The 13 Best Racing Games on Steam

Image credit: Xbox Game Studios

Experiencing some high-octane driving paired with the advancement in technology that delivers realism right at the comfort of your own home can bring immense joy.

Racing games might be quite a niche game genre, but there are a ton of them out there.

While most driving or racing games have the same gameplay mechanics, car enthusiasts focus more on the details the developers put into the game, such as the depth of car customizations, realistic physics, tuning setups, and much more.

In this guide, we have picked the best racing games on Steam you can play while giving a brief description of what makes each game unique and exciting.

Forza Horizon 5

Forza Horizon 5 is an open-world car racing game that has received massive critical and commercial success. Published by Playground Games, the game was released in November 2021 and won IGN’s Game of the Year award.

It is a sandbox-type game that is available for single-player story mode or online multiplayer compatible across different platforms.

Forza Horizon 5 is a car lover’s dream as it allows you to experience high-octane driving action with the world’s best cars.

Forza Horizon 5’s jaw-dropping visuals and real-like car sounds unique to every model are just part of what makes this game great.

The lush and vibrant open-world landscape of Mexico is where you’ll drift, boost and turn your way into 1st place. Driving control is crisp and unique to each vehicle.

The single-player campaign was superbly done, and the game’s car customization is a paradise for motorheads.

Putting all these together cements Forza Horizon 5 as the best driving game, one of the best open-world games, and one of the best sports games on Steam.

Assetto Corsa

Assetto Corsa is an elegant car racing simulator that focuses on realism in both visuals and car physics.

Developed and published by Kunos Simulazioni, the game was released in December 2014 and was well-received by critics and players. It features a single-player campaign and online PVP matches.

Assetto Corsa ups realism by supporting VR technology and is compatible with the virtual reality headsets from Valve, HTC, Oculus, and Windows. Hardcore racing simulators can’t be complete without steering and pedal controller support.

Assetto Corsa excels in great immersion and accuracy in its racing simulation experience thanks to the advanced graphics and physics engine used.

The game is such an in-depth simulator with real-life mechanics such as wind and flat tires being incorporated.

Assetto Corsa’s classy car collection can be driven on the best and most iconic real-life circuits, such as the Monza track. The game is a must-buy for racing game veterans looking for some of the best and most realistic racing games available on Steam.

Need for Speed Heat

Need for Speed Heat is a vibrant open-world street racing game that combines thrilling gameplay and iconic visuals. Developed and published by EA Games, it was released in November 2019 and garnered thousands of positive reviews.

The game features an immersive single-player campaign and also has cross-platform online multiplayer modes.

Taking notes from previous iterations of the franchise, Need for Speed™ Heat offers exciting cop chases and immersive car customization.

Need for Speed™ Heat is set in the Miami-inspired Palm City that is beautiful during both day and night. Daytime in the game places you in legit street races with properly marked locations.

Come nightfall; neon lights illuminate the city as you participate in illegal underground races and the occasional escape from the cops’ routine.

Need for Speed Heat has succeeded in melding previous concepts from its predecessors of the Need for Speed series into a hot and impressive street racing experience that will cater to gamers who prefer flashy-styled racers instead of the usual driving simulators.

MX Bikes

Deviating from the usual car racing game is MX Bikes, a realistic motocross simulator that prides itself on impressive gaming physics and true-to-life dirt biking experience.

Developed and published by PiBoSo, the game was released in October 2019 and was met with very positive reviews. MX Bikes features both single-player and multiplayer through LAN or online connection.

It also offers VR support and is compatible with virtual reality headsets from Oculus, Valve, and HTC.

MX Bikes makes use of its own custom-made physics engine that is at the core of what the game is all about; a true-to-life motocross experience that is unlike no other. The game is full of details and mechanics that push the envelope of realism.

The motor bike’s chassis will flex as it jumps and lands, and the wet soil being hit by your tires deforms as you pass through it.

Adding more to this is the ability to customize rider’s apparel, parts of the bike, and even the track itself. MX Bikes is a must-buy for motocross lovers and should definitely be recognized as one of the best racing games on Steam.

