Top Car Racing games for Windows Phone

While there are plenty of games in the Windows Phone Store, racing games can be some of the more enjoyable genres available. Some are so intense you can feel the g-forces pulling at you as you take on a sharp curve or get sideswiped by a competitor.

This week’s Windows Phone Central roundup focuses on the top racing games that places you behind the wheel of a car. These games have you taking on drag strips, road courses and dirt tracks. They are great gaming titles to choose from for those times you have a little time to kill but strong enough if you want to pursue a racing career.

Paper Racer (trial/$1.99)

Paper Racer is an entertaining race game on the small scale. Racing is done from overhead and you have the ability to create your own race car (in a manner of speaking).

The game has sixteen race courses, an online leader board and three gaming modes that includes an online multiplayer race. Graphics are nicely done with doodle flair. The only drawback, which is typical of many of our Windows Phone racing games, is that the controls take a bit of time to get used to. The courses are open style (very few walls) so do not be surprised if you drift off the course while attempting a turn and find yourself in no-man’s land.

Along with the multiplayer games, Paper Racer has a career mode where you compete against a full field of racers to unlock the sixteen race courses. You also have a time trial game that is basically a quick race where you race against the clock to improve your position on the Global leaderboard.

Creating a car is a unique touch where you can doodle your own car, photograph it with your Windows Phone and import the drawing into the game.

Now to the controls, from the main menu Paper Racer has two styles of controls. The default control layout has a gas/brake pedals in the lower right corner and steering arrows in the lower left corner. The other two options will create a joystick that controls both acceleration and steering that can be positioned in the left or right corner. The joystick is the more challenging of the two control methods.

Paper Racer is not just a friendly day at the racetrack. You can cut off your opponents, crash into your opponents sending them off the track and collide with objects sending them into your opponents.

While Paper Racer takes a little time on the track to get a feel for your car, it is an entertaining and challenging option for your Windows Phone 8 device (including the low memory devices).

There is a free trial version available for Paper Racer while the full version is currently running $1.99. You can find Paper Racer here in the Windows Phone Store.

QR: Paper Racer

Asphalt 8: Airborne (free)

Asphalt 8: Airborne

Asphalt 8: Airborne is a staple title when discussing the top Windows Phone racing games simply because it is such a good game. Graphics are top notch, controls are responsive to the touch, game play challenging enough to keep things from growing stale and there is plenty of gaming with the career and multiplayer modes.

All of the Asphalt series of racing games are nicely done but there is something about Asphalt 8 that hooks you. The slow motion impacts look cool, you find yourself leaning into the curves and when you hit the turbo boosts don’t be surprised if you lean back in your chair out of reflex.

The racing controls are simple and straightforward. Acceleration is automatic or manual and you can steer with on-screen controls or use your Windows Phone tilt sensors (recommended). I prefer the automatic acceleration to allow you to concentrate on the road and stunt ramps better. Oh, you also have a turbo boost available to give your car a little more “get-up and go”.

As you complete races, you will earn winnings that can be used in the garage to upgrade your car or buy new cars. While Asphalt 8: Airborne is a free game for Windows Phone 8, there is plenty of in-app purchase opportunities for credit packs and car packs.

All totaled, if you are looking for an exciting racing game there is no reason not to try Asphalt 8: Airborne. It is available for Windows Phone 8 and you can pick up your copy of Asphalt 8: Airborne here in the Windows Phone Store.

While the Windows Phone gaming experience is very good with Asphalt 8, there is a Windows 8 version (free) available here in the Windows Store that is a real joy to play on a tablet. I just wish your gaming progress was shared between devices.

QR: Asphalt 8: Airborne

Uber Racer (trial/$1.29)

Uber Racer

Uber Racer has enjoyed decent success over on iOS and has recently joined the Windows Phone 8 lineup. This racing game is a little more grungy than the others with almost a Mad Max feel to things.

The storyline has you playing in world where humanity is running low on natural resources where you race to get the last drops of oil. Uber Racer has four races modes along with a career mode, all of which will keep you busy for some time. The ten racing environments have detailed graphics that matches the apocalyptic mood of the game rather nicely.

