Apple App-Aholics Anonymous: [Asphalt 7: Heat]

App Name: Asphalt 7: Heat
Developer: Gameloft
Price: $0.99 (but for how long?)
App-Aholic Rating: 4/5
Watch it Here: Official Game Trailer

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Gameloft’s most recent racing effort, even at a glance, can be viewed as a style-enhanced homage to Asphalt 6. While Gameloft’s graphics engine is ever improving (more realistic sun glare, sharper moving images, and even more pristine blurs during nitrous boosts), there are some added drawbacks to A7. These include a bundle of slightly-annoying extras such as more cluttered screens, “shared” feature has been added in a place that most players have grown accustomed to touching, which is the right bottom corner, and incentives to spend hard-earned in-game cash on unnecessary cheats/handicaps other than cars and/or upgrades has arisen. More on complaints in a moment, though…

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Indeed, with Gameloft’s latest decision to use their own in-house graphical engine on NOVA 3 (instead of Unreal 3, as many expected), they’ve more than proven their desire to deliver the most beautifully-crafted games to consumers with no outside developers’ aid. While the added details in A7 (as mentioned above) don’t seem like too big a deal, Gameloft claims that such innovations in mobile gaming would not have been made possible without the processing speeds and Retina displays of the latest iDevices. In their own words, “The gap between console quality is really starting to narrow,” leaving only room for gaming expansion as we draw closer to the release of the new iPhone 5.

But it would appear I’ve digressed.

The Similarities: While the locations in A7 are different, you should notice a lot of things that haven’t really changed since A6. You can still collect stacks of money and mounds of nitro boost. You can still knock cars out. The general idea of the race tracks (general racing, elimination, drift, etc) are the same.

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The Differences: Did I mention there’s new locations? Also, another piece of ground Gameloft is good about covering is the choice of cars; the models have all been updated to match the current sport vehicles hitting the automotive market. This is a great way to keep a typical racing game from feeling outdated.

Can you handle it? As far as playability is concerned, the car always feels decently fast, even in the beginning levels when your car would typically feel too inferior to function. You have several different vehicle controlling options similar to the past versions of Asphalt. However, there appears to be an unexpected flaw hidden here:

Undercorrection Detection: While this may not apply to even half of mobile gamers (or maybe it does), I always prefer virtual controls over the accelerometer. Strangely, upon my first encounter with A7, I couldn’t help but notice that the virtual steering wheel doesn’t move as smoothly as in past installments of Asphalt, causing the car to occasionally turn only slightly or not even at all. Hoping this was maybe just a flaw in some of the earlier/slower cars, I continued on hoping the quicker cars would correct this issue. So far, no luck.

Another Unexpected Bother: This may be due to the flawed virtual steering wheel, or it could be a new problem. Either way, holding a drift through a turn is no longer a graceful dance back and forth on the wheel; it’s a wrestling match! The car always tries to straighten out too soon. Unlike the above problem, though, the faster cars seem to be able to hold drifts better, but it’s still not as effortless as it once was. Bummer…

It’s not all bad See below for details: 😀

Bottom Line: Asphalt 7 is just a slightly prettier extension of Asphalt 6 with slightly choppier handling. Maybe Gameloft knew this, as they decided to release Asphalt 7 for a buck instead of the $7 they normally would’ve wanted. For racing fans, this is worth a try, but for the rest of the mobile gaming world, Asphalt 7 has gained little mileage over its predecessors. It’s just about another car on a track.

Happy Downloading!

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