Most racing fans crave for realism in their games, which is why titles such as Real Racing 3 are so popular on mobile devices. Everything is detailed for authenticity, from the sound effects to the bumps and dents suffered by your cars during the races. With Asphalt 8: Airborne, however, all of that is thrown out the window, as this is a game that both encourages and rewards mayhem.
Asphalt 8: Airborne is a combination of both realistic and arcade style racing. It features stunningly designed cars as well as highly polished visuals without a hint of lag despite the high quality graphics. In turn, it also offers invulnerable vehicles that can jump off ramps and even collide against barriers and other competitors with no ill effects. Controls are highly responsive, and the soundtrack is amazing.
The title employs the usual control mechanism found in most racing games found in mobile devices. Steering is controlled by tilting the device, and players have no control over acceleration aside from breaking and using the nitro. This last item is one of the best elements in the game, and it is certainly the thing that you should take advantage of if you want to finish at first place. Nitro allows for a tremendous boost in speed, and this can be triggered by one, two, or three taps on the right side of the screen, with each tap further increasing its ability. Of course, this resource is not infinite, as using nitro will exhaust the meter that will have to be filled again before it can be reused.
This nitro meter refills gradually over time, but performing stunts that basically should destroy your car in real life will provide you with additional nitro. Knocking over barriers and other obstacles, colliding with other vehicles, and jumping off ramps and spinning while in mid-air will not only earn you nitro, but will also allow you to collect more coins which you can use to buy everything from new cars to upgrades.
The drift mechanism is also a very interesting feature not seen in many racing titles. By steering and braking at the same time, your vehicle can turn in sharp corners quite effectively, allowing you to lose much less speed in the process. Being able to use both nitro and drifting properly will certainly be an advantage to players even against higher quality cars.
Speaking of cars, there are a lot of vehicles available for purchase and use, and all have been modeled to represent the real thing. These include cars made from manufacturers like Bugatti, Lamborghini, Ferrari, and many more. Each car has attributes that can be upgraded, although oftentimes the better alternative would be to purchase a whole new car altogether. This, however, would require some grinding as some vehicles may cost up to a hundred grand or more.
Numerous modes are also available within the game, which adds a lot of variety into the challenges present in the game. There’s single player and multiplayer modes, the latter of which can be done either online or via Wi-Fi connection. Players may also race against the competition in the form of ghosts, AI whose performance patterns that of actual players. What’s even better is that all content, especially with regards to all events, tracks, and seasons, are unlockable by completing certain tasks, but there’s also the option to buy them outright using real cash if you want to instantly get into the action. Races take place within different countries including Tokyo, Las Vegas, Iceland, and many more. There’s also a global leaderboard where players can see their rankings as compared to other players worldwide.
Asphalt 8: Airborne is a very addictive title as there’s a lot of inspiration to be found especially if you want to push yourself to the limits. Unlocking all content within the game will require skill as well as a lot of dedication, but the game does provide some shortcuts in order to access everything available. Being able to compete against all the best players worldwide will also force you to step up your game each time you find yourself in the tracks.
Asphalt 8 may not be the best racing game released for the iOS, but it would definitely give any competitors a run for their money. This title will also become a favorite for those who want arcade style racing where speed and destruction are more of a necessity rather than catlike precision, although the latter is still very much useful. Asphalt 8 is definitely a title that you should look into if you have that need for speed, and would do anything just to get that last burst of nitro required to shoot yourself towards first place and ultimate racing glory.
Tested on iPhone. Final Score: 8/10
Asphalt 8: Airborne was developed by Gameloft. It was released last August 22, 2013 via iTunes.