Grid AutoSport is My Favorite Mobile Racing Game

I have always been a big fan of racing games. I started with the classics like Pole Position and Outrun and have been playing them ever since. I almost always have a racing game installed on my smartphone. There have been plenty of excellent options over the years. The Real Racing and Asphalt franchises have been some of my favorites.

Recently, I stumbled across Grid Autosport in the Google Play store. I had played a few of the Grid titles on my XBOX so I opted to give it a shot. The game was $10.00. It seemed to be a high price when comparing options in the store, but it has no micro transactions after the initial buy which I prefer. The $10.00 fee also includes texture, track, and car pack downloads that were available the first time I started the game.

It turns out that ten bucks is a steal given how good Grid Autosport is. The game’s career mode follows the well established class based, earn your garage path, made famous by the likes of Gran Turismo and Forza. What helps set Grid Autosport apart is the number of racing types available beyond that traditional career mode. Everything from Drag racing to Demolition Derby and Drifting are available modes. I’ve had the game for weeks and haven’t managed to try them all yet. Sadly, there’s no multiplayer option.

The difficulty options make it easy to tune for your style of driving and skill level. I like to aim for a challenge in which winning appears possible but not probable. There are options for disabling the hud and locking the camera to in-car modes along with turning ideal lines, braking assist, traction control, and others. Besides adjusting how much the game is helping your driving, the AI competition also has its own difficulty levels. When tuning the driving experience, you are increasing or decreasing the XP bonus received for completing the run.

The tilt controls, vibration, and unique touchscreen-sliding throttle combine to deliver a satisfactory level of car control immersion. Twisting the phone in space like a wheel feels more like driving than using a gamepad to me, but the later is fully supported via Bluetooth or cable. The motion controls in Grid are exceptionally accurate, drifting around corners at high-speed feels risky but can be accomplished. The haptic feed back manages to provide some sense of road feel, especially when you encroach on the edge of the track or while traversing surfaces like cobblestone.

The graphics are good enough to justify hooking my phone up to a bigger screen and playing with a controller. I’ve used Android’s wireless streaming option to play on my living-room screen more than once. The experience is on-par with an Nintendo-Switch running in docked mode. On my Galaxy Fold 3, turning the graphics to their maximum, drops my FPS from sixty to thirty. I tend to run the game on the mid-settings because of this. Smooth is better than pretty and the expression of speed is more defined, for me.

There are 100 realistic tracks based on real-world venues and locations. The scenery and environments are exceptional in all the ones I have raced on so far. There are a wide variety of track surfaces and weather elements. NPC fans fill the stadiums and city streets to cheer you on, mountains are majestic, and coast lines glimmer. Sun glare, grime on the windshield, and other touches lend themselves to the realistic environmental experiences the developers were clearly aiming for.

There are also 100 cars in Grid. Multiple driving disciplines like touring, super-car, or open wheeled mean there’s always something new to get into. There’s even a class of racing UTEs, the El Camino style of truck-car you hardly see anymore. The detail in each machine’s exterior is exquisite. I chose to download the optional HD texture pack. The sheetmetal and paint jobs are photo-realistic after you install the add-on. Vehicle interiors are accurately scaled but otherwise lackluster.

The physics feel great. Cornering speeds match my expectations for the type of car being slung around the track. Collisions with other drivers have appropriate levels of mass reaction and damage. The driving impact of that damage is another option that can be toggled on and off in the menus. I keep one driver profile configured for the type of “racing” that takes focus and a light touch to avoid over-driving and sliding into the grass. I have another for casual play where traction control and steering assist make distracted/Netflix driving easier.

As you can tell, I’ve been impressed by Grid Autosport. It would be a great racing game on any platform. The fact that it is always in my pocket is icing on the cake. I often find myself playing it while watching Netflix, or while waiting for things like my turn at the barber-shop.

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