FlatOut 2

FlatOut 2™ is a classic single-player racing game that prioritizes car crashes over clean and smooth driving.

Developed by Bugbear Entertainment, the game was released in August 2006 and was met with overwhelmingly positive reviews on the Steam store.

FlatOut 2™ offers different kinds of challenges in different game modes, but at its core, it is a crash and race type of game that is an equal mix of crazy and fun.

FlatOut 2™ offers thousands of objects that you can destroy as you race, and one of them is your AI opponent’s car. As a matter of fact, it is highly recommended that you wreck the other car as doing so will give you nitrous boosts that you can use whenever you need to.

The game has you racing across various types of race tracks while using a lot of different cars.

This game is a timeless gem of a racing experience that will be a quality buy on the Steam store, especially for those inclined to reckless fun driving.

Retrowave

Retrowave is a casual futuristic 80’s-styled car racing game that fuses hi-tech neon streets and retro vibes.

Developed and published by Rewind App, the game was released in May 2022 and received overwhelmingly positive reviews from the users.

Retrowave only offers single-player gameplay with four different game modes. The player then can use up to ten other cars that can be upgraded on their performance and aesthetics.

The retro theme of Retrowave is not complete without its beautiful soundtrack. Aside from audio immersion, the game’s beautiful world has various universes distinct from one another.

Race across cities exploding with colors or across a sunset-bound road lined with palm trees, and the water feels so refreshing and therapeutic.

Retrowave successfully pulls off futuristic retro in its overall aesthetic and gameplay, thus giving players a unique racing experience that must be noted and included in this list of best racing games on Steam.

Descenders

Descenders is an exciting downhill mountain bike racing simulation that pushes the limit of extreme free riding.

Developed by RageSquid, the game was released in May 2019 to overwhelmingly positive reception from Steam store reviews.

It can be played solo or through online multiplayer, which features a Rep system for boasting or buying new skins for your bike or outfit.

Descenders offer a unique downhill biking experience in every game, thanks to its AI-generated courses. You are also given the option of choosing among three different teams with their own style.

The game has succeeded in recreating the thrilling downhill racing experience with its responsive and in-depth physics system.

Every slight tilt or movement of the rider matters because crashing during the race will result in death and a restart to the starting line. Of course, this won’t deter hardcore bikers from pulling off crazy jumps and stunts.

Favoring adrenaline junkies and thrill-seekers, Descenders is a unique downhill riding experience that should be rightly mentioned as one of the best racing games on Steam.

The Crew 2

The Crew™ 2 is an immersive open-world racing game that has you riding or flying across the gorgeous landscape of America.

Developed by Ivory Tower, the game was released in June 2018 and garnered very positive reviews from the Steam store.

It can be played solo or with other players through online modes. The Crew™ 2 provides the complete American motorsport package as you can ride a bike, car, boat, and a plane across scenic views.

At its core, The Crew™ 2 offers a limitless exploration experience wherein you can drive around the dusty roads of the mid-west and instantly transfer to a plane soaring above the clouds. Once near a body of water, you can switch to knot-busting boat racing action.

All these can be done with a single button prompt. The Crew™ 2 is a game that lets you discover what kind of racer you want to be, thanks to the various choices for racing vehicles you can use.

It is a refreshing take on high-octane motorsport games and should be included as one of the best racing games on Steam.

CarX Drift Racing Online

CarX Drift Racing Online is a realistic take on car drifting race games.

Developed and published by CarX Technologies, LLC, the game was released in November 2017 and was highly praised by people who’ve bought it.

CarX Drift Racing Online features racing modes in single-player and multiplayer, where you can also share and boast about your customized car or drifting skills. In order to simulate actual drifting better, the game supports the usual racing game controllers.

Drifting in CarX Drift Racing Online feels intuitive and would probably be close to real-like drifting. This is thanks to its accurate driving physics, which is affected by the tuning and customization of your own tricked-out streetcar.

