Asphalt 8: Airborne is a racing game with several game modes where the only aim in the game is to win each race and score points; races are filled with specific objectives such as stunts which provide the player with more points and currency which can be spent on car upgrades. Alongside the main campaign mode, there is multiplayer available for online and local play.
The game includes a basic tutorial to teach players the elementary mechanics of the game. While the said tutorial is nice, it does include text screens that overlay the gameplay which stops the player from being able to play for several seconds while they wait for the text screen to go. The text screens are annoying but they contain the needed information to learn the basics of the game, the placement of them could have been better, however.
Graphically, the game is amazing; the stunning 3D graphics and lighting make it look quite realistic and it can be easy to forget that this is a mobile game at times. The audio is also quite nice and the player has the option to select which type of music they'd like to listen to while they race; while there are only three music genres to select from, it does offer much more choice than most other games in this genre. The only major downside is that the game can lag occasionally mid-game; this can be quite annoying and potentially cause players to lose the match. Advertisements do appear sometimes but they are not very intrusive and appear before a race begins.
For the most part, the gameplay in Asphalt 8 follows the classic racing game style of gameplay; players race around the track with the intention of winning the race; however, they also need to collect points by performing various stunts or actions. Stunts are performed by going over the ramps which are placed all over the track; players race around various types of tracks including open world city tracks which have various routes to the finish line. In addition to Stunts, the player can earn points by taking out other cars. Other racers and non-racer cars can be taken out by hitting them in a specific way or by using a Nitro boost before making contact. Nitro boosts provide short speed boosts and are collected by picking up the containers found on the tracks; the containers add to a Nitro bar which can be used at any time for short bursts. Tracks are covered with these Nitro containers so players don't need to use them strategically. Drifting is also relatively important, it allows the player to keep a constant turning shape as they move around a sharp corner. This is activated by just tapping the break before reaching a corner. The "Classic" race mode has the player race against various other drivers with the intention of winning but there are several variations of this mode also; in Versus, players race in a 1v1 competitive race. The most interesting and unique mode from the available modes if the Infected mode. This mode is an extreme version of "Tag" where one car is infected and will explode at the end of the timer, this car needs to touch another car to avoid exploding and pass the infection to them.
Getting the controls right for a mobile racing game is crucial and most racing games get them horribly wrong; thankfully, this is not the case with Asphalt 8. The default control system is tilting the device to steer with the accelerator permanently on but there is a way to slow down by tapping the breaks button. Adjusting the controls is possible with four different options to select from and also the ability to modify the steering sensitivity. It can take a few races to get the right controls and sensitivity so it's important to keep trying to adjust the settings if the controls feel strange for the first few races.
Replay Value 4/5
Players have eight seasons to complete and each race can be replayed; every season is a mix of the different race types and tracks. While there is a lot of potential content in this game, the gameplay can get quite repetitive. Asphalt 8 features a relatively long campaign mode which is filled with various types of races across a small number of tracks; while the track count is very limited, they can also be played in reverse and the different game modes which can easily keep players entertained for hours. In addition to the main single-player mode, there are also multiplayer options that allow players to race with their friends through local Wi-Fi or race against players all over the world using the online option. These two multiplayer versions are slightly different to each other; when playing through local wi-fi it's possible to select the track, game type and the cars which are allowed in the race. When playing through the online multiplayer, every racer is able to vote for the race type, track and classes of cars. There are over 40 cars available in the game to select from, including powerful cars from luxury manufacturers such as Lamborghini; players can unlock each car in the game using the currency which is earned by completing races and performing Stunts. Cars become much more expensive over time which could potentially push players towards purchasing currency from the cash store. Car customization is a big feature in the game and players can adjust their cars to make them look unique and to upgrade the mechanics. Doing this costs currency and can become quite expensive; considering how many cars there are to unlock, customizing cars seems almost pointless during the early levels of the game.
The game features various in-app purchases to unlock more cars and locations. They include Rookie Credit Pack, Driver Credit Pack, Pilot Credit Pack, Pro Credit Pack, and others.
Asphalt 8 is a solid racing game for mobile devices; it features varied race types and a good number of cars to unlock. The stunts are somewhat unique and make the races much more entertaining without subtracting from the controls or other areas of the game. It does feature some downsides, however. The game falls victim to the classic repetitive racing gameplay; the Stunts certainly help to break this up slightly, it's just not enough to encourage players to stick with the game for long periods of time. Advertisements in the game are no real issue and players should be aware that there is the potential for lag or freezes, even when playing single player.