It doesn’t matter whether you’re into cars or not: arcade racing games are just fun.
On Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S there’s a wealth of great arcade racing games to choose from. In fact, when you realise just how many arcade racing games there are available, you’ll laugh at the notion that the genre is dead.
No matter what type of arcade racing game you prefer – be it something with realistic graphics or as old-school as they come – the Xbox ecosystem has something for you. And we’ve picked out the very best of them right here.
So, if you like putting the pedal to the metal, performing insane jumps and boosting at every opportunity, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together a list of the best arcade racing games that you can play on Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S. All of these games are available right now, and many of them aren’t even expensive to buy. So what are you waiting for?
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This list was first published in September 2020 and has been periodically updated since.
1. Hot Wheels Unleashed
How about an arcade racer where you’re not racing real cars, but toy cars? That’s Hot Wheels Unleashed, and it’s a great deal of fun. With a huge selection of actual die-cast cars from Hot Wheels to race, and a tonne of incredible, well thought-out tracks filled with loops, twists, ramps and more, this is hands down one of the best arcade racing games on Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S. Better yet, it has a native Xbox Series X version, allowing for gorgeous, shiny visuals. It is a real treat for the eyes.
There’s a big career to play through, allowing you to play in single-player and challenge the CPU time and again. Or you can jump online to race against real people, or challenge a friend or loved one in split screen mode. It has all the bells and whistles you’d expect from an arcade racer, and it really doesn’t disappoint.
2. Forza Horizon 5
It may have more licensed cars than you can shake your fist at, and it might have car physics lifted from the Forza Motorsport series, but Forza Horizon 5 is an arcade racing game through and through.
An open world racer, Forza Horizon 5‘s main purpose is for you to have fun. That means you can make the handling more arcade-like if you want to, and you can also make every car four-wheel drive and stick in a more powerful engine. You don’t need to stay on the road. In fact, it’s often better you abandon it and drive though fields, jungles and even the beach, performing ridiculous drifts as you go. And jumps? Forza Horizon 5 has some of the most ridiculous jumps.
The only thing that Forza Horizon 5 is missing when it comes to arcade racing games is boost. So yeah, please consider adding boost to the next Forza Horizon game, Playground Games. We think it’ll make it better. Still, even without boost, Forza Horizon 5 is undoubtedly one of the best arcade racing games on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S right now.
3. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered
In a time where Need for Speed games had almost exclusively become open-world, Criterion Games’ Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit was a breath of fresh air when it first released back in 2012. And it is even more so now, in a new remastered and enhanced package.
What makes Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered so special is that you’re not just a racer. Oh no: you can be a street racer or a cop. Whichever you choose to play as, you’re guaranteed to have a great time as you speed through one event after another. As a cop, you’ll try and stand in the way of racers reaching their goals, utilising a range of gadgets to slow them down. And as a racer, you’ll put pedal to the metal, speeding, drifting and boosting your to success.
Ultimately, you’ll want to play as both cops and streets racers, enjoying both sides of the action. And with challenging point-to-points events being the order of the day, you’ll be kept on your toes every step of the way. With fast exotic sports cars, thrilling crashes and epic police chases, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered is undoubtedly one of the best arcade racing games on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.
4. DiRT 5
Like your arcade racing to be a little more dirty? Then with its wide range of off-road events, DIRT 5 is the game for you. With a wealth of content and gorgeous visuals to boot, this is undoubtedly one of the best arcade racing games you can play on Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S. Particularly if you’re playing on Microsoft’s latest hardware, where you can enjoy the visuals to their fullest.
With gameplay as far away from the hard-as-nails DiRT Rally 2.0 as possible, DIRT 5 simply wants you to have a fun as you throw a range of off-road vehicles around its many courses. You’ll be driving rally cars, trucks and even buggies in everything from straight-up racing events to gymkhana challenges.
And once you’re done with the game’s lengthy career mode, you can have fun creating your own events thanks to its Playgrounds Mode. When you’re done fiddling, you can let loose on your own tracks, or get your friends to play them. Endless arcade fun.
