The 9 Best Sci Fi Racing Games

There was a time when the futuristic racer was a staple among racing games. Those days are, sadly, over. That being said, the genre had a great run. And even if sci-fi racing titles aren't popping off the way they once were, there have still been some mighty fine releases in recent years.

So strap into your gravity-defying, neon-glowing, futuristic vehicle of choice and prepare to zip through a rogues gallery of some of the best sci-fi racers ever released. Don't forget your seatbelt, because we're not going to be pacing ourselves.

9 Star Wars Episode 1: Racer

While it may not be the most balanced racing title to have ever existed, Star Wars Episode 1: Racer is still, to this day, an extremely fast, smooth, and rewarding arcadey racing experience. This title forces you to manage your podracer's condition. While having to manage your vehicle's durability isn't anything new, you are actually able to repair your podracer here. Though it comes at a cost: speed. This introduces a delightful push-your-luck element.

There is also an excellent upgrade system here, which will help prepare you for some of the more brutal races down the line. Once again, the name of the game here is speed. This is a fast racing title. And that is why, to this day, people still rave about it. At least something good came out of The Phantom Menace. And hey, it was even re-released on modern consoles!

8 Running High

When you think "futuristic racing" you probably aren't envisioning a foot race. However, Running High is the addictive, off-beat, Japan-exclusive racing game that proves to be the exception. Despite being a PS1 title, Running High is absolutely slick in motion. It looks great. It also has a fantastic, responsive feel.

There is a combat element. You can hit opponents to the left or to the right of you. It feels very Road Rash-esque, which certainly isn't a bad thing. Running High is absolutely an oddity, but that doesn't mean it is purely a novelty. It is an enjoyable take on the racing genre that has its own unique flavor and feel.

7 Jet Moto 2

One of the classic racing franchises from the PS1 era is still an absolute banger to this day. The Jet Moto games don't have the same sense of speed that you would expect from the futuristic racing genre (though they are, by no means, slow). However, in its place is an excellent sense of weight. From the way your bike handles to the pretty interesting grappling system for making certain sharp turns, Jet Moto just has a wholly unique feel.

Jet Moto 2 is definitely the height of the series. Not only are the Jet Moto 2 tracks some of the best to appear in a racing game, but all the tracks from the first game are here as well. This makes it an unbelievable package and the definitive Jet Moto experience. It is just too bad this series isn't playable on modern consoles.

6 Redout

Redout is like an unofficial entry in the Wipeout franchise. It takes a lot from F-Zero as well, of course, but there is something about the handling of the vehicles here that feels more distinctly Wipeout-esque.

One of the great things about Redout is the focus on maintaining speed. This is a racing game that encourages you to never stop accelerating. Angle your car perfectly, and you can zip around literally every corner in the game, maintaining an excellent sense of momentum. Redout is a fantastic game that pays tribute to the classics of the past. Every fan of the genre should give it a look.

5 Rollcage Stage 2

The Rollcage series exists in an interesting in-between space in the racing genre. Due to the type of weapons it has, the combat feels a little more kart racey than your traditional racing combat game. However, this isn't Mario Kart, the pace and speed feels closer to something akin to a Wipeout game. It is a game with a great sense of speed, but it may take a minute to master the slipperiness of the controls.

The real showpiece of the Rollcage games is the ability to drive on multiple surfaces (often defying gravity). This feels absolutely great and adds an excellent dynamic to the gameplay. Rollcage Stage 2 is a classic racing title that has its own unique feel. Unfortunately, it was also the last game to release in the series.

4 Hydro Thunder

Hydro Thunder is a fast-paced racing title that isn't afraid to let loose and get a little weird. So many games set in the future have you race in technologically advanced, neon environments, but Hydro Thunder embraces a more familiar aesthetic for its world in its unique tracks. While still set in the future, Hydro Thunder's world is immediately more familiar. It is also a game that is quite happy to get very, very silly.

However, it isn't just notable for having well-designed, off-beat tracks, it also has a unique feel. Hydro Thunder isn't Wave Race, but the way your ship controls delivers that sensation of racing on water. All of this comes together to make Hydro Thunder a unique racing title that has its own identity in both visuals as well as gameplay.

3 Fast RMX

For years now F-Zero fans have been begging for a new release. Unfortunately, their pleas have fallen on deaf ears. Fast RMX, then, is the unofficial answer. F-Zero's futuristic aesthetic? Check. Does it have the charging plates? Check. However, while this blindingly-fast racing game has a number of F-Zero elements, it also has its own twists on this formula.

One of the best examples of this is the Ikaruga-esque twist to the gameplay. You need to switch forms to match the color of segments of each stage. It is an amazing flourish and helps the game stand on its own two feet.

2 Wipeout Omega Collection

When it comes to futuristic racing games that feature weapons in their car combat, Wipeout has to be the king. The Wipeout series is among the fastest racers in the genre (a genre known for being stupidly fast). There are other excellent flourishes as well.

An excellent example of this is the ability to cash in weapons to help repair your vehicle's damaged shields. This can give the game a push-your-luck style element. Do you hold onto the potent weapon you have on hand to try to take first place even though you are one bad collision away from exploding?

1 F-Zero GX

F-Zero GX is a special game. It is loaded with content, it has an excellent cast of characters, it has some of the best stages in a racing game, and its sense of speed is quite simply unmatched. F-Zero GX was released decades ago, yet no racing game has come close to unseating it in the intervening years.

If you are unfamiliar with the F-Zero games, they are incredibly fast, with exhilarating stages that will sling you around a wide variety of distinct locales, sometimes allowing you to defy gravity in unique ways. While there are no weapons here, you are still able to take out opponents with a well-timed sideswipe. It is, for all intents and purposes, a nearly perfect racing game. One that absolutely stands the test of time.

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