Playing proper racing games on your mobile phone used to be a pipe dream.

There was no way you could squeeze a fully fledged 3D console experience onto a glorified pocket calculator, right?

But times have changed and you can now get any kind of racer you like on your Android phone, from lush racing simulators to colourful kart racers - and even some unique concoctions that simply wouldn't work on any other platform.

All of which means that there's more choice than ever for the Android-owning racing fan.

Here are ten of our favourite Android racing games.

DrawRace 2
By RedLynx - buy on Android

Here's a racing game that's really special because it isn't emulating anything you might find on a home console. It's a mobile game, pure and simple - and an excellent one at that.

The idea with DrawRace 2 is to sketch out a racing line for your little car to follow, paying attention to speed and angle. Then, the race starts, and your car will attempt to follow the path you've sketched.

It's a brilliant idea, and RedLynx has executed it beautifully in a content-packed, lovely looking package.

Sonic Racing Transformed
By Sumo Digital - download on Android

There used to be a time when no one could make a decent console kart racer other than Nintendo. Now you can even get one on your Android phone.

Sonic Racing Transformed is a stunningly accomplished arcade racer packed full of loveable characters, outrageously twisty courses, and well-balanced power-ups.

What's more, it all looks, responds, and plays like a console kart racer - especially if you have a control pad to hand.

Ridge Racer Slipstream
By Namco Bandai - download on Android

Speaking of spookily flawless console conversions, Ridge Racer Slipstream looks and plays like the kind of thing you should be experiencing on a PS Vita. It's that slick.

Fans of the franchise will be familiar with Ridge Racer Slipstream's unique powerslide-driven driving model, which favours an exaggerated opposite lock approach to taking a precise racing line.

Yes, there's an IAP system that will rub some people up the wrong way. But there's a lot of high-grade arcade action here even for those who don't want to spend anything.

Reckless Racing 2
By Polarbit - buy on Android

With Reckless Racing 2, Polarbit has given us a gloriously weighty arcade racer. It's a top-down affair, but it's all rendered in nicely detailed 3D.

The driving model's the star here though, with a perfectly calibrated four-button system that somehow allows you to feel the limits of grip with each buggy, car, and truck.

If your idea of racing is the mucky throw-about sort, look no further.

Asphalt 8: Airborne
By Gameloft - download on Android

Asphalt 8: Airborne sees Gameloft once again taking a shot at the OTT console arcade racer formula, and darned well nailing it.

It's probably the most ridiculous game on this list. Those seeking sim-like realism should move on to one of the other games.

We're talking outlandish jumps, improbable stunts, and aggressive driving behaviour that would get you arrested or killed in real life.

Real Racing 3
By Firemonkey - download on Android

There are a fair few casually orientated racers on this list, as befits the pick-up-and-play nature of mobile gaming. But Real Racing 3 is for the serious car nuts.

Featuring dozens of accurately modelled cars, a detailed driving model with realistic physics, and a surprisingly precise accelerometer-based control system, it's a pretty comprehensive package.

Could we do with fewer IAP prompts? Yes. But there's no denying that this is a classy game from a developer at the top of its powers.

Need For Speed: Most Wanted
By Firemonkeys - buy on Android

Of course, the developer that produced the detailed sim that is Real Racing 3 also produced this wonderful arcade racer for EA.

Need For Speed: Most Wanted isn't a console conversion as such. Rather, it's a distillation of what makes the console original so great.

It's got a fluid 3D engine, edge-of-your-seat urban racing, and an irresistible law-breaking angle. Splendid.

Slingshot Racing

By Snowbolt Interactive - buy on Android

Not many developers set their racing games in a fictional fantasy setting, but that's what Snowbolt Interactive has done with Slingshot Racing.

In this steampunk universe, your rocket-powered sledge can only be steered by hooking onto set grapple points and slingshotting yourself around each corner.

It creates a unique control system based on timing and judgement. If you're after something unique and a little left-of-field from your racer, give it a spin.

Pocket Racing 2
By Measured Software - buy on Android

Somehow, despite being a simple top-down racer with just two buttons - left and right - to control your car, Pocket Racing 2 manages to nail the essence of racing.

It's all in the driving physics, which are surprisingly authentic in the way things like momentum and traction are handled.

You can even tweak the sensitivity of your steering and automatic gear shifts, lending an extra dose of petrol-head credibility.

GT Racing 2: The Real Car Experience
By Gameloft - download on Android

GT Racing 2 is essentially Gameloft's attempt to rival the imperious Real Racing 3, and it's perhaps surprising just how close it gets.

Once again, it's more of a sim-style racer than a knockabout arcade blast, with realistic physics and tense strategic races the order of the day.

We'd also say that the IAP system here is marginally less obnoxious than EA's effort, which is a big plus point.

Riptide GP2
By Vector Unit - buy on Android

Of course, racing doesn't necessarily have to be done on solid ground. For our final pick we've gone with Riptide GP2, a slick jet ski racer.

The change of setting makes for a pleasantly distinctive experience, with wider turning and unpredictable waves increasing the need for taking a good line.

It's also something of a technical showcase for your quad-core Android phone, featuring realistic water physics and some impressive 3D models.


Stay abreast of the latest and greatest Android driving games with our buyers' guide.