A game mechanic that designers continue to go back to is the use of cars. Customizable cars in a game allow you to trick out your ride, and in some instances, you can get really involved in how your car is set up with the ability to change seemingly every part on the rig.
Games with these kinds of mechanics tend to provide hours of entertainment. Sometimes, they’re used to bolster a racing game, while other times the racing part is just an afterthought. Either way, wrenching in a virtual world is just as fun as doing it in the real world.
10/10 Mad Max
Anyone who sees movies from the Mad Max series knows it’s about cars. The Mad Max video game showcased a beautiful open world and fun gameplay, but another awesome aspect was the car customization options.
Not satisfied with just driving one car around the wasteland, you can get different body types and customize all sorts of options on the vehicle, along with more upgrades. Since you’re in the car a lot, this feels like you’re really just leveling up a character. It’s a great feeling, and people are eagerly awaiting a sequel or a remaster.
In Automation, from the aptly named Camshaft Software, you can work on existing vehicles, tweaking them the way you want them — or you can design a car from the ground up.
If you’re already a car expert, the game’s commitment to realism is going to give you an advantage. There is vehicle customization, and then there is this game where you can seemingly adjust every screw and bolt on the vehicle. After that, you can operate a car company and sell the designed vehicles.
8/10 Gran Turismo 7
The tweaking options are impressive in the Gran Turismo series. Sure, you can race a car. However, the real fun comes with the emphasis on tuning the cars you have, changing the appearances of the vehicles, and making performance-based adjustments.
You pretty much have total control of your vehicles and what they’re capable of, plus the whole racing aspect of Grand Turismo ain’t bad either.
7/10 Grand Theft Auto 5
You can change everything about your rides, and even test them out online to see how they perform. The mod community also helps add additional layers to the car aspect of the game, even allowing real name-brand vehicles into the game.
6/10 Need For Speed Underground 2
In the street-racing world of Need for Speed: Underground 2, there are all sorts of options for your vehicles. Along with the extensive cosmetic changes you can make on vehicles in Underground 2, there are a lot of things you can do under the hood.
There is a bevy of options for the performance of the vehicle that is surprisingly deep, considering the Need for Speed series is more about arcade action rather than the sim nature of other racing series.
5/10 The Crew 2
This open-world racing game by Ivory Tower has a wide scope, given you can hop into cars, F1 racers, boats, and motorcycles. In The Crew 2, there are plenty of customization options, and you can switch out parts on your car to go faster, handle better, or look cooler.
This all occurs on a game map that is a scaled-down version of the United States. While the game got mixed reviews, it did turn some eyes onto how fun this open-world concept and player customization could be.
4/10 Lego Bricktales
There are no brands, and no performance issues. The game boils down to “here are some parts, make something of it.” You don’t get to race the car in this game, but the building process is the best part — right?
3/10 Forza Horizon 4
Where do we start with Forza Horizon 4? Do you want quick-change options that make it easy to upgrade your car in this arcade racer? Done. Do you want to meticulously pour over every part, creating the ultimate racing machine? Also done.
Once you have your dream car, you can create a route around the open world, which is a stunning creation based on Great Britain.
2/10 Car Mechanic Simulator Series
Car Mechanic Simulator is the closest to working on real cars you’ll probably get in a video game setting. You can use tools to complete repair jobs on cars, upgrade your garage, and restore classic cars.
There are over a thousand parts, covering nearly all components of a vehicle. Not only can you get replacement parts if something breaks, but you can also choose to fix a broken part. There is also a racing sim bolted onto this game for good measure.
1/10 Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts
While Banjo-Kazooie isn’t exactly known for being a vehicle franchise, Nuts and Bolts is a fun romp for this iconic duo. You spend the game getting vehicle components and blueprints in order to complete challenges in the game.
There are more than 1,600 vehicle component options that allow you to build cars, helicopters, submarines, hovercrafts, boats, and airplanes. It was critically acclaimed for being an extremely deep experience, allowing you to use your imagination to progress.