App Reviewed on: iPad Pro
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We're still not quite there in terms of getting Burnout on mobile, but the entourage of mobile games released these past couple of years is making me more and more hopeful.
Granted, Asphalt 9: Legends doesn't quite give you the metal-crumpling satisfaction in its crashes, but it's high quality and kind-of makes you want to go clubbing afterwards. No? Just me?
Asphalt 9: Legends eases you into its arcade-style racing with a speedy tutorial and a quick flash-up of text boxes to explain all of the usual freemium bits and bobs.
As well as unlocking a variety of car blueprints via the game or shop, you can upgrade the car's innards, change its colour, and get to work climbing up the career ladder by improving your reputation.
I'll come clean right here and say that I'm about as fluent in car lingo as I am Latin, so the prospect of unlocking a bunch of real-life cars and putting all sorts of shiny bits in them doesn't quite get me giddy. For you it may do, but I'd rather watch paint dry.
Racing, on the other hand, I absolutely adore. As opposed to my original view, the game does offer up both touch drive and the full driving experience. Having dabbled in getting stuck right into the experience and failing, I went with the less embarrassing 'hands-off- approach.
While it sounds like you're getting cheated from most of the fun, it actually works well and is genuinely fun whatever way you decide to play.
By using touch control the game does the steering for you, though you can choose the direction you want to bank off to, and leaves you to control drift and nitro (boost) options. If you're keen for a more hands-on approach, you can steer the car by tilting your phone or tablet.
For the most part you've got two main types of races: against other cars and time trial. Both are self-explanatory, but it bodes well for you if you aim to be first in everything.
Undeniably the visuals are gorgeous and easily step up from its predecessor. From tyre marks in the snow to fantastic storm and rain effects, it's really punchy. Twin that with the upbeat music and occasional recognisable song, and you've got yourself a party.
After a fair few seasons of fast-paced action, progression does slow up a bit. All of sudden you're not completing as many goals and finding it harder to come first, or top three, in races.
If you're looking to collect 'em all in terms of cars, you may need to put in a lot of hours to gather all of the blueprints, especially if you don't want to buy the blueprint card packs or put real money into the game.
That's not exactly a road block, however, as you can just keep on upgrading your favourite cars. Though Gameloft would love for you to spend real money, there's not an awful lot of pressure considering it's a free-to-play game.
Had the races been longer things would get repetitive quickly, but as they are – short and snappy – it's a minute or so of concentration and then onto the next one. If you're travelling, on the toilet, or waiting for a coffee, it's kind-of ideal.
Those of you that have older devices may want to read the game's specifications before downloading. My iPad Pro handled the graphics and performance beautifully, but I can see devices older than a couple of generations struggling to keep up or running a bit hot.
There's no denying that Asphalt 9: Legends is a cracking arcade racer. While it may lack in a couple of areas and hide some of its progression behind a paywall, it's good fun that you can enjoy properly without feeling like you have to pay to play.