5. Need for Speed Unbound
Need for Speed Unbound is the latest game in the long-running Need for Speed series, and one that stands out more than the rest. Why? Because of its unique animation style. While the cars and environments look super-realistic, its characters sport cel-shaded 2D animation. Couple that with visual effects added to your car’s motion – like colourful plumes of smoke when you put pedal to the metal – and you’ve got one of the most visually striking arcade racing games we’ve ever been lucky enough to play.
It’s not just the visuals that stand out, though. With distinct day and night racing, and so many activities to sink your teeth into, Unbound isn’t just one of the best Need for Speed games of recent years, it’s one of the best arcade racing games on Xbox consoles, period. Whether you’re running from the police or vying for pole position in a high-octane street race, you won’t be able to get enough.
6. Burnout Paradise Remastered
We’re adamant that Burnout Revenge is the best Burnout game ever made, but Burnout Paradise, the entry that took the series into open world territory, comes a close second.
Burnout Paradise Remastered features improved visuals, a smoother framerate and all the DLC released for the original game. That means you can race faster than ever, witness more eye candy, and race a wider variety of vehicles across Paradise City and Big Surf Island.
The only thing that’s disappointing about Burnout Paradise Remastered is that it doesn’t enhance the base game all that much. You still can’t fast travel to the start of events, for example, or place markers on its map. Still, if you’re after the best arcade racers on Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S, Burnout Paradise Remastered is one of them. It runs at native 4K on Xbox One X and Series X, too.
7. Horizon Chase Turbo
From the above screenshot, you might get the impression that Horizon Chase Turbo is pretty much a ripoff of Outrun. While it is undoubtedly influenced by the SEGA classic, however, it doesn’t really play much like it.
Unlike Outrun, Horizon Chase Turbo isn’t about point-to-point racing. Instead, it has tracks set all around the world, and it’s up to you to race around them and emerge victorious. To do that you’ll need to use your boost effectively, keep your fuel topped up, and avoid crashing into the competition which will really set you back. And if you want to really excel at the game, you’ll also need to collect the coins that litter the track, too. It’s challenging but a hell of a lot of fun, and when you have friends around you can play the game in split-screen. What more could you ask for?
What makes Horizon Chase Turbo particularly great is that anyone can pick up and play it thanks to its easy controls. Not everyone may be able to master it, though, but that’s the joy of the arcade genre. This is undoubtedly one of the best arcade racing games you can pick up on Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S. Don’t miss it.
8. Trackmania Turbo
Boost, loop-de-loops and insane jumps: Trackmania Turbo is an arcade racer alright.
Developed by Nadeo and Published by Ubisoft, Trackmania Turbo is all about driving very fast on outlandish tracks and performing ridiculous stunts. When playing alone you’ll mostly find yourself trying to beat the clock; that alone isn’t always so easy when obstacles are thrown your way while travelling at insane speeds. Trackmania Turbo also features local co-op play, however, where two players try to control the same car. And for those who are competitive, four player split-screen makes for some heated social gaming sessions.
Trackmania Turbo is a game which we think has been terribly overlooked, and it really does deserve your attention. Racing games rarely come as colourful, action-packed and outlandish as this. If you’re looking for the best arcade racing games on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S, add this one to your list.
9. FlatOut 4: Total Insanity
The original FlatOut by Bugbear Entertainment was simply fantastic, and so was its sequel. But when development was handed over to Team 6 Studios for FlatOut 3, something went wrong. Thankfully, with Kylotonn Games at the helm, FlatOut 4:Total Insanity brought the series back on track.
Featuring races, time trials, arenas and more, FlatOut 4: Total Insanity blends high-stakes racing with destruction. Unlock vehicles, customise them, and then take them out on dynamic tracks to compete against competition that puts up a real fight. And when it gets a bit too much, pay a visit to assault mode; there, vehicles are kitted out with weapons so you can cause some real damage to relieve some stress. The icing on the cake is stunt mode, in which you can take part in a variety of entertaining minigames.
If you enjoy carnage, then, FlatOut 4 is undoubtedly one of the best arcade racing games on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.