Welcome to the first edition of Friday Favs where we list our favorite Android apps and games. This week we take a look at 3D racing games for Android. We have come a long way from the early days of Android and the quality of 3D graphics is steadily improving as more powerful phones hit the market and developers begin to take advantage of them. Our top five picks are after the jump.
Suggested Phones for optimal gameplay: Some of these 3D games might work on older Android phones, but we suggest one of the newer high-end phones released in 2010 for the best gameplay experience.
- HTC: Any phone with a Snapdragon processor
- Motorola: Any phone with an OMAP3 processor
- Samsung: Any Galaxy device with a Hummingbird processor
Reminder: You can try paid games from the Android Market for free and return them within 24 hours if they do not work on your phone.
I’ve long said that Gameloft makes the best 3D games for Android, but most of them are not available in the Android Market. Asphalt HD is the rare exception and it is one of the racing games that I have invested the most time in. It features real cars (Lamborghini, Kawasaki, Ford, etc) and there are tons of upgrades to unlock. The course design is pretty varied and each level has tons of shortcuts to blast through. It lags a little on the first-gen Snapdragon phones, but is silky smooth on the Galaxy S, new Droids, and second-gen Snapdragon phones.
Before Gameloft hit the scene, Polarbit was one of the few devs pushing out 3D games for Android. Raging Thunder 2 was one of the early titles and still one of my favorites. This one is a little more arcade-style than Asphalt HD and features some really crazy level designs. Again there are lots of shortcuts and tons of replay value.
This is Polarbit’s follow-up to Raging Thunder and offers some of the best 3D graphics I have seen on Android. This game has a hillbilly theme with characters like Bubba, Cletus, and Otis and features several different types of vehicles with different attributes. You can race as a jeep, big rig, Hummer, dune buggy, or classic muscle car. I just started playing this game since it is new, but I find it is very addicting and quite easy to burn an hour on. At only $2.99, this is definitely a must buy if you want to show off what your phone can do.
Out of all the racing games, Touch Racing Nitro has the most unique controls. Instead of gas and break buttons, you just touch your finger to the screen and drag it around in the direction you want to steer your car. When your finger moves closer to the car it breaks and when your finger is at the edge of the screen you go full speed. Once you get the hang of it, you can play with two thumbs and rotate them back and forth for some quick turns. This one deserves to be played just for the controls. Open Feint integration is another huge plus.
Honorable mention: Need for Speed Shift
Rounding out the list is EA’s Need for Speed Shift. This game is not available on the Android Market, but it comes pre-installed as a demo on several phones. I haven’t been able to purchase it and I don’t want to pirate it, but I’ve played the demo and thought the graphics were pretty cool. Hopefully EA gets wise and brings it to the Android Market so more people can purchase it.
What is your favorite 3D racing game for Android? Did we leave any big titles off our list? If you have any suggestions for future Friday Favs, please leave a comment.