When it comes to racing games, there are three “big boy” series to be found in the App Store: Firemint’s Real Racing, EA’s Need for Speed, and the longest running, Gameloft‘s Asphalt, arguably the most arcade-like experience for mobile. This hasn’t changed with Asphalt 7: Heat, the latest iteration of the long-running racing series, as fast-paced as it ever was, if not more.
The biggest change in Asphalt 7 is clearly the game’s graphics engine, which is some of the most colorful, beautiful landscapes you’ll find on iOS. Everything is rendered in crystal-clear HD, complete with real-time lighting and shadow effects on every one of the game’s 15 different cities to race in, across the different single-player and multi player modes – including online with up to five different players.
But a new coat of paint doesn’t really affect gameplay, and Asphalt 7 doesn’t get the overhaul the game’s visuals received, instead adding a few tweaks to further the game’s already break-neck pace. Forget about a brake button: the pedal’s been replaced with a dedicated drift button, which really forces players to approach races differently than one would in more simulation-type racers.
Not everything is changing: the game uses the same boost system as Asphalt 6; passing players and collecting boost orbs fill a meter which – when full – activates a super turbo that turns the screen completely blue, and a player’s car into a super high-speed road wrecking machine, taking out fellow racers and traffic along the way.
Unfortunately, Asphalt 7‘s drop in price – from $6.99 for previous new titles to $.99 – means the inclusion of consumable IAP, in the form of in-game cash, used to unlock different cars and upgrades to dominate opponents with. Thankfully, the grind required to get the upper vehicles and tracks isn’t difficult to achieve, definitely falling on the reasonable, more optional side of the IAP fence.
With Asphalt 7, Gameloft’s removed some the frivolous aspects to Asphalt 6 - like the goofy announcer – and instead focused on making a leaner, tighter racing title. I’m happy to say it’s a success: Asphalt 7 doesn’t reinvent the genre, but is a solid and remarkably beautiful racer any iOS gamer will enjoy.