Money is tight and that has never been anymore true than right now. So being able to find some free games to play that are actually worth playing is a real treat to people looking to break out of the money vacuum that is mainstream gaming. I first heard about Simraceway through a friend who asked me why I pay for racing simulators when there was one that is just as good but for free. So taking his word for it I went and picked up the game (or downloaded from the website) and gave it a try.
Starting up Simraceway wasn't too hard, just a few well placed clicks here and there and you have the game installed and ready to run. The cool thing about the installation process is the game will download the starter cars and tracks 1st and will do background downloads of the rest of the cars and tracks so you get into the game quicker. The selection of cars is fairly decent with a wide range of different styles of racers so everyone can find the racing league and style that suits them. Now being a free simulator they did have to cut back in some areas and the most noticeable is the graphics. They are nothing to go tell your friends about but they will do. Setting the sim up to your preferences is not much of a challenge but I did run into a problem when I was trying to calibrate my brake and gas pedal. Every time I would set one of the pedals the game would lock the other pedal to the full depressed position but after some poking and prodding I got everything working just fine.
When you are on the track the cars handle OK. They are by far not the best out there but not the worst either. The handling has the feel of most AAA console racing games with a few tweaks. I did have a problem adjusting to the way the cars felt because the cars just do not fell like they car connecting to the track like a proper car should. This not meaning the game is unplayable but it does show room for improvement. When you play it and start getting the hang of it you will not complain about it but in the back of your head you know that there is better out there. For being a free simulator though it is by far the best out there.
Now lets get into some of the juicy bits of this simulator. Now it may be free to play but there are a ton of things you can spend real world money on. One of those things being cars (I know what you are thinking but bare with me a curve ball is coming). Now instead of just being able to buy cars with real money you can actually use in game credits earned through quick race events and sessions. Now the cool thing you don't really see in racing sims these days is a pay to race with a cash payouts. Now not all of the races are cash payouts. Some of them include free racing hardware (wheels, seats, complete setups ect.) or real world racing experiences. The races with the payouts are a pay to enter events and usually don't cost more than $5. This means that racing in the events are really stressful and contain some of the best drivers Simraceway can throw at you. But that makes winning all the more sweeter and if you are really confident in your racing ability than this will be a great place let your skill pay you back with something other than artificial licences.
The community is pretty solid with an instant messaging chat room built right into the bottom of the game screen so if you have any questions you don't have to wait on a forum response or email. You will get help from someone in real time and from my experiences they are mostly friendly. There are a few kids (term used to describe mental maturity not age) who get in there and like to bother people. For the most part its easy to block those people when they come and its not that often they show their faces.
For a free racing simulator Simraceway is one of the best you will find out there and with payouts that are tangible for winning races, being the best and pushing yourself really has its rewards. When you put this toe-to-toe physics wise with the top simulators it falls short. Not so much that it will keep you unhappy and ruin your racing experiences, but enough to know that there is a difference. If you are looking for a racing game to play that has an active community, playability and costs nothing than Simraceway is the place for you and you will be hard pressed to find a game that offers the level of physics as well as the experience of wins that really matter to you.