When you launch Uber Racer, you will be greeted with a 3D menu with options to access the game’s settings, launch your career, visit the garage and play a quick race. There are four quick racing modes that include a time trial, elimination, one vs. one and race.

As you complete races, you’ll earn funds that can be used to buy new cars or upgrade your existing racer. There are fifteen cars available that range from buggies to dirt track racers to trucks.

Game play is about as simple as it can get. Touch the screen anywhere to accelerate and you can choose between tilt steering or touch steering (left side turns left, right side turns right). You do have a brake pedal but you will rarely use it. Personally, I think the tilt steering is the best.

Courses often have multiple paths to follow and there is a slight demolition derby feel to the race. If an opponent looks like they are going to pass you, side swipe them and knock ‘em off course.

Uber Racer is a well drawn up Windows Phone 8 game that has plenty of challenges to conquer. There is a free trial version available with the full version of Uber Racer running $1.29. The game is available for Windows Phone 8 (showing available on my Lumia 520 as well) and you can pick up your copy of Uber Racer here in the Windows Phone Store.

Additionally, there is a Windows 8 version that goes by the handle Uber Racer-Sandstorm. This version of the game lacks a trial version with the full version running $1.29. You can find Uber Racer-Sandstorm here in the Windows Store.

QR: Uber Racer

Hot Rod Racers (free)

Hot Rod Racers

If the round track is not your cup of tea and you prefer the straight tracks, Hot Rod Racers is a Windows Phone 8 game well worth trying. You compete against other street racers and earn coins to upgrade and customize your cars to keep the competition in your rear view mirror.

Game play spans thirteen episodes with head to head racing challenges as well as time trials, obstacle courses and more. You play viewing your race car from behind and are tasked with shifting gears at the right moment to maintain your acceleration.

The added bonus to Hot Rod Racers is that you can control your left/right steering to cut off an opponent as they try to pass you or bump them in the rear to cause them to spin out. Just be careful because your opponent can do the same to you.

Hot Rod Racers is a free game, available for Windows Phone 8 devices (that includes the low-memory devices). You can pick up your copy of Hot Rod Racers here in the Windows Phone Store.

QR: Hot Rod Racers

Feeling a need for speed?

So which one of these racing titles fills the need for speed the best? While I like the graphics with Paper Racer, the controls tend to hold this game back for me. Try as I may, I could never get a handle on steering the little paper race cars without crashing into something.

Hot Rod Racers is simply a fun game to play. Graphics are outstanding, controls simple and you have the added bonus of side swiping or cutting off your opponent as they try to pass you. Uber Racer is another well drawn up racing game but with more of a grunge or dirt track feel to it. It does take a little time to get used to the steering but it is a strong contender.

For me, the strongest choice for those looking for a quality racing game is Asphalt 8: Airborne. The graphic quality is outstanding, the game controls nice and responsive and the stunts you can pull while traveling way too fast will keep you at the edge of your chair. My only wish is that your progress would carry over to the Windows 8 version.

Asides from these four quality gaming choices, here is a small collection of racing games that are also worth consideration.

  • Angry Birds Go! (free): While not your traditional racing game, Angry Birds Go! is a fun game to pass the time with. You may not be racing hot rods but the go-karts the birds and pigs race do the job rather nicely. The only downside is that some of the in-app purchase opportunities may make your jaw drop.(Store Link)
  • Drag Racing (free): While Hot Rod Racers has you drag racing cars from a ‘behind the car’ view; Drag Racing approaches things from a side view. Add the ability to fine-tune your car’s engine performance and competition that will keep you on your toes and Drag Racing is a fun game for Windows Phone 8. (Store Link)
  • 3D Brutal Chase (free): Race through the streets as a law enforcement officer in pursuit of the bad guy. (Store Link)
  • Traffic Racer ($.99): Traffic Racer is an endless racing game that calls upon you to race through highway traffic, earn cash, upgrade your cars and buy new ones. Graphics are well presented and while not your typical street racing game, it’ll do just nicely. (Store Link)

I know we have probably missed one or two popular Windows Phone racing games this week. There is nothing nefarious about it, just so many quality titles it is hard to keep track of them all. If we have overlooked your favorite racing title, feel free to toss out your recommendation in the comments below.

George Ponder

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.