it seems to be taking many small incrementalchanges, but the asphalt series by gameloft is slowly approaching something akin to thecoin-swallowing racers that still dominate modern arcades. gorgeous in its presentation,utterly unrealistic in its racing, but still challenging thanks to fierce ai opponents,asphalt 7: heat keeps things simple, but nails the mindless fun inherent in the genre. each of the 15 eye-popping stages featurea range of hidden, and not so hidden short-cuts that will eventually become the differencebetween finishing on the podium. the game itself is split in to 13 cups, requiring playersto complete a series of fixed events before competing for the cup itself and unlockinga special car should you take out first place.
the range of vehicles on offer is nothingshort of impressive, with anything from fast-fours to super-cars and everything in between beingavailable, albeit for a price. each handful of cars are split in to one of seven tiers,with players being given one car to start with that can also be upgraded. new cars areunlocked as you earn stars from races or completing mini-missions, but if you’re after an edgeyou can also ‘rent’ a car in the appropriate tier for a reduced price. the career mode initially presents itselfasa very linear experience, starting (predominantly) with lower tiers of cars and slowly workingits way towards the final tier. however, in a surprisingly refreshing change the gamemixes things up by going back to earlier tiers
and introducing harder ai opponents to testyour ability to drift, conserve turbo or ‘adrenaline’ boosts, and manipulate short-cuts to youradvantage. this manages to stave off the usual fatigue from repetition, though lengthy playsessions can still feel same-ish. once you’ve unlocked a few cars it’s worthchecking out the multiplayer as well – hosted mostly through gameloft’s servers, it’s hardnot to find a race or three and despite some latency, the games ran smoothly (though drop-outsfrom other drivers were quite common). the only thing missing from asphalt 7: heatis an evolution to the gameplay itself – the gameplay tweaks and career balancing makefor an intense and entertaining arcade racer, but it’s still the mindless drifting and turbo-punchinggameplay we’ve come to expect, albeit pitch-perfect
in its execution.