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Gaming 101:
Racing Games
 

In this series, we are learning how different aspects of video games work by playing games that offer an easy introduction to this one concept. This is designed for people new to gaming and aims to identify games with the least barriers. In this entry, we are looking at Platform games.

Racing games are where the player competes in time-based competitions to complete laps or courses ahead of other computer- and human-controlled opponents. This may be as a character who is running, in a vehicle or even in games where you have special powers to move quickly, jump long distances or even fly.

Racing games are based on anything from real-world racing leagues to entirely fantastical settings. At one end there are simple kart racing Action games where the battling, short cuts and tricks are important. At the other end are high-Simulation games that take weeks and months to get good at and offer a nuanced driving experience.

Some games fall into the Racing genre without offering an experience that, at first, looks like racing. These games obscure the race by placing the player in an unusual situation or with a strong Narrative. Other games double down on the Fighting element of play so that bashing other vehicles is as important as hitting the perfect racing line.
 
This list includes 21 games from the last 17 years, with 467 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to play your first racing game.

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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Release Date: 28/04/2017, updated in 2022

Out Now: Switch

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a go-kart racing game where you race against Nintendo characters around different circuits, picking up power-ups, attacks and speed boosts. It is frantic and chaotic but still requires skills to do well.

Flower

Release Date: 12/02/2009

Out Now: PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4 and iOS

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person, Open World and Weather

Flower is a traversal collecting game where you control the breeze across fields of grass and blow petals into other flowers to make them bloom. Flower is simple and single-purpose in evoking the feeling of the wind. What starts as an awkward struggle...

The Alto Collection

Release Date: 19/02/2015, updated in 2018

Out Now: Android, Apple TV, Mac, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On, Day and Night and Weather

The Alto Collection is a series of games including Alto's Odyssey and Alto's Adventure. Both are action traversal games where you explore beautiful mountains, dunes and canyons on a snowboarding journey full of serenity and secrets. All you have to...

Cruis’n Blast

Release Date: 14/09/2021

Out Now: Switch and Wii

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Cruis’n Blast is a brash over-the-top racing game based on a series of big arcade machines. Competing with games like Ridge Racer, OutRun and Daytona USA, it offers whacky racing with big and bombastic visuals and characters.

Forza Horizon 5

Release Date: 05/11/2021

Out Now: PC, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Open World and Weather

Forza Horizon 5 is a fast-paced racing game where you drive all manner of different vehicles in races and across the vast open landscape. Building on Forza Horizon 4, this fifth entry to the series is set in Mexico,...

Horizon Chase 2 (Series)

Release Date: 20/08/2015, updated in 2022

Out Now: Android, Apple TV, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, iOS and iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Day and Night

Horizon Chase 2 is the latest game in the Horizon Chase series of arcade racing games with a focus on competitive fun rather than realism; its graphics make it look like it was plucked from the nineties’ arcades, with a nod to Outrun and Lotus Turbo...

Sonic Racing (Series)

Release Date: 23/02/2010

Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, Android, Mac, PC, PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Sonic Racing is the latest kart racing game in a series featuring Sonic the Hedgehog and other Sega characters. Like Mario Kart, you control one of 15 characters in races using fantasy sports cars, while performing tricks,...

Disney Speedstorm

Release Date: 01/09/2022

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Disney Speedstorm is a kart racing game like Mario Kart but with high-speed Disney and Pixar-inspired characters and racetracks. It's also different as it's a free-to-play with in-game purchases provided in seasons that offer new characters, circuits...

Hot Wheels Unleashed

Release Date: 27/09/2021

Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Hot Wheels Unleashed is an arcade-style racing game where you race toy cars around sprawling, looping tracks through rooms and garages. Its controls, while child-friendly, offer enough nuance to reward practice. It's a game that focuses on ingenuity and...

Chocobo GP

Release Date: 10/03/2022

Out Now: Switch

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Chocobo GP is a racing game where fantasy characters compete to get around the circuits first. Each of the Chocobo characters (characters from Final Fantasy universe) has unique abilities and can equip Magicites items to delay or take out the...

Slow Roads

Release Date: 10/10/2022

Out Now: Web

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night and Weather

Slow Roads is a relaxing endless driving game that focuses on the simple experience of travel. You play by steering the car through the different locations and times-of-day, or switch to autopilot and let the countryside fly past automatically. It...

Trials (Series)

Release Date: 26/02/2019, updated in 2019

Out Now: PC, PS4, Stadia, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

Trials Rising is a four-player side-on motorbike racing game controlled by pressing ‘accelerate’ or ‘brake’ and using the stick to shift the weight of their riders’ bodies. The game emulates real-world physics, so you have to balance your...

Agent Intercept

Release Date: 16/06/2021, updated in 2022

Out Now: Android, PC, PS4, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Agent Intercept is an arcade-style racing game where you control a transforming spy vehicle in order to save the world. It is a bombastic, simple to play driving game that requires you to drift, dodge, smash and destroy your way through to victory. It...

Formula Retro Racing

Release Date: 14/05/2020, updated in 2023

Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch and Xbox One

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Formula Retro Racing is a retro 90's arcade racing game. This Virtua Racing style combines the simplicity of visuals and racing style with some proper attention to the skill needed to get to the front of the grid.

PixelJunk Racers

Release Date: 13/09/2007, updated in 2010

Out Now: PS3 and PS4

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead

PixelJunk Racers is racing game where the circuit is viewed from above. Like a slot car game (Anki Overdrive or Scalextrics) you race round the in one of the five separate lanes. This unusual approach makes the game about changing lanes and controlling...

SPGP Super Polygon Grand Prix

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person and 3D Third-Person

SPGP Super Polygon Grand Prix is an arcade racing game based on classic 90's games like Virtua Racing. Play is all about having quick reactions and finding the perfect racing line. It stands out not only for recreating a classic game style but also for...

#Drive

Release Date: 16/02/2021

Out Now: Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead

#Drive is an endless driving game where you pick a car, choose a location, and see how long you can survive and beat your previous record. Its attraction is in the simplicity and light narrative about old cars finding a new lease of life.

Data Wing

Release Date: 16/08/2017

Out Now: Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Data Wing is a racing game where you guide an arrow through courses, race opponents, and aim for the fastest lap times. Using simple yet nuanced controls, you expertly navigate each track, gaining boosts by thrusting away from the walls and perfecting...

Victory Heat Rally

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Cartoon and Pixels

Victory Heat Rally is a frantically fast racing game, like arcade-style experience but with modern features and twists. Visually similar to Power Drift and the older Mario Kart games, but you can upgrade your car...

What The Car?

Release Date: 04/05/2023

Out Now: Apple TV, Mac and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

What The Car? is an absurd racing game where you steer strange vehicles through odd and unpredictable landscapes. Play is a combination of steer and accelerating, but you use those controls in all sorts of car-related challenges. It stands out for the...

Over Jump Rally

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person, 3D Third-Person, Day and Night and Weather

Over Jump Rally is a racing game where you rally and drift through classic courses as fast as possible. It focuses on evoking the success and nostalgia of the 90s Sega Rally game while updating aspects for newer generations. The fun lies in the...

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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