When we think of driving games, our minds usually jump to action. We think of high speeds, spectacular crashes, being more arcade than realistic. The world of driving simulator games tends to lurk just below the surface, but it's a genre that's been growing rapidly in the last few years.
Driving simulator games can be action games too, but they often focus more on the realistic aspects of the experience over the bombastic. Whether playing a driving simulator online or offline, these titles have us ponder the deeper aspects of driving and what the road requires.
Driving simulator games often focus on deeper gameplay, where careful consideration and strict rules dictate how we play. These provide a challenge that many players love. Sure, it might seem a little strange to some people that we like to unwind after driving home by jumping into driving simulator games, but gamers are often a unique lot.
To help existing fans of driving simulator games and newcomers, we've created this top ten list of titles to help you find something new. From console to PC games, and even some older Flash games, here are-
The first game on this list with the most complicated name is BeamNG.drive. BeamNG.drive combines realistic driving simulations with realistic crashing simulations if things get out of hand. When driving is this fun, testing the physics system of this game is just a matter of time - especially with all of the trees.
The simplest of the driving simulator games on this list, Parallel Park is also actually one of the most useful. This simple Flash game gives you a top-down view as you parallel park. This includes a slight lag as the wheels turn and the challenge of navigating a small space. It's small, but it's a great way to learn important parking theory.
City Car Driving is another of those driving simulator games that offers exactly as it sounds. This title uses a “smart traffic” system to simulate the complexities of a real driving experience. Including unpredictable pedestrians and drivers, City Car Driving is great at keeping you focused on the road head.
Now jumping into the driving simulator games that get the blood pumping, Dirt Rally 2.0 is one of the best titles that off-road racing fans can hope for. With traction that changes depending on the surface, and realistic car damage affecting performance, Dirt Rally 2.0 is as engaging as it is frightening.
While it’s not the most graphically advanced of the Formula 1 and NASCAR titles, rFactor 2 has an established legacy among driving simulator games. Once used to train real professional racers, elements like tire wear and force feedback make this a great fit for racers with a wheel to play with.
Driving simulator games don’t just have to be about the cars, trucks can also get in on the action (shoutout to our fellow truck enthusiasts out there!). Euro Truck Simulator 2 lets you deliver cargo across a condensed version of Europe, balancing fuel, maintenance, and road tolls. An engaging experience for sure, and a challenging one to boot.
Speaking of driving simulator games without a car, Ride 4 takes to two wheels in its depiction of the on-road experience. You choose to play this title in arcade or simulation modes, with the simulator mode capturing the complexity of motorcycle riding. At least you don't have to worry about getting hurt if you crash!
Not to be outdone, Bus Simulator '21 arrives to carry passengers in this special type of driving simulator game. Pick your bus, deliver your passengers on time, and navigate the weather and traffic on this fun title. Beyond the general high quality of the graphics, this game comes in the optional multiplayer mode, too! Balancing all the elements in this one can feel like jumping between classes of RPG characters, so if you dig complexity, don't pass Bus Simulator '21 up.
Driving simulator games can take you through the rough, but none embrace this world like MudRunner. Get stuck, try again, get stuck, and feel like a real driver as you navigate the complexities of real mud trucking in one of the most satisfying games to finish on this list.
Now that you’ve done the driving, it’s time to watch how other people drive with Autobahn Police Simulator—maybe the most realistic of the games on our list. Check out the literal HP meaning as you monitor accident pileups, inspect vehicles, and look for drugs as you keep the roads safe.
Many car driving simulator games can help provide you with real practice. Just note that just like no two cars are the same, no driving simulator is exactly like the real thing. This doesn't mean that online practice isn't helpful, though!
While this question is up for debate, many consider City Car Driving the most realistic road driving simulator. This title is one of the best driving simulator games PC has to offer for the basics. Just remember, its road rules might not be the same as yours.
The best driving simulator games or games will depend on your taste. There are no wrong answers here, it's all up to which title you enjoy the most. Even if your answer isn't on this list, there's nothing wrong with that choice!
No matter what you’re looking for in driving simulator games, there’s something out there to suit your tastes. From HTML5 games over a decade old to the newest AAA big-budget console releases, no player on any device needs to feel left out.
With only ten spots on the list, we have to point out that there will be many other great titles that didn't quite make the list. As games like Forza Horizon 6 and Project Cars 4 approach release, there's a lot to look forward to in 2024 too.
Driving simulator games are experiencing a golden age in the modern era, in some way like the MMORPGs of the 2000s. Whether you have a wheel, a controller, a keyboard, or a phone, it's a great time to be a fan, just remember to hold on tight for what comes next.