asIn the debate of the best racers on the iPhone platform, titles such as Real Racing and Need for Speed: Undercover are likely to come up. You may want to add one more to the debate — Gameloft’s newly released Asphalt 5 is simply an adrenaline rush in your pocket. On the fun meter, Asphalt 5 definitely delivers with strong sense of speed. But, while the game delivers a solid overall racing experience with a good amount of content and responsive controls, the graphics and animation do keep it a notch below the others.

On that note, the first thing that hits you is the graphics. Even though they may not be the smoothest (on a 2G iPod) on the platform, they do pop off the screen, which makes a difference when you’re careening through tracks and dealing with oncoming traffic from all sides. Framerate aside, even though you may not be focused on the details, Gameloft obviously has. Whether racing through snow-covered freeways, mud soaked roads, or the darkness of night, the details are everywhere. From the signs on storefronts to damage on vehicles, Gameloft has definitely spent a good deal of development creating an arcade experience with good degree of visuals. The perky soundtrack is a keeper, although you can play your own music if you’re into something a little more gut wrenching.

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The objective of Asphalt 5 is simple: win races and earn money to soup up your ride. Of course, you’ll face a variety of obstacles including oncoming traffic, innocent bystanders, and police in addition to varying weather conditions such as snow and rain. This can all be experienced through 3 different camera angles: close, far and bumper. Bumper provides a driver’s seat view which can be quite intense with every bump and crash.

The game takes you through 12 different locations including Aspen, St. Tropez, Athens and Las Vegas. The well-designed tracks offer different terrains and environmental conditions, and most importantly, shortcuts. These shortcuts, which can be seen on the mini-map, are a good addition allowing players the option of sticking to the standard track or risking it by taking a shorter yet tighter path. In some cases, these shortcuts are the only way to succeed especially in the time-sensitive races.

Asphalt 5 has three game modes: Single Race, Career and Local/Online Multiplayer. For many, Single Race will be the first taste of Asphalt 5 which provides a quick multi-lap race through the track of your choosing. While Single Race provides a good setting to practice driving skills, winning doesn’t unlock new tracks or earn money.

as4Online multiplayer provides a number of options which includes competing against up to six players in a single race. In our brief time with the game, the online experience was smooth with minimal performance issues, and joining or hosting a race is relatively easy.

Meanwhile, Career is the guts of Asphalt 5, and where winning matters. Whether unlocking tracks, picking up women, or earning money, Career is where you do it facing 8 different racing events. And once tracks are unlocked in Career, they become available in Single Race.

With a variety of challenging racing events (time trial, cop chase, escape, drift and more), Asphalt 5 has 33 licensed cars and motorcycles potentially at your disposal. From Lamborghinis and Ferraris to Ducatis and Kawasakis, winning races and earning cash will give you access to many of these vehicles for a price. The default vehicles are the Mini Cooper S and Nissan 370Z, and all vehicles are stored in the Garage section. If you want to cut through all that, playing online through Gameloft Live will provide full access to all the vehicles for competing against others or in individual time trials.

Cash can be used to upgrade vehicles in three areas: engine, handling and boost. And you’ll find there are numerous other ways to customize your vehicle. For example, paint jobs can be altered using the color slider and decals can be applied. Earning cash goes beyond winning races although that’s a big part of it. Cash is also earned by collecting tokens on the roadway, near misses with other vehicles, drifting, jumping, and eliminations.

Asphalt 5 provides a responsive set of controls, and in general, the handling is highly accurate. The game consists of three types of controls: wheel, screen tap, and accelerometer. Choosing the accelerometer controls allows you to turn on/off auto acceleration. Of the three, the accelerometer feels the most natural with screen tapping the most awkward. With auto acceleration turned off, a brake pad appears, although I rarely used my brakes except when wanting score style points for drifting.

Gameplay video from Japanese version recorded by AppBank:

When it comes to gameplay, Asphalt 5 does what it’s supposed to do—provide a good sense of speed. The different race types certainly offer variety, and a replay function is included at the end of each race to review the race, although replays can’t be saved. The AI in Asphalt 5 feels well balanced providing enough aggressive driving to keep it interesting but not overdoing it either to make it impossible. The controls make steering and handling relatively easy, and most won’t have issues picking them up. The game is fairly forgiving when it comes to crashing into objects, however, crashing into oncoming traffic tends to have more severe consequences by stalling your momentum and losing position in the race.

