Meanwhile, Asphalt is the Burnout; it’s the not-so-realistic racer with a focus on – as Dealspwn’s Jon would say – “visceral thrills”. For better or worse (mostly better), Asphalt 8: Airborne is the most ridiculous, over-the-top Asphalt to date.
In Real Racing 3, you’re ultimately tasked with following the race line on a series of licensed tracks, preferably nailing the perfect lap(s). Not to say it’s not fun, but it’s very… proper?
Asphalt 8: Airborne sits at the other end of the scale, throwing tracks with several different routes at you, with avalanches, giant robots, and rockets taking off – among other things. It’s pretty silly.
Key to your success in Asphalt 8: Airborne is the boost meter at the top. You can fill that by collecting cans of nitro, drifting round corners, taking out rival cars, and performing tricks. Yes, tricks.
Unsurprisingly (the clue’s in the title), you’ll spend a lot of time off the ground. When you hit a ramp, it’s possible – with a tap of the brake – to send your car spinning through the air, while curved ramps invite you to perform barrel rolls. For serious.
As for Asphalt 8: Airborne game modes, there’s familiar stuff like Elimination (the person in last place gets chopped every X seconds till there’s only one left), One-on-One, and of course plain old races.
The new game modes are Infected, with the infection giving you unlimited boost for a short spell before your car blows up (weird, yep), and Drift, which tasks you with drifting through a series of gates.
All in all, there are 180 events spread across eight seasons, nine different locations, and 47 cars. Plenty going on for sure.
Now for some moaning.
For starters, the traffic in Asphalt 8: Airborne seems to have been cunningly positioned, with vehicles often popping up exactly where you don’t want to see them. And needless to say, the compu-cars can expertly weave between hazards.
And despite the 69p entry fee, Gameloft would really appreciate if you would make a donation by buying in-game currency.
See, everything’s very carefully balanced towards making progress incredibly slow, whether it’s saving up cash to buy new cars and upgrades, or collecting stars to open seasons.
The Season 2 unlock, in particular, costs 69p, but they seem to get more expensive as the game goes on.
Keeping your wallet in your pocket, you’ll find yourself going back and playing Asphalt 8: Airborne events multiple times, just to scrape together cash and stars.
Speaking of stars, there are five up for grabs in each race, three if you win, two for second, one for third; and two more for performing specific tricks, such as four spins in one jump or whatever.
On the whole, Asphalt 8: Airborne plays really well, looks really good, and offers a ton of content, but the cheekily-placed traffic and the relentless grind against the freemium gating left a bad taste in my mouth.
- Lots of cars and upgrades
- Lots of events
- It’s pretty silly
- Pay to progress, or grind, grind, grind
- The traffic and the super-smart AI
- It’s all very frustrating
Summary: Asphalt 8: Airborne is a fantastic racer, technically, but be prepared to battle freemium frustration.
Compatibility: Requires iOS 5.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPad 2 Wi-Fi, iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G, iPad Wi-Fi (3rd generation), iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular (3rd generation), iPad Wi-Fi (4th generation), iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular (4th generation), iPad mini Wi-Fi, iPad mini Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPod touch (4th generation) and iPod touch (5th generation). This app is optimized for iPhone 5.
Android requirements: Vary with device.