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The best car games for your phone

By Tony O’Kane, 30 Aug 2019 Advice

The best car games for your phone

Need to kill some time? Here are the most entertaining automotive-themed time-wasting apps that you need on your mobile device

Whether you’re on the bus to work or just killing time on the couch, here are some of the best mobile games to keep the thumbs and brains of motoring enthusiasts occupied. Not all of these are strictly about racing, mind you. In fact, some of most compelling gameplay comes from the titles that don’t make you drive at all!

Real racing 3
Android and IOS
Free

One of the most polished racing games for a mobile device is undoubtedly the latest instalment of the Real Racing series. Produced by the juggernaut that is EA Games (which also pumps out the Need For Speed franchise), Real Racing 3 boasts crisp, realistic graphics and driving physics that feel fairly faithful to the real thing – the name is indeed apt. Check out the screengrab at the top of this page if you don't believe us.

FR Legends

FR Legends
Android
Free

A fun drifting game with clean and cartoony 3D graphics, FR Legends has simplified physics that make getting sideways a cinch – but the real challenge lies in linking corners together and getting close enough to the clipping zones so you can earn enough points to unlock new tracks. Plenty of car customisation options here too, with many cars that drift fans will instantly recognise.

Intersection Controller

Intersection Controller
Android
Free

Ever been stooged by the traffic light cycle and wondered what kind of clown programmed that intersection? Well now you can be that clown! Control traffic lights and regulate the flow of traffic to keep cars out of trouble, with the intersection layouts getting progressively more fiendish the further you get into the game. Finished the game? Make your own maps and unleash your inner town planner!

You’ll need quick thumbs though: the drivers in this game are unbelievably stupid, and will happily plow right into the side of other cars regardless of whether they could see them or not.

Asphalt 9 Legends

Asphalt 9 Legends
Android and IOS
Free

The cars are accurate representations of their real-life equivalents, but the physics is definitely far from simulation-spec. But that’s okay, because this arcade-style driving game is a fun racing experience with gorgeous graphics and plenty of jumps and vehicular combat to keep you entertained.

Pixel Car Racer

Pixel Car Racer
Android and IOS
Free

Another straight-line racing game, the main attraction of Pixel Car Racer isn’t so much in winning races, but in customising the performance and appearance of your car. Its retro-inspired visuals are another endearing facet, and while gameplay is simple (it’s a side-scrolling drag racer where your only real steering control is around picking what lane you want to be in) there’s some joy to be had in building a car that’s entirely unique to you.

Poly Bridge

Poly Bridge
Android and IOS
$1.49 (Android), $14.99 (IOS)

There’s zero driving in this one, however you’ll need to design a bridge capable of supporting a variety of vehicles in order to do well in this one. Essentially a basic physics simulator, this will appeal to budding engineers and those looking for a virtual equivalent to a Meccano playset, and the gameplay gets quite challenging later in the game when articulated drawbridges, heavier vehicles and boats get involved.

No, we have no idea why it's so incredibly expensive for Apple device owners.

CSR Racing 2

CSR Racing 2
Android and IOS
Free

There’s no need to steer in this one, given it’s strictly a drag racing game, but the challenge of perfectly timing your shifts and maximising the performance of your car through tuning and modifications can be surprisingly addictive. Gorgeous graphics too, not to mention a decent spread of sports cars, supercars and hypercars to race with.

Hashiriya Drifter

Hashiriya Drifter
Android and IOS
Free

Another drift game, but unlike FR Legends this one puts an emphasis on visual realism and in-depth modification. You can strip individual parts off your cars (according to the developer, around 100 parts for each car are removable), and the tuning options are very extensive. The drifting is fun, but the customisation aspect is also a big drawcard of this one.

NFS Heat Studio

Need For Speed Heat Studio
Android and IOS
Free

A clever marketing gimmick by EA Games to help prime gamers for their upcoming Need For Speed Heat title (due on sale November 8), Heat Studio allows you to customise the visual appearance of a variety of tasty metal from the classic, tuner, muscle and supercar classes. The array of bodykits, aero parts, wheels, brakes and lights is bewildering at times, and on top of that you can also change your car’s ride height to give it the perfect ‘stance’.

Is that not enough? The custom graphics editor gives you the ability to design your own vinyl wrap for your car to make it properly yours, and when you’re all done you’ll be able to upload your creation from your device to the proper version of NFS Heat so you can actually drive it.

Farming Simulator 18

Farming Simulator 18
Android and IOS
$7.49 (Android), $7.99 (IOS)

That’s right. Farming Simulator 18 allows you to plant, cultivate and harvest virtual crops all from the comfort of your bed, lounge, toilet, municipal bus or wherever else you happen to be. It sounds nerdy – and to be honest, it absolutely is – but playing Farming Sim is more akin to pruning a bonsai tree than playing a typical driving game.

Tending to your crops and livestock, earning money, acquiring more farming equipment (you can own up to a whopping 75 tractors, combine harvesters and other farming implements) and buying more paddocks will easily occupy a significant amount of your time though, so be warned.

#Drive

#Drive
Android and IOS
Free

Charming graphics, a number of iconic vehicles (well, non-branded ‘tributes’) from automotive history and three kinds of terrain give #Drive a strong replayability factor, even though the gameplay conforms to the ‘endless runner’ format that has you driving through procedurally-generated scenery non-stop until you crash or run out of fuel.

The music and voiceover can get annoyingly repetitive after a while, but this is still a decent game for when you just have a few minutes to kill.