To summarize, I played 22 racing games in September that were around 1 GB or lower in file size and now its time to recap them. So if you expect to find big names like Forza, Gran Torismo, the Grid and others, you’re looking at the wrong list. These 22 games are games that I owned, but I’ve never played before and may never have played without Race-tember. I typed in keyword ‘racing” in Steam looked at their file size size and downloaded based on that criteria.
The difficult part of making a top 10 racing game list is that its tough to find a bad racing game even with such small file sizes. It feels like every one of them had a high level of talent behind them with a few exceptions. They’re all good in one way or another, but it all boils down to a personal preference of I just prefer traditional racing games rather than overhead racers or runners.
It could be seen as a bit unfair to put up today’s small known titles against a decade old big titles, but its just a list of quick reviews.
#10 T.E.C. 3001 (runner)
I expected very little from this runner or any runner really. I’m no fan of runners, but T.E.C. 3001 managed to keep it interesting and engaging with various abilities. Ramming through things, double jumping, mid-air dashing, three lane running as well as free running, a forever mode and even sky driving. There are little subtleties too like coming down from a high jump makes you roll and prevents you from jumping for a split second. Plenty of routes kept it interesting too. The art style is a blend of futuristic mixed with virtual reality. Its one of the rare games that feels good for a mobile device and yet still has enough meat to it to get my attention on the PC. I’d be happy if this developer did a running version of Sonic the Hedgehog.
#9 Bang Bang Racing (overhead)
There are a few problems with the game. Some of the tracks are slow and the distant chase camera is enough to make Captain Nemo sea sick. With that being said, the game is fun, easy, quick enough to finish everything and yet still feel like you got your money’s worth. The clean art style also helps me enjoy it. Each one of the four series has five or so cars to unlock with only a few events per series. Its fun while it lasts. Bang Bang Racing has a nice damage and nitro system that is restored if you drive through the inside pit, but you give up time for that replenishment.
#8 Clutch (traditional)
Clutch is still a fun game with good racing that rewards you with nitro for your aim of ramming zombies and it may have scored higher if the side events were fun. I spent far too much time as the dog playing fetch in these side missions hoping to discover or unlock a new race. When I did, I was happy, but another down side of the game is that you’re racing in a small city with three areas and each race is similar, because they all take place in the city, the port or an underground power plant.
The racing itself is good, enjoyable, fast and fun even if the zombie gimmick does very little to enhance the game beyond hit zombies to get nitro. Then by the third lap, arrow signs have been knocked over putting turns into dark areas where you need to remember which way to go. I did enjoy Clutch, but the lack of diversity that holds it back for m. The port is strictly shipping containers. For every step forward it takes a step back.
#7 Fireburst (traditional car combat)
Fireburst was perhaps the toughest game on this list to get into. You have unlimited nitro, that overheats your car to the point of exploding. This nitro also activates your weapons. So your own attacks can kill you if you overuse them. I learned to just use the nitro as a boost rather than a weapon. Even then I still had problems.
The game is still a lot of fun though with rich and diverse tracks. Fireburst is a gorgeous game even with the most mundane of areas. I think the looks alone help the game, but there are also plenty of quirky stereotypes that make the game stand out from the two dozen other racers. It grew on me when I got past constant deaths.
#6 Post Apocalyptic Mayhem (traditional car combat)
There’s a lot of strategy in Post Apocalyptic Mayhem that I really enjoyed. Everyone has their own set of three weapons, front, back and side and you use them accordingly. You run through different colored barrels to get each one charged. It feels like car combat done right with maps that benefit this simple strategy rather than broad lanes, there is a selection of narrow lanes. You chose to risk things. Another thing that makes it stand out is each event is about kills rather than the fastest. The person with the lead will still get a lot of kills, but if you’re too far ahead, no one can catch up with you for you to kill them.
Its a surprisingly fun game even with physics that make me feel even a RV is just a balloon on four wheels. Everything floats. In a perfect world there would be more maps, but there’s a lot of enjoyment with what’s here.
#5 Little Racers Street (traditional or overhead)
As an overhead game, its tough with buildings blocking your vision, but with a chase cam it suddenly becomes a lot more enjoyable. The racing is simple with boosts that build up over time and the races are short, but where the game shines is the diversity of vehicles and tweaks. I never felt stuck playing anything for too long before I’d buy something new. Also with the games excessive amount of races, it never overwhelmed me by having to select from 300, it limits the choice of races you have to select.
Little Racers Street also has a neon fun art style that enhances the game’s presentation. The world is far from real and the physics are on a planet of their own, but the racing felt good and the game was a lot of fun for far longer than I expected it would last.
#4 Xpand Rally Xtreme (traditional)
The most realistic on the list and one of the two oldest coming out a decade ago. It took a long time to tweak controls to my liking, but once I got into the game it was fun and felt different. It stands out from the other games, because you have turns being called to you by your pilot rather than a mini map or big arrows. The only problem is the game would freeze for a split second every few seconds. Beyond that it felt like the best racing. Lush environments, physics that were affected by my car’s damage.
What the game is really missing is having actual opponents, but the game is about your own time rather than me trying to mess with the competition to get ahead.
#3 Mini Motor Racing EVO (overhead)
Mini Motor Racing is a rich and diverse game. Beach tracks, Fruit Ninja tracks, a Team Fortress 2 track, a Portal 2 track and so much more. There’s even a track editor. Its a fun and easy game to play with nitro that boosts you like a cannonball being fired. Its a game that just evokes enjoyment and doing what you want to. Race as a police car? Sure. Race as school bus? Go for it. The game goes on forever and always manages to throw something new at you or a new theme. The music in this game is one of the only soundtracks of games on this list that enhances the game. Its all very fitting.
#2 Ignite (traditional)
Ignite is a simple to play arcade-style racer that does everything right. Hit the gas, buy better cars and boost to get victories over better cars than yours. Its so simple and yet has depth. Ram through barricades to get boost. Drift to get boost. Draft to get boost. Its all about the boost. Then on top of that the end of the race calculates how much boost you have left and shaves seconds off your time. Its a fascinating dynamic. The selection of cars and skins give bonuses geared toward different driving styles. The tracks are a lot of fun and the game is beautiful even if a lot of it is just cement gray. Its all just a twist on the typical and common.
#1 Street Racing Syndicate
A decade old game from a big name publisher with real car brands seems like a ringer to me. Street Racing Syndicate is open world with a lot of events, even if it lacks variety in its actual races. Its fun comes from more than just racing, its the environment and the way of life this game has. Pick up girls and store them in your warehouse. Placing bets on races to make more money. The fact that your nitro needs to be purchased.
The low points are getting stuck in details of your car having to pick a brand name, before you can pick a product. Losing thanks to hitting a taxi that spins me out. A cop that gives up a chase because he can’t find me when I’m right in front of him. Its all good though, nothing bad can disrupt the enjoyment the game brings.