Nov 05 AT 8:00 AM Taylor Wimberly 28 Comments

Friday Favs: Top 3D racing games for high-end Android devices

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.

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://Website Jared

    The Galaxy has a Hummingbird, not Snap Dragon.

    • Wayne

      And the snapdragon phones aren’t exactly great for gaming since they don’t have GPUs. Except the G2 and MyTouch 4G. You did mention “best gameplay experience” so just want to be clear on that.

      • phred


        SnapDragon is Qualcomm’s baby and it for sure has a GPU. Qualcomm bought out AMD/ATI’s mobile GPU tech and re-branded it Adreno.

        It has full Open GL ES 1.1 and 2.0 support but I don’t think it has the same power of the Power VR SGX 5×0 series which you will find in the Galaxy S.

      • http://Website JohnB

        That’s correct. First gen Snapdragons do have GPUs called Adreno 200. Second gen Snapdragons have a new GPU called Adreno 205 which are more powerful. Adreno 200 are quite powerful not but enough for heavy 3D games.

        Look at the chart at you will find that all phones with Adreno 200 somewhat lags behind others but not that far behind.

        • http://Website TheWanderer

          Tegra 2 on Toshiba AC100 does 27.4FPS in Neocore and 1911 in Quadrant. Can’t wait for Tegra 2 to play these games at 20FPS.

        • http://Website NFO

    • Bones

      Err. I don’t see where he stated that it did?
      “Samsung: Any Galaxy device with a Hummingbird processor”
      ” 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” No mention that Galaxy has snapdragon…

      All of these games run epic on the HTC Sensation

  • Best Android Apps

    These are great games. Reckless Racing is awesome.

  • http://Website Silgrond

    Wow, some of these titles look really awesome. To be honest, I’ve only heard about Asphalt and Raging Thunder 2, thanks!

  • grellanl

    Testing out some of these racing games on the Galaxy Tab here, performance is great but there’s issues in some games relating to display size/resolution.

    Asphalt has problems with borders and touch locations being off (even with the ‘compatibility’ fix applied), it’s still fun though and I hope Gameloft get to work and sort this out ASAP.

    Raging Thunder 2 works perfectly. Reckless looks fine, Polarbit seem to be on the ball here.

    I don’t have NFS; would love if they’d only release it on the Market!

    Will test Nitro later…

    • Nick Gray

      Not sure if this might help, but if you’re using the Tab this should be able to fix some app sizing issues

      • grellanl

        I’ve applied the compatibility fix, it tends to work best with non-game apps. To be honest, I’ve been very impressed to find that most games/apps work fantastically well, and I’m pleasantly surprised to find that even games from back in 2008 are working fine, by and large, in full-screen and looking great.

        I’m hoping we’ll see rapid updates for any games that are stuck with screen size or button location issues… fingers crossed!

    • daveloft

      They currently don’t have all of their games working on the Tab. If you go to their site and select the Tab you will see 6 games compatible with the it. NOVA, Let’s Golf, Hero of Sparta, Dungeon Hunter, Gangstar: West Coast Hustle and Modern Combat Sandstorm. Give it some time and they will have all 11 games currently on Android running on the Tab.

      • grellanl

        NOVA is absolutely fantastic on the Tab, I have to say. I would love to get my hands on Gameloft’s other titles too, and as soon as they put them on the Android Market I’ll pounce.

        Are you listening, Gameloft?

  • Donald

    Played Asphalt 5 on the New Mytouch 4G and Its amazing. Its only a demo, however if i want to buy its $7 on the phone. Too bad i cant buy that one for $5 and it over lap the one installed. :P

    • Taylor Wimberly

      You should still be able to guy the game from the Android Market for $4.99. Give it a try and see what happens.

    • http://Website ken

      I bought asphalt 5 HD from the market for 4.99 installed it on my Vibrant which I have now sold and bought the Mytouch 4G and the game will not open it forcloses instantly…any Ideas why?

  • Nick Gray

    It looks like I need to download a few new racing games. I wish some of these games had support for Open Feint.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Touch Racing Nitro has Feint support, that’s how I found it :)

  • http://Website JaylanPHNX

    Thanks for this great new column. Now I know what games to try when I get my myTouch4G tomorrow. Going from a Cliq XT, it will be awesome to play some real games. Wordfeud is cool, but…

  • http://Website adryan

    Taylor I noticed in the post that you put that we have 24 hours to refund but hasnt been changed to 15 minutes?

  • http://Website adryan

    Also i downloaded NFS shift on my OG droid. So i dont understand what trouble you had. I bought on sale for like 99cents thru the market. So im slightlty confused? And i dont want other people to be confused either. I know you wouldnt intentionally mislead people but i just wanted to know why you had trouble when i purchased just fine from the market

  • http://Website gamepappa

    I just found an excellent car game called bb rally.
    A couple hours after I bought it there was an update and now it’s super fast on my Desire!
    Love it. Makes the other racers I bought seem slow and boring.

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    Racing is one of most addictive and every green gaming category among users so developers are working on developing new unique type of racing apps there number of cool games that provide unique racing fun like Air Flight Control i am a big fan of this line drawing app.

  • Bones

    Well to be honest a few of you are just wrong! Snapdragon processors HAVE a GPU, With the lates being the Dual core Snapdragon CPU and the Adreno 220 GPU. I get 3300 in quadrant and all of the 3d games i have tried run smooth,including all of these!!

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  • ankit

    can i play all these games on my micromax a57(256mb of ram and adreno200 gpu)? please suggest me good graphics game for a57…