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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 13 games from the last 30 years, with 186 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.


 

Cruis’n Blast

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 8-12 year-olds

Release Date: 14/09/2021

Platforms: Switch and Wii

Genres: Action and Racing

Developer: Raw Thrills (@RawThrills)

Players: You can play this with 4 players online

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.

Flower

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 5-11 year-olds

Release Date: 12/02/2009

Platforms: PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4 and iOS

Genres: Open World, Racing and Simulation

Accessibility: 2 features

Developer: That Game Company (@ThatGameCompany)

Players: This is a single player game

Control the breeze blowing 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 to control the breeze soon turns into a...

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 3-10 year-olds

Release Date: 27/08/1992, updated in 2018

Price: 26% off

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, DS, GameCube, Switch and iOS

Genres: Action and Racing

Accessibility: 27 features

Developer: Nintendo (@Nintendo)

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 16 players online

Mario Kart is a go-kart racing game on Nintendo systems. You race against other 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 at.

Alto's Odyssey (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds

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

Price: Free

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Action, Platform and Racing

Accessibility: 13 features

Developer: Built By Snowman (@BuiltBySnowman)

Players: This is a single player game

Descend beautiful mountains, dunes and canyons on a snowboarding journey full of serenity and secrets. All you have to worry about is tapping to jump to avoid chasms, rockfall and other hazards. It’s simple and moreish due to the stunning landscapes...

Sonic Racing (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Release Date: 23/02/2010

Price: 43% off

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

Genres: Racing

Developer: Sumo Digital Ltd (@SumoDigitalLtd)

Players: You can play with 5 players in the same room and up to 12 players online

Team 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,...

Horizon Chase Turbo

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10-14 year-olds

Release Date: 08/11/2018, updated in 2019

Platforms: PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Racing

Developer: Aquiris GS (@AquirisGS)

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 4 players online

This is an arcade racing game with the 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 Challenge. It balances modern affordances with retro...

Forza Horizon 5 (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 8-18 year-olds

Release Date: 05/11/2021

Platforms: PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Open World, Racing, Simulation and Sports

Accessibility: 42 features

Developer: We Are Playground (@WeArePlayground)

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 72 players online

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,...

Trials (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 12

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

Price: 70% off

Platforms: PC, PS4, Stadia, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Racing, Simulation and Sports

Accessibility: 14 features

Developer: Ubisoft (@Ubisoft)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Formula Retro Racing

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 14/05/2020

Platforms: PC and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Racing and Simulation

Accessibility: 15 features

Developer: Repixel 8 (@Repixel8)

Players: This is a single player game

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

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 6-12 year-olds

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

Platforms: PS3 and PS4

Genres: Puzzle and Racing

Developer: Pixel Junk News (@PixelJunkNews)

Players: You can play with 8 players in the same room

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...

Chocobo GP

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Release Date: 10/03/2022

Platforms: Switch

Genres: Racing

Developer: Square Enix (@SquareEnix)

Players: You can play this with 64 players online

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

#Drive

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Release Date: 16/02/2021

Platforms: Switch and iOS

Genres: Platform and Racing

Developer: PM Studios USA (@PMStudiosUSA)

Players: This is a single player game

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

Victory Heat Rally

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Racing

Accessibility: 1 feature

Developer: Sky Devil Palm (@SkyDevilPalm)

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room

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....

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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