Racing games have always been a staple in the video game world, from early games where simply winning a race was the goal through to elaborate driving and car development games like the Forza and Project Cars series.
Whether it is the basic kind of competition you get from more party-style racing games like Mario Kart or an accurate simulation of driving some of the world’s most expensive cars you are after, consoles and PC games offer a wide variety of choice, and you can also choose more story and mission-based games that are heavy on driving, like the Grand Theft Auto series if you like more of a plot than just racing.
Naturally, one of the biggest challenges when designing a game that offers players a good driving experience is how the cars (or motorcycles, or jetskis, or whatever else) are controlled. Even though some players may never have been behind the wheel of a real car (given racing games outside of GTA tend to be aimed at a fairly broad audience age-wise), there is little point playing a simulation of racing a car if it doesn’t respond in a similar way to a real car.
Arcade games always had the edge on this, even in the early days of gaming, because they could set up whole rigs with wheels and pedals, and, in more recent years, even have replica car cockpits or use whole fake racing bikes as controllers. Now, a lot of people who really love racing games invest in a steering wheel and pedal controllers for a better experience, however, some still use these to play old arcade classic for some nostalgic fun, using sites like Arcade Lots.
How Does This Even Work on A Mobile?
While there is an abundance of racing and car themed games on mobile platforms, including mobile free to play (read ‘microtransaction filled’) versions of major franchises like Need For Speed, obviously, with a phone or tablet you don’t have a controller at all. Different games use different approaches to control the cars, some going for use of the accelerometer on your device, others for touchscreen gestures. But, let’s face it, if using a keyboard or regular console controller doesn’t give a very equivalent driving experience, these approaches are going to feel nothing like driving at all.
Focus on Car Management
This means that the actual racing aspects of mobile car games tend to be very much for the casuals, however, there are some elements of these games that do work well, and it is mainly the stuff that happens off the track. Building up your car, unlocking new vehicles, and making management decisions such as choosing the best tires for the race can be just as interesting as on PC or console games.
For this reason, while racing on a touchscreen doesn’t really work for a real driving game fan, games like Motorsport Manager 2 can be fun to play on your phone or tablet.