While the Nintendo Switch lacks the raw processing grunt of the Xbox One and PS4, petrol heads have been increasingly well served on the hybrid console, with a steadily growing catalogue of fantastic racers that offer plenty of arcade thrills and spills - and you can do it on the move. Give it a try on your next Uber ride; it's so much more immersive!
To help you keep on top of all those releases, we've rounded up the best racing games on Switch – in no particular order – to help you avoid going off-road (unless that's what you're after, of course). The following racers showcase different facets of the genre and are all worth a look if you need a racing fix on your Switch.
To avoid any grumbling, we should note that the racing (or driving) genre is a broad church, with games such as Mario Kart obviously very different in nature from GRID Autosport. Some games in our list feature motorbikes, some have a top-down perspective and others have combat - from baseball bat to blue shell - but the objective of getting to a finish line in the shortest possible time is common to them all.
So, in no particular order, let's take a look at the best racing games on Switch...
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Let's get the most obvious and essential Switch racing game out of the way first. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe delivers a huge amount of racing goodness right out of the box, and it's a polished version of a Wii U entry that was only a proper Battle Mode away from being top of class. Now that issue has been addressed, what we have is arguably the best Mario Kart release ever seen.
It's the definitive Mario Kart 8 experience, content-rich and a delightful feast of comedic, cartoonish karting action. It's a game that continually raises a smile and, occasionally, induces that trademark Mario Kart rage as shells strike and positions are lost. It's addictive and unifying, unfiltered fun that draws in anyone daring enough to take up the wheel.
FAST RMX is as good as the Wii U original and then some. Updated visuals, more tracks, more vehicles; it was an utterly outstanding launch title for the Switch and it holds up very well to this day, keeping the futuristic high-speed racing game alive in the absence of F-Zero. It's not quite the same, of course, but with the console's ability to allow multiplayer on the go rolled in, this is without doubt essential for racing fans with a Switch.
Asphalt 9: Legends is a free and surprisingly fun arcade racing game with mobile microtransaction free-to-play gubbins that could potentially ruin the experience for you, unless you’ve played enough mobile games to know how to ignore it. The reasonably priced Starting Racer Pack significantly lessens their impact, making it feel more like a ‘normal’ premium product, so if you try the free version and enjoy it, this – and this alone – is the sole purchase you should consider.
This is about as essential a retro release as you can get. An inspiration for the excellent Horizon Chase Turbo further down the page (although the Top Gear games are arguably a bigger influence there), Out Run may lack modern spit polish but it has always been an infinitely playable game, and the new unlockables and online rankings only increase its longevity further. Those with the 3DS version will have to decide whether it’s worth buying what’s more or less the same game again in order to play it on their TV, but for everyone else with an interest in retro gaming, it’s a must-have.
When it all comes together, Road Redemption can offer some of the most thoroughly entertaining and over-the-top racing action you’ll find on the Switch. It’s a little rough around the edges and the performance could have done with a little optimisation prior to launch, but when a game’s as downright fun to play as this is, that’ll always be the overriding factor. The wait’s over, Road Rash fans: this is the modern spiritual successor you've been waiting for all these years.
Gear.Club Unlimited is an entertaining racing game that sits firmly at the casual end of the realistic racer spectrum. It can be a thrillingly immediate experience, particularly on the go, where you can blast through one of its sweeping courses in just a minute or so. While it's not a game without faults, you can likely pick it up quite cheaply now and we prefer the first instalment to Gear.Club Unlimited 2, which we felt was a backwards step in the series.
Taken on its own merits, Team Sonic Racing is a fun karting game that doesn’t quite match Mario Kart 8 Deluxe in terms of either performance or sheer level of content, but still offers satisfying handling and should still keep Sonic fans entertained for a while. It’s impossible not to compare it to its predecessor, though, and in all the areas where Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed excelled, Team Sonic Racing is merely competent. It may not be standing on any karting game podiums years from now, but if you've somehow exhausted Mario Kart 8 Deluxe or you're a super fan of the blue blur and his motley crew, this is an alternative worth investigating.
While its controls can often be a little too unforgiving – especially when travelling at such high speeds – once you’ve got the hang of each vehicle's unique yet temperamental handling, GRIP: Combat Racing really opens up. If you’re in the market for a larger than life racer that isn’t Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, this could well be your next racing obsession, and it's now been updated with anti-grav Airblade vehicles which add a Wipeout flavour to the game's Rollcage-inspired gameplay.