High-octane action and stunning graphics return with Asphalt 8: Airborne [Review]

Gameloft has returned with the eighth release in the Asphalt racing series – Asphalt 8: Airborne. Like its predecessors, Asphalt 8 is an arcade racer and if you’ve played and enjoyed any of the previous iterations, you will not be disappointed by the newest addition to the franchise.

As is expected of any game in this series, Asphalt 8: Airborne contains all of the adrenalin-fuelled racing, high-speed crashes, glamorous track locations and gorgeous graphics.

In terms of gameplay, it can be hard to improve a game that has already seen so many iterations. But it’s been achieved in this case. Asphalt 8: Airborne, as the name suggests, takes the race upward with ramps and jumps galore, adding to the excitement of the race and really making use of the graphics capabilities of newer iOS devices.

The graphics of this game really are stunning and it would be impossible to review Asphalt 8 without gushing over the visuals. Everything looks beautiful, and almost console quality, on your iPhone or iPad screen. The cars look great, the tracks, all of the action, the subtle rain splatters on the screen, are all superbly done and create a really immersive experience.

Taking the race into the air has also enable more variety in the game. There are a number of ramps, hidden tracks and second-floor racing areas that are often highly beneficial to find. This means you can play the same track numerous times and find a new route each with each race. Personally, I think it’s more exhilarating risking it all by making a huge jump rather than trying to win by timing your cornering to perfection.

There are 47 cars available in the game from a multitude of manufacturers including Lamborghini, Ferrari, Bugatti, Audi, Tesla and more. Most have to be earned or bought and, once owned, can be customized aesthetically and upgraded internally.

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There’s also a choice of game modes in Asphalt 8: Airborne ensuring playability and longevity. Career mode allows you to complete challenges singlehandedly in 180 events spanning 8 seasons. You can also engage in simultaneous multiplayer with up to 7 other players or try out asynchronus multiplayer and challenge your friends and wait for them to try and compete with the time you set.

The controls are really simple – auto-acceleration, tilt-to-steer, tap left to break and tap right to use nitro are the default settings but these can be customized if you wish.

Generally, Asphalt 8: Airborne is just pretty cool. The pre-race track overviews and countdowns look amazing and the soundtrack makes this one game I won’t play on silent.

Then there’s the price. At only $0.99/£0.69 it’s an absolute bargain and a no-brainer in my opinion. Gameloft will probably make their money through the in-app purchase options but the game doesn’t bug you too often to spend you real-world money so you can easily spend only the required dollar to download the app and play without spending another cent.

If you’re thinking of giving the game a spin, you’ll have to make sure you have some room on your iOS devices as it comes in at a whopping 884MB download (you’ll also need some time on WiFi to download it – times like these do indeed make me wish my home internet was faster).

Very little is wrong with the game, but one of the only criticisms I think is fair for Asphalt 8: Airborne is the limited playable camera angles. You can race in third-person (behind the car) or first-person (vehicle-free).  The camera does move around sometimes when in third person, for example if you wreck the car or take out someone else’s. Personally, I don’t feel this is too big a deal but I know that some avid racing game players prefer to have a cockpit camera or rear view capabilities.

On the whole, Asphalt 8: Airborne is brilliant. It’s visually superb and so much fun to play. If you’re an arcade racing game fanatic, or just a casual iOS gamer, I think that you’ll really enjoy the latest addition to the Asphalt series. I can assure you I won’t be putting it down for a while.

TiP rating: 9/10

iTunes link: Asphalt 8: Airborne

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