Overall, Asphalt 5 definitely delivers on the fun meter. The controls and content really makes this a racer accessible to everyone. Aside from the middling (though acceptable) framerate on earlier generation devices, Asphalt 5 is solid arcade racer with quality graphics. With a variety of different races, a relatively balanced AI, online multiplayer and a great feeling of speed, Asphalt 5 comes highly recommended.

App Store Link: Asphalt 5, $6.99

TouchArcade Rating

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  • differenz

    Instant buy for me. Looks like Burnout for iPhone so it's a must have. :) Waiting for the game to download, approx. 250MB.... .... .... .... .... ....

  • differenz

    Instant buy for me. Looks like Burnout for iPhone so it's a must have. :) Waiting for the game to download, approx. 250MB.... .... .... .... .... ....

  • http://www.silentrocco.com Silent Rocco

    Perfect review. You nailed it!

  • http://www.silentrocco.com Silent Rocco

    Perfect review. You nailed it!

  • Mr Slinky Spring

    Yep on the money with the review. The framerate isn't super slick on a 3gs either, and what happened to the online voice chat promised at the keynote?
    Other than that it's all good :-)

    • Phildo

      While I was playing online I saw a red image appear on screen that looked like it had to do with voice chat, it looked like the airport status waves coming off of a microphone. Maybe i was just seeing stuff, but I still have m fingers crossed

  • Mr Slinky Spring

    Yep on the money with the review. The framerate isn't super slick on a 3gs either, and what happened to the online voice chat promised at the keynote?
    Other than that it's all good :-)

    • Phildo

      While I was playing online I saw a red image appear on screen that looked like it had to do with voice chat, it looked like the airport status waves coming off of a microphone. Maybe i was just seeing stuff, but I still have m fingers crossed

  • Gui

    Online also over 3G?

    • http://www.iphonelife.com/ Menneisyys

      Not allowed by default. However, on my 3G S, with 3G Unrestrictor, it works just great - at least over 3G (haven't tested over 2.75G) of the European T-Mobile. I've tested it over 3G (HSDPA) quite a lot and found it perfectly playable.

      • Gui

        I don't understand what you say:D'^^

        Does it works via. 3G or not?

      • Marc

        >I don't understand what you say:D'^^
        >
        >Does it works via. 3G or not?

        Only if you jailbreak your iphone and install the 3g unrestricter.

  • Gui

    Online also over 3G?

    • http://www.iphonelife.com/ Menneisyys

      Not allowed by default. However, on my 3G S, with 3G Unrestrictor, it works just great - at least over 3G (haven't tested over 2.75G) of the European T-Mobile. I've tested it over 3G (HSDPA) quite a lot and found it perfectly playable.

      • Gui

        I don't understand what you say:D'^^

        Does it works via. 3G or not?

      • Marc

        >I don't understand what you say:D'^^
        >
        >Does it works via. 3G or not?

        Only if you jailbreak your iphone and install the 3g unrestricter.

  • deadcobain

    Today, i woke up, turn my iTunes on and immediatly bought this great game, Red Alert 3 and Eliminate.

    Happy for the entire week :)

  • deadcobain

    Today, i woke up, turn my iTunes on and immediatly bought this great game, Red Alert 3 and Eliminate.

    Happy for the entire week :)

  • http://www.iphonelife.com/ Menneisyys

    Multiplayer demo in HD (!!!) has been uploaded to youtube.com/watch?v=iEwyNbBCliE (use Ctrl-C / V to copy the URL; sorry, direct, clickable YouTube links end up in the very time-consuming moderation queue)

    Note that, as always,
    - the two iPhones are operated by a single person; therefore, the video can't give you back the REAL feeling of TRUE multiplayer
    - nevertheless, you will still see the lag, what the frame on the 3G (the iPhone on the right) and the 3G S is, what multiplayer facilities (I've demoed both local Wi-Fi and online) there are etc.
    - you won't find a (technically) better-quality (multiplayer) demo video anywhere.

