Review: Asphalt 4: Elite Racing

This well done game for iPod touch or iPhone is worth every penny. (October 10th, 2008)

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Product Manufacturer: Gameloft

Price: $9.99 US App Store

The Good

  • Superb graphics. Plethora of unlockables. Real world cars and bikes. Good accelerometer controls. Plenty of game options so you're not bored.

The Bad

  • Racing can become sluggish. Need specific headphones to use custom music. Some menu screens feel cramped.

If you are a fan of racing games like Need for Speed or Colin McRae Rally Mac, you will feel right at home with Gameloft's Asphalt 4: Elite Racing on the iPhone or iPod touch. Packed with 28 different licensed cars and bikes from companies like Ferrari, BMW, Kawasaki, Ford, and Bugatti, Asphalt 4 offers a vehicle for every personality. With a plot similar to the movie The Fast and Furious, you enter races around the world and hope to become the top street racer. You can win trophies, but money is the real prize, as how much cash you have affects your street reputation. You earn cash by knocking out other drivers, beating cops and causing mayhem and destruction around the cities in which you race.
You can unlock five different race modes:

  • Race - a standard three lap race against seven opponents.
  • Cash Attack - the car who earns the most cash in three laps wins.
  • Cop Chase - work to the front of the pack and takedown the leader within three laps.
  • Beat Em' All - perform six takedowns within three laps.
  • Duel - make a bet and then beat one opponent in a two lap race.

The different modes add depth to the game play and prevent repetition in the game; it's not simply boring laps around tracks. The well-done game music features simple catchy melodic tracks that aren't annoying. You can listen to your own music in Asphalt 4, however headphones with a play and pause button, such as the default pair included with the iPhone, must be used in order to turn on your desired playlist.

Asphalt 4

Asphalt 4: Elite Racing Menu

Features

Racers are given three different steering options, a motion-based tilt method, one that involves tapping on the side of the screen, which corresponds with the desired turning direction, and a third that displays an on-screen steering wheel that can be turned by dragging a finger over it. In all of these schemes, acceleration is a constant and players have no control. I had the best experience using the accelerometer based tilt controls. Unfortunately, this layout has one flaw, if there is no touch input while playing the screen dims and turns off. You can avoid this if you use the boost button instead of tilting for boost, but I think the accelerometer-based controls should be able to work without any additional input commands. An exciting feature is the Wi-Fi multiplayer option, although I did not have a chance to test how well it works. This addicting game has lots hidden items to unlock; not to mention stunning graphics with localized details. For the most part races run smoothly but occasionally when there is a lot of on-screen activity, the game play becomes choppy.

Asphalt 4 screen

Asphalt 4 Sample Track

Minor Bugs

As you progress through Asphalt 4 you can choose new cars and parts for tuning and personalizing your ride, plus move through levels. All of the cars feature three different paint schemes, which generally worked fine but occasionally the color list is inaccurate. For example, the red Corvette ZRI option actually turned yellow. The options screen layout is another issue I have with car modifications. The screen feels very cramped and makes modifications difficult. I tried using both the portrait and landscape layouts, and think they both waste a lot of screen space that can be put to better use.

Asphalt screen

Tuning Your Ride

I have already played through Asphalt 4 twice and can't see why I wouldn't do it again. This entertaining and high-quality game exceeds all the expectations I had for iPod and iPhone games. This recommended game is a steal for $9.99.



Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor
10/10/08 Corrected info. concerning custom music, which you can use.

by Bradley McBurney


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