It may not look like it, but Apple’s iPad is a speed demon in disguise. To unlock its potential, you’ll need to download the best racers for the platform, transforming the innocent looking tablet into a high end muscle machine that can go from zero to 60 in seconds.
These games represent just a small number of racers you’ll find on the App Store, but they’re the best the iPad has to offer. Even better, most of them take full advantage of the various features, including realistic graphics and tilt steering.
Turn on the iPad, step behind the virtual wheel and burn rubber.
10. Uber Racer 3D: Sandstorm
Of all the games on this list, Uber Racer is the dark horse. It’s rough around the edges and doesn’t feature as many options, but it’s still entertaining, especially if you prefer your racing games with a post-apocalyptic theme. You can upgrade all of the cars, career mode has 31 race days and this is one of the few racers with damage modelling. Don’t be afraid to give it a chance.
9. GT Racing: Motor Academy HD
Gameloft attempted its own Gran Turismo clone with impressive results. GT Racing: Motor Academy sports over 100 licensed cars from 25 manufacturers, six person online play, a customisable interface, a cockpit view and 14 tracks.
That said, iPad 2 owners have reported issues with the game crashing, so buy with caution and make sure to restart your device after downloading.
8. Reckless Racing HD
This game takes us back to the glory days of Super Off Road on the SNES, and for good reason. This top down racer ditches the street for dirt road fun that’s superior on the iPad, thanks to the three additional tracks you won’t see in the iPhone version. The inclusion of online multiplayer and leaderboards makes this gem of a game even more irresistible.
7. Ridge Racer Accelerated HD
Namco Bandai’s longstanding racing series made the jump to the iPad, and while we disagree with the company’s tactics (download the game for free, pay $8.99 soon after), it’s still the same Ridge Racer experience we know and love; this is essentially a port of the phenomenal PSP version. No tilt steering is a huge bummer, but we had a blast screaming around hairpin turns and punching the nitrous to destroy the competition.
6. Shrek Kart HD
For a more light-hearted racing experience, check out Shrek Kart. It’s similar to Nintendo’s Mario Kart series, in that you putter around 15 tracks using eleven defensive and offensive power-ups to defeat the opposition. Not only is it a fun time, but Gameloft also did a great job with the Shrek licence, so expect to see everyone’s favourite ogre (as well as Donkey, Fiona, Puss In Boots) throughout the game.
5. Need for Speed Shift HD
Electronic Arts released a sweet version of NFS Shift on the App Store with iPad exclusive features, like eight new cars, physics based acceleration and manual controls. Test-drive these sexy mommas through 18 tracks set in such locations as Chicago, Tokyo and London, all the while marveling at the sweet cockpit view. Bottom line, you can’t go wrong with this game.
4. Real Racing HD
No Gran Turismo on the iPad? No problem. You’ll never miss Sony’s real driving simulator, thanks to Firemint’s Real Racing HD. This sim heavy speedster comes with a variety of licensed cars, detailed tracks and a variety of options, such as online multiplayer, leaderboards, vehicle customisation and realistic engine sounds. This should be one of the first iPad games you buy.
3. Need for Speed Hot Pursuit HD
We lost track of the hours we invested in the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of this game, and the iPad edition is almost as addictive. Like its console brethren, Hot Pursuit lets you command the highway as local law enforcement or a speeding criminal. The developers even took a page from the popular Burnout series, allowing you to take down rivals en route to the finish line.
2. Asphalt 6: Adrenaline HD
We have to hand it to Gameloft. The company knows how to deliver an arcade quality racing experience on the iPad. Exhibit A- Asphalt 6: Adrenaline HD. This over the top and positively gorgeous video game has 42 cars, a plethora of tracks based on real world locations (Bahamas, here we come) and some of the most spectacular looking effects we’ve seen on the platform, like cinematic blur, bump mapping and real time reflections. We can’t say enough positive things about this stellar App.
1. Real Racing 2 HD
If you prefer the new hotness, go with the superior Real Racing sequel. Part 2, otherwise known as car porn, ups the proverbial ante with an experience optimised for iPad 2, allowing for superior graphics. Beyond that, the game has 30 licensed cars, 15 locations, a 10 plus hour career mode and YouTube support, allowing you to upload races within minutes. Don’t even hesitate. Buy this now.