  • http://www.iphonelife.com/ Menneisyys

    Multiplayer demo in HD (!!!) has been uploaded to youtube.com/watch?v=iEwyNbBCliE (use Ctrl-C / V to copy the URL; sorry, direct, clickable YouTube links end up in the very time-consuming moderation queue)

    Note that, as always,
    - the two iPhones are operated by a single person; therefore, the video can't give you back the REAL feeling of TRUE multiplayer
    - nevertheless, you will still see the lag, what the frame on the 3G (the iPhone on the right) and the 3G S is, what multiplayer facilities (I've demoed both local Wi-Fi and online) there are etc.
    - you won't find a (technically) better-quality (multiplayer) demo video anywhere.

  • http://musicgamespickles.blogspot.com/ Robert M.

    Some how this just became my favorite racing game on the appstore. It's not perfect but I love the arcade feel so much I can over look the minor problems. It's worth every penny!!!

  • http://musicgamespickles.blogspot.com/ Robert M.

    Some how this just became my favorite racing game on the appstore. It's not perfect but I love the arcade feel so much I can over look the minor problems. It's worth every penny!!!

  • dumas1000

    game works very well over 3g network. Great proof of concept for either NOVA or MC. Racing games online tend not to me fun to me. Often times, they just aren't competitive. I've played two races, finished 2nd twice, and finished behind the leader by over 20 seconds both times. And I don't suck either, because I probably dusted the guys behind me by like 20 seconds. Whoever is winning these races, they cannot be caught. And most times this what racing games online are like. Either rubberband these damn games online, or don't even bother.

    • http://musicgamespickles.blogspot.com/ Robert M.

      Haha I was playing someone and got beat by 20 seconds too!! It's like he/she was unbeatable. Maybe it was a developer or something.

      • http://www.iphonelife.com/ Menneisyys

        Me too - someone named "deathbringer" or the like. Has beaten me some 30 seconds but, then, he (she) left the game in the second or third lap.

  • dumas1000

    game works very well over 3g network. Great proof of concept for either NOVA or MC. Racing games online tend not to me fun to me. Often times, they just aren't competitive. I've played two races, finished 2nd twice, and finished behind the leader by over 20 seconds both times. And I don't suck either, because I probably dusted the guys behind me by like 20 seconds. Whoever is winning these races, they cannot be caught. And most times this what racing games online are like. Either rubberband these damn games online, or don't even bother.

    • http://musicgamespickles.blogspot.com/ Robert M.

      Haha I was playing someone and got beat by 20 seconds too!! It's like he/she was unbeatable. Maybe it was a developer or something.

      • http://www.iphonelife.com/ Menneisyys

        Me too - someone named "deathbringer" or the like. Has beaten me some 30 seconds but, then, he (she) left the game in the second or third lap.

  • http://www.iphonelife.com/ Menneisyys

    "I don't understand what you say:D'^^

    Does it works via. 3G or not?"

    By default, the game requires W-Fi to operate. Therefore, you must jailbreak your phone, install 3G Unrestrictor (or something similar) and allow the game to use 3G in it.

    I've posted a full tutorial on this at http://forums.toucharcade.com/showthread.php?t=20657 - please read it.

  • http://www.iphonelife.com/ Menneisyys

    "I don't understand what you say:D'^^

    Does it works via. 3G or not?"

    By default, the game requires W-Fi to operate. Therefore, you must jailbreak your phone, install 3G Unrestrictor (or something similar) and allow the game to use 3G in it.

    I've posted a full tutorial on this at http://forums.toucharcade.com/showthread.php?t=20657 - please read it.

  • MrMuesli

    I'm really enjoying this. I'm quite curious though why everyone isn't choosing the Ferrari (being the fastest) for the online matches?? You really fly in that thing: )

  • MrMuesli

    I'm really enjoying this. I'm quite curious though why everyone isn't choosing the Ferrari (being the fastest) for the online matches?? You really fly in that thing: )

  • http://twitter.com/Jensen_G Jensen

    Is this like burnout where crashing cