EA Makes The Best Android Racing Games
Here’s my pick of the top racing games. My criteria are simple. A good game has to be visually stunning, have interesting tracks, have challenging AI, contain realistic physics and be fun. My Galaxy Nexus is a good gaming device and there are three racing games that I’ve found so far that fit the bill. My favorite is Real Racing 2 from EA.
Real Racing 2
It’s got it all. The graphics are great and notice the lens flare. When a helo or bird flies over head, the shadows move across the pavement. Going under elevated bridges, you get the picket fence affect. It looks great in full motion. The AI is smart, with three levels and challenging to race against. They try to avoid collisions and stick to the track, but they will wipe out, too. The physics are good.
I know, I know, it’s a game, how realistic can it be? Quite. When you go around a curve too fast, you don’t just spin out. EA has modeled understeer and oversteer quite well so that you first see the problem (under and over steer look different in the game) and you have time to correct. Not much, it’s less than a second, but if you have ever been in car that goes into a spin, you know what the scene outside the windshield looks like, that how it looks in the game. Also, you lose velocity quickly in a slide.
You progress through a ladder earning money to unlock cars and buy some upgrades. There aren’t any in-app purchases, either. EA tried to keep the game pretty realistic. You get penalized with speed for going off track or having a collision (though the damage doesn’t last). It’s also not enough to have the fastest car. I can win more races with a slower car that I can control better than a faster car. I have to think about each race and select the car I think will work best.
The controls are good and the camera is moveable with 4-5 positions from bumper to high and in the rear. I prefer the bumper or cockpit view. The game is $4.99. Yes, there is on-line licensing, but I think you get 6 runs before you need to connect to the servers. You can also set brake and steering assists on or off.
Plays great on my Galaxy Nexus and if I recall correctly, the same price gets you the HD version for tablets.
Need for Speed Shift
NFS Shift is also from EA and is similar in game play. The tracks, however, are street tracks for the most part. Again, you progress up a ladder collecting money (again, no in-app purchases) to buy cars. Each stage has you unlocking new tracks.
NFS Shift isn’t as stunning as RR2 but it has some nice features like manual transmission (flicking your thumb up or down for shifting) and track guidance for corners (which you can turn off). It also has difficulty settings as well but not as detailed as RR2. It’s a capable racing game that runs well on both my Galaxy Nexus and Asus Transformer Prime. I just noticed that Play says NFS Shift is not compatible with either of my devices but it works fine. I suspect a manifest issue.
NFS Shift is a street racer and unlike RR2, you can drift and there are a few drift challenges. Drifting fills up the nitro faster but at the cost of speed. I find holding the drift line difficult, so I don’t do it much.
Need for Speed Most Wanted
NFS Most Wanted just came out and I have only been playing for a day. It’s fun, but I don’t think it will surpass RR2 as my favorite. NFS Most Wanted is a racing game, but there are police to avoid (or ram as you see fit) and most of the races so far are one way.If you played NFS Hot Pursuit on Android or computer, you’ll feel at home in this game. It’s similar but not as feature rich.
I don’t think the graphics are as crisp and the track’s can be very low contrast, but like the other two EA games, the physics while racing are good but not as good as RR2 or NFS Shift. It’s hard to kick into a slide so I can be sloppier with the controls and the affect of collisions (which are part of the game) are really fake. I know, part of the game is to ram the police, but it’s goofy non-the-less when you do and if you do spin, the physics aren’t as smooth as in RR2 and Shift. These may be small points, but I find it jarring.
Drifting in this game is a blast. However it’s fun to drive and dodge slow moving cars and trucks. You can modify your cars, but only before a race and the modifications are only good for that race. When the 1st prize is $15,000 and a modification is $3,000, for a one time use, it hardly seems worth it. Save your simoleans and buy a better car.
I’ve tried a bunch of other Android racing games. I like Polarbit’s Reckless Racing and Reckless Racing 2 which are top down racers and are just fun to play. The others I have tried are not a lot of fun. Both of Gameloft’s Asphalt 6 and 7 are relatively crude arcade style racers. Your car is on a rail and you just point it. Control is based on twitching. The goal is to collect money and power-ups and knock opponents off the track. Same with Polarbit’s Raging Thunder series. Neither is very immersive and are quite repetitive. With RR2, similarly powered cars drive differently. The cars in Asphalt and Raging Thunder just go faster. Not my thing I guess.
If you know of any Android racing games that you like, tell me about them in the comments.
*** Disclosure ***
Nothing to disclose. I am not affiliated with any vendor mentioned and I paid for all of these games.