You can personalize the car with a thousand different options from body kits, paint color, and vinyl.

CarX Drift Racing Online is a Tokyo Drift fan’s dream come true, and everything else is just a cherry on top of its tire-burning success.

DiRT Rally 2.0

DiRT Rally 2.0 is an exhilarating off-road car racing game simulator that is not afraid to get down and dirty.

Developed by Codemasters, the game was released in February 2019, and it enjoyed good ratings from both critics and users. DiRT Rally 2.0 features single-player and online multiplayer modes.

For better immersion, VR technology is supported by the game, and virtual-reality headsets from Valve, HTC, Oculus, and Windows are compatible. Of course, this highly realistic rally simulator supports the steering wheel and pedal controller inputs.

DiRT Rally 2.0 offers over fifty of the fastest and meanest off-road rally cars ever made, and you drift and skid through gorgeous landscapes and legendary real-life rally tracks.

The game handles greatly, and driving fast across wet soil never felt as good with crisp surface feedback and realistic mud splatters that simulates the grit and charm of cross-road rally racing.

DiRT Rally 2.0 has been done masterfully and enjoys a large following from racing game fans that will testify that this game is one of the best in its genre.

Liftoff: FPV Drone Racing

Liftoff: FPV Drone Racing is a fast-paced first-person-viewed drone racing game that has you flying through tracks and obstacles.

Developed and published by LuGus Studios, the game was released in September 2018, and it enjoyed very positive feedback from critics and normal users.

Based on a fairly new racing sport, drone-racing, the game delivers in-your-face flying action with DJI FPV remote and goggles support. These are what professional drone racers actually use in controlling real-life drones.

Liftoff: FPV Drone Racing makes the unique sport of racing drones accessible to anyone. Veterans of the sport can attest to the realism of how the drones in-game handle thanks realistic game physics and camera view they are accustomed to.

Newcomers can experience being a drone pilot just by playing the game. Aside from the immersive gameplay, players can customize and tinker with their drones to alter how it looks and flies across several racing tracks that are built-in or custom-made.

Liftoff: FPV Drone Racing is definitely a refreshing experience and deserves to be recognized as one of the great racing games available on Steam.

F1 2021

F1 2021 is an official racing simulation videogame of Formula One, the hottest and fattest motorsport known to humanity.

Developed by Codemasters, the game was released in July 2021 and was met with critical and commercial success.

The game features a single-player story mode, a two-player career mode, and online and offline multiplayer PVP modes.

F1 2021 will have you racing in any of the shoes of 2021’s twenty-driver lineup. You can also create your own character and be the 11th team to compete on the grid.

F1 2021 delivers the ultimate Formula One experience superbly, which has made the game any racing fan’s dream.

It has succeeded without fancy gimmicks or additions to what F1 is all about, back-breaking high-speed racing that generates its own drama born from the high level of competition.

Driving in-game has never felt so rewarding with accurate game physics, immersive handling controls, and beautiful graphical representation.

Owners of the stronger video cards can utilize Raytracing even to enjoy more eye candy. F1 2021 is gorgeous, fast, and engaging, and just like F1, it is the king of racing.

Drift86

Drift86 is a casual arcade racing game that any fan of the hit car-drifting anime series Initial D will love.

Developed and published by RewindApp, this light game was released in November 2019 and garnered positive reviews from the Steam store.

The game offers single-player and online multiplayer modes. Drift86 features the iconic AE86 and twelve other drifting cars that you can drive across seven different maps filled with hairpins and blind curves; a drift king’s ultimate playground.

Drift86 will have you conquering downhill turns and passes as you master your drifting skills while listening to iconic Eurobeat.

The game is a great homage to Initial D and the cult-like following it has generated among car enthusiasts who prefer sliding car acrobatics compared to a methodical brake-and-turn type of racing.

Drift86 handles very well and emphasizes the drift experience. Charming and a load of fun, this game is a precious gem that drifting fans must add to their list and can also be considered one of the best casual games on Steam.

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