Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Game Controls Rating:
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We all know what happens when, say, superhero movies start doing tons of sequels. There will be better special effects, more star power, more gloss. But that doesn’t mean it’s anything new. Fun? Absolutely! But, it’s hard to keep the plot fresh. Gameloft’s latest version of their hit arcade-style racing franchise, Asphalt 7: Heat is no different. The game looks absolutely stunning – particularly on the latest generation of iOS devices – and there are some new locales, tracks and tons of awesome cars. If one has played Asphalt 6, however, there’s nothing really new. Still, at $.99 it’s worth picking up, especially if casual racers appeal.
There are 15 tracks spread across some pretty fantastic looking locations around the world. If some look familiar it’s because they have appeared in previous Asphalt games. Still, with the stunning new backdrops that’s easily forgivable.
Players have 60 cars to choose from, unlocked by accruing both in-game cash and stars that are awarded for levelling up and that sort of thing. They can also be purchased in-app. There are the standard Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and BMWs, and even the DeLorean, along with a few unexpected choices. Players progress through tiers unlocking new vehicles.
There are three modes of play : Career with 15 leagues, 150 races in six different varieties, online and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth local Multiplayer action for up to five players, and a quick race option. In the last, gamers can play any kind of challenge from standard races to elimination matches, time trials to Beat ‘Em All knockout rounds, then mix and match them with any location and vehicle class/difficulty level. There’s even a spinner for those who can’t decide.
The controls are excellent. The default accelerometer scheme is the best or players can opt for tap steering or manual control over breaks and gas. It’s easy to drift, make hairpin turns and using the now-standard nitro boosts sends the speedsters careening, without losing control.
The soundtrack is well done, and the graphics are spectacular, even on the iPad 2, although they are best seen on the 3rd gen iPad with that quad-core graphics chip.
Asphalt 7 suffers from a few issues besides redundancy. The game has social network integration and the push to use it is relentless. Players are interrupted at every juncture with a nag screen that can’t be turned off. Also when cars are close together the game has a rubber-band quality I dislike. And, while most of the special effects are stunning some of the sun glare can be not only overwhelming, but also a little disco.
Nonetheless, for the price Asphalt 7 is one of the best arcade racers on iOS. What it lacks in originality it makes up for in polish. Just don’t expect a full console experience; it still feels like a mobile game.