While it would be unfair to completely edge Asphalt Overdrive out of the racing genre just because of its control scheme, the fact remains that this game is actually an endless runner using car skins. You switch between three lanes while automatically moving forward and perform various moves in order to avoid obstacles –along the way you pick up stuff that lets you earn more points. Lastly, at the end of each run, you use any points accumulated in order to upgrade your stats. These are all the basic tenets of an endless runner game –and that is in no way a bad thing for Asphalt Overdrive with its wonderfully designed graphics and interesting gameplay. It does, however, have a huge degree of IAP based content that can get a little too annoying to deal with.
What is Asphalt Overdrive?
Asphalt Overdrive is a free to play mobile app game. At first glance, it looks like Gameloft created a beautifully rendered racing game set in the 1980's. While it is true that the environment and the cars are well detailed (and the animation is pretty fluid), this is not actually a real "racing" game. Overdrive is actually an endless runner. You can only switch between three lanes, there are no controls for acceleration or braking (you only have a trigger for nitro). No tight turns, no drifting, no slipstreaming, or any other similar driving mechanics are present.
So yes, if you were hoping for an eighties-style racing game full of muscle cars that you could go bumper to bumper on other racers with, this game will not let you do that. But what it does is let you enjoy a pretty selection of era-specific vehicles (and a few notable entries like the DeLorean) and taken them out for an automated drive through randomized tracks.
Steering Gets Edgy
The three lanes system in the game is filled with ramps, power ups, immovable obstacles that you can crash into, and plenty of other randomized traffic. By making plenty of near-misses, good jumps, and other stunts (like switching lanes mid-air), you can build up a nitro bar for boosting your speed. This is particularly useful when you get closed in on by the police. The game is very score and point based (which determines how much credits you earn per run –so doing stunts actually pays off), and it works well with the overall feel and pacing of your progress. Players can upgrade their car performance or invest in a completely new vehicle instead.
Speaking of buying new cars, the lineup here is a good way to stir up a motor-junkie's appetite. Great yet rarely seen in games cars like the DeLorean DMC-12 (yes, the one from Back to the Future), Ford Mustang's GT Fastback, and the Hummer H4 take their places in the spotlight along with more predictable offerings like Ferrari's Testarossa and the Lamborghini Countach. Aside from each car having unique stats and overall performance, they also have bonus passive abilities. Some cars will allow you to earn more cash, some have better score multipliers, others will cost you less fuel –it all varies and sometimes, you might want to take a less specced vehicle for the benefit of its abilities.
Constant IAP Nagging
One of Gameloft's biggest problems in game development is that they simply cannot stop themselves from putting too much on an emphasis on IAP. There is already a fuel wait timer that keeps you from being able to grind progress (which is already a slow thing to begin with). While we are not entirely averse to the presence of IAP content (developers do need to earn), there is a way to put the attention of players to it without having to make it a burden to the gameplay.
Sunny Driving Days
While there are no real courses or racing tournaments in the game, you still get to control one of many powerful and awesome vehicles and take them to the streets for some pretty wild rides (and police chases). CSR Racing also removes the steering, but car fans love it too. Asphalt Overdrive deserves just as much attention. In addition to being a good endless runner, the beautiful visuals, clever mechanics, and the decently made ladder system (made of 5 tiers) makes it a very satisfying game to play –if it only were not for the IAP system being a little too overbearing.