One of the founding genres of video games is that of racing games. In whatever form they might take, be it track racing, street racing or horse racing, the genre has been a mainstay for ages, and that doesn’t like it’s set to change any time soon. Except for horse racing games. They’re usually awful and should be stopped.
The Xbox One in particular has a fine selection of racing games, covering the entire width of the spectrum. There are even games that eschew racing in favour of more creative vehicular pursuits. If you’re looking for a new racing or driving game to play, whether you’re a avid gearhead or Sunday driver, these are the games for you.
Quick bit of housekeeping before we begin. As usual, these games aren’t in any particular order, so no whining that your favourite game isn’t number one. Also, we’re including some Xbox 360 games in this list, because that’s a luxury afforded to the Microsoft machine. All glory to backwards compatibility. With that said, let’s go.
The Best Xbox One Racing Games: 1-10
1. Forza Horizon 4
Developer: Turn10 Studios, Playground Games Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
It’s probably not a controversial take to say that the Horizon games are much more enjoyable than the Motorsport series. The Motorsport series puts heavy emphasis on the simulation of being a proper race driver, while Horizon focuses on fast cars, great tunes and having fun, with Forza Horizon 4 being the epitome of that.
The game captures the best of the United Kingdom’s beautiful countryside and urban environments, while subsequent DLC packs add new ways to enjoy the overall experience, including “make everything LEGO”. With Horizon 2 and 3 also available on Xbox One, you’ve got plenty to enjoy from this one series alone.
Developer: Codemasters Publisher: Koch Media
One of the most underappreciated racing games ever made, Onrush combines the intensity and destruction that comes with a traditional arcade racer with the strategy and depth of a class based multiplayer shooter. Shockingly, it’s a marriage that works wonders, distinguishing Onrush from any other racing game on the market.
The range of modes ensure that racing always has some variety, and the different classes mean there’s more to learn than just racing lines and how to use boost. If you’ve got a group of friends to play with, Onrush will keep you entertained for hours, either via the co-op campaign or the online modes.
3. Burnout Paradise Remastered
Developer: Criterion Software Publisher: EA
The granddaddy of all arcade racers, Burnout Paradise was an evolution of the formula established in previous games, adding new events, free roam and multiple car classes that change the way you earn boost. Even now, over a decade after the game first launched, Burnout Paradise is still a joy to behold.
Though the Remastered version does little to build upon the foundations laid out by the original game that launched on the Xbox 360, it does include all the DLC and it’s still incredibly fun to play, so we’re okay with it. Sadly, with the original game’s servers shut down, we have no choice but to be okay with it.
4. Rocket League
Developer: Psyonix, Panic Button Games Publisher: Psyonix
Rocket League isn’t technically a racing game, but the fact that this game has become something of a cultural phenomenon meant it was worthy of mentioning on this list. It has cars, and technically you race against other players to make sure you hit the ball first, so that’s a racing game, right?
Anyway, Rocket League takes that Top Gear bit about car football and turns the dial to 11. What could have simply been a throwaway game about rocket cars knocking a ball around actually became a worldwide eSport, with players regularly shocking audiences with incredible plays. Simply a delightful game, until you play it only and encounter some real toxicity.
5. Redout: Lightspeed Edition
Developer: 34BigThings Publisher: 34BigThings, Nicallis, 505 Games
Sometimes in life, you realise you’re simply not going to get what you want, like a new F-Zero game for instance. During those moments, you can either resign yourself to your fate, or you pull yourself up by your bootstraps and do something about it. Developers 34BigThings opted for the latter and created Redout.
Designed to be the spiritual successor to not just Nintendo’s futuristic racer, but for games like Wipeout and Rollcage, Redout is another anti-gravity racer designed to convey an unparalleled sense of speed. They succeeded, creating one of the most intense Xbox One racing games in recent history.
Developer: DoubleDutch Games Publisher: tinyBuild
Perhaps the most non-conventional racing game on this list, Speedrunners adapts the Micro Machines mantra of multiple players battling to stay on the same screen and applies it to a 2D platformer. As the camera follows the lead player, it’s up to the rest of the pack to keep up or get eliminated, with rounds regularly turning into a down to the wire battle where one mistake could cost you everything.
With plenty of power-ups that add new wrinkles to the overall gameplay, along with new maps to unlock and the greatest character name in the history of gaming (Cosmonaut Comrade), Speedrunners is incredibly fun, whether you’re playing on the same couch or online against friends.
For fans of old school top down racers like Super Sprint, Mantis Burn Racing should be right up your alley. It’s classic arcade racing at its most fun, as cars drift around corners with a combination of speed and style.
Not content with merely offering an enjoyable racing game, Mantis Burn Racing also comes complete with an in-depth career mode and an RPG levelling system that allows you to truly customise your vehicle. With 10 games modes and 8 player online play to boot, Mantis Burn Racing is certainly leading the racing game pack.
There. That’s your court mandated racing pun for this article.
8. TrackMania Turbo
Developer: Nadeo Publisher: Ubisoft
The first of two racing games that cater to the more creative among you, Trackmania Turbo allows you to create any kind of 3D race track you want, whether that be an off-road rally course, a faithful recreation of real life tracks like Silverstone, or an insane mix of jumps, loops and boost pads that looks like a scene out of Speed Racer.
Even if you don’t feel like making your own tracks, Trackmania Turbo contains 200 courses of its own, with the difficulty of each track rising steadily as you progress, meaning you’ll have plenty to keep you occupied.
9. The Trials Series
Developer: Redlynx Publisher: Ubisoft, Microsoft Studios
From deceptively difficult to out and out brutal, the Trials series is the instantly recognisable dirt bike racer that almost makes you want to throw your controller through the TV. Though easier tracks are filled with gentle jumps and speed, later tracks feel less like a racing game and more like the hardest platformer ever made.
Despite the punishing difficulty, the Trials games are undoubtedly addictive, as the games constantly compel you to have one more go. The creation tools have also allowed the community to take things one step further to the point where players have created whole new game types within Trials. With the entire series available on Xbox One, we’ll let you pick your favourite.
10. F1 2019
Developer: Codemasters Publisher: Codemasters
For those who prefer their racing with a little bit more realism, F1 2019 is the perfect game for you. As you would expect, F1 2019 contains everything from the Formula 1 season, including the drivers, teams and race tracks.
F1 2019 in particular is a landmark moment for the series, potentially being the best the series has ever been. Improvements to the career mode, the gameplay, multiplayer and overall presentation make F1 2019 the most authentic and enjoyable F1 game ever made.