Let me just tell you straight away that when it comes to video games, I absolutely love racing games above nearly any other. War games may be the one exception, but racing games are at least at the very top of my list, and it’s mostly because I’d love to drive like that in real life, but if I get a couple more speeding tickets, I’m likely to lose my license.
So, I must live vicariously through video games.
There are two racing game series that are my favorites at the moment. Need for Speed and Asphalt. Both offer heart-pounding race sequences in the middle of some of the coolest graphics, soundtracks, and scenery.
For a while, I moved away from playing any sort of games, including the racing games, but recently I’ve migrated back to them. This is mostly because games like Asphalt – and in particular the latest release for Android, Asphalt 7 Heat (Price: $0.99), gives you a chance to just sit or lay back and experience racing in a whole new way. You hold your phone or tablet in front of you like a steering wheel, and then go head to head with either the droid racers, or against other racers on the Asphalt online network.
It’s a real blast, and it’s an awesome way to just chill out for a while and put all of your cares and worries away. At least for a little while, it’s just you, the car, and the asphalt.
Hitting it Hard With Asphalt 7 Heat
For a racing game that nearly competes at a level with Need for Speed, the price to download the full version to your Android device is ridiculously cheap, especially considering the quality of the game, and the hours of game play available.
The opening screen gives you a little clue of the sort of car you can hope to race in the game…at least eventually. For now, you’re just left to drool over it every time you launch the game.
You can choose from three gameplay modes – career mode where you work your way through each level by winning or placing well in competitions, quick play where you just go head to head immediately, or multiplayer where you challenge other racers online. I highly recommend against multiplayer mode until you get some good experience under your belt. Those guys are really, really good.
So – this is the car you start with. Yes, it looks like a little hatchback wimpy thing, but it’s an Abarth. It’s really not a bad starter car, and when you start racing it after installing a few upgrades for speed and handling, you’ll take a liking to it pretty quick.
I repeat, once you get used to it. When I first started playing the game on my tablet, I really had no idea how to steer. I was used to racing games where you held the tablet flat and tilted it left and right to steer. The only thing I managed to do for five full minutes is scrape all the paint off the sides of my car.
Eventually, after some experimenting, I realized you just hold the tablet upright like the steering wheel. Once you get the hang of it, it’s a really cool way to play a racing game.
Each time you place in a competition, you earn both cash and reputation. The cash will get you more upgrades which will help you tremendously in future competitions, and of course eventually as you level up, you’ll unlock bigger and hotter cars.
There are also different race types. Sometimes it’ll be elimination where after a certain time, the last-place car gets taken out of the race. Other times it’ll be a knockout competition, where you have to literally slam your opponents right off the road for points. And then of course there are the straight speed races – my favorite.
As you race, you also have goals along the way in the game. You’ll need to accomplish those goals to keep leveling up and getting rewards. These goals might just be earning stars in races, or it could be collecting pick-ups (floating bonus icons) around the race track as you compete.
Before each race, you get a quick preview of what the streets look like where you’re racing. This is really cool to watch and it just goes to show how far gaming graphics have come – especially considering that this level of graphics can run seamlessly on a tablet or a smartphone. Very cool.
After a few competitions, I managed to keep my car on the road. After a few more, I finally started winning the races and leveling up.
Each race gets even more cool and exciting as the competitions take you to some of the most amazing locations around the world.
In multiplayer mode, you can either create a LAN party right at your house where you can race head-to-head with other people that have the game installed on their devices, or you can find a game online and play with other racers around the world.
The first time I tried it, there were plenty of games and racers ready to go at it. You’ll see your user name show up on the racer board, and racers will appear and join within a minute or so. You just click the “Ready” button when you’re good to go. Once everyone is ready, the race starts.
The real secret here is leveling up and earning stars so that you can choose from the better cars. I wouldn’t really spend much time in multiplayer game play until I’ve really gotten some experience and of course unlocked some of the better cars. It’s no fun being left in the dust because your top speed is nowhere near what the other racers are capable of.
Of course, there’s always nitro. And by the way, this game is huge on using nitro. Around the track you’ll see icons to capture more nitro – and if you do, you could potentially beat out even the racers that have faster cars than you. It’s a bit insane racing constantly at nitro-speed, and trying to keep hitting those nitro icons so that you don’t run out – but you gotta do what you gotta do to win.
I can say that I’m definitely hooked on Asphalt 7, and plan to play it from now on whenever I need a break from work, at least for the foreseeable future – or until an even cooler racing game comes along.
Have you ever played Asphalt 7 on Android? What’s your take on it? Are there other racing games for Android that you like better? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Image Credit: Night Drive via Shutterstock
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