racetrack
Angry Birds Go!
Downhill racing has come to Piggy Island, and the Angry Birds are in on the action. Tear down the track at breakneck speeds in Angry Birds Go!, a thrilling race to the finish. You can unlock characters and karts, challenging your friends and foes alike on the global leaderboards and in local multiplayer gaming. You’ll have to be on the lookout for hazardous roads and mischievous opponents who will do whatever it takes to cross the finish line first. Angry Birds Go! is a free download on the App Store, offering in-app purchases for currency and new karts.
It all starts with a slingshot
The slingshot is a staple of Angry Birds, so the racing game wouldn't be complete without it. Carefully time your release, and you can get a head start on the piggies. Let go too early, though, and you get penalized.
Every bird has its unique power
Each of your birds have their own power, and they all help you win the race. Use your special powers when you need an extra edge on your opponents, but make sure you can handle it. Red's speed boost makes him hard to control, so be light on the turns.
Race your way to first place
Steer carefully and make good use of your special powers. Through skillful driving (and occasionally bumping the bad piggies off course), you'll come in first place.
Reckless driving is expected, not frowned upon
Crazy Taxi City Rush
Now here’s a game that encourages you to drive as crazily and recklessly as you can. Crazy Taxi City Rush lets you fully customize your cab, then take it to the streets of an all-new city to speed, drift, whip around corners, weave through traffic, and blaze up ramps and into the air. The crazier you drive, the higher the rewards, so go wild. Crazy Taxi City Rush is a free game on the App Store, but offers in-app purchases for upgrades and in-game currency.
Get your passengers there on time
The main goal is to get your passengers to their destinations on time. How you do that is up to you, but boosting your speed is always a good idea. This is especially true because your boss expects you to drive like a maniac.
Wheelies, jumps, and crashes, oh my!
Bad driving is expected, not frowned on. You get extra points and cash for wheelies, jumps, crashes, and other acts of automotive mayhem.
Customize your cab
Trick out your cab with bull horns, fancy graphics, and new paint jobs. I decided I wanted my cab to be purple instead of the default yellow.
Rocket powered hydro jets = watery thrills and excitement
For water racing, check out Riptide GP2. Featuring rocket-powered hydro jets racing around futuristic tracks, this game delivers a fast, fun, visually stunning racing experience. The game features 9 powerful hydro jets, which you can upgrade and customize to unlock and master 25 outrageous stunts. Wow the crowd, charge your boost, and make your competition eat your wake. Riptide GP2 costs $0.99 on the App Store, and offers in-app purchases for game currency.
Break free from the crowd
Off the starting line, try to break free from the crowd so you have room to maneuver and perform stunts. Remember, the more stunts you do, the better your chances at winning the race.
Look ma, it's Superman
The Superman is just one of the stunts you can do in Riptide GP2. Perform as many different stunts as you can to make your boost meter fill up faster.
Use speed boosts wisely
Perform enough stunts and you fill up your boost meter, which gives you a shot of extra speed for a short time. Use it wisely, though, and not in a turn like I did.
Take to the skies and race to the finish
Red Bull Air Race The Game
Few races are more exciting than the Red Bull series of aviation and acrobatic events, and this game brings that thrill to your iPhone or iPad. Red Bull Air Race has more than 200 races, events, and real pilot head-to-head rounds to challenge your virtual flying skills. Your planes are designed to be as agile in the air as possible, and streamlined to perfection, but you can make plenty of modifications to improve your plane’s performance even more. Red Bull Air Race is free on the App Store, with in-app purchases for upgrades and game currency.
Maneuvering is key
You have to carefully maneuver through the pylons. Some pylons allow you to fly through them banked, while others require level flying or you get a time penalty. Hitting pylons also equals a time penalty.
Perform aerobatic loops
Red Bull Air Race challenges you to perform stunts like loops. Be careful that you don't stall out your plane doing them, though. Stalling is bad news.
Race through the pylons
Monster truck mayhem with WWE superstars and divas
MMX Racing Featuring WWE
MMX Racing is pure adrenaline-filled excitement, as you create a fire-breathing monster truck and compete with it head-to-head over spectacular jump-filled courses. You can go up against your favorite WWE Superstars and Divas, too, with eight fully customized trucks. Make long jumps, crush cars, and work your way to the top of the leaderboards in this fun-filled game. MMX Racing Featuring WWE is free on the App Store, with in-app purchases to help you buy new trucks or upgrade your trucks faster.
Rev your engine before the green light
To get the best jump on your opponent, you need to keep your engine revved in the green "sweet" spot before the green light hits.
Time your jumps
One of the ways to win is to make sure you take your foot off the accelerator just as you're jumping, then hit the pedal again at the right time.
WWE smashing action
In the WWE campaign, you get smashable scenery to destroy. Plus, you get customized trucks unique to each of the WWE Superstars and Divas in the game.
Any one of these games will fulfill your need for speed, but why stop at one? Check them all out for yourself, and tell us what your favorite is. Or, if you have another racing game that you think is even better, post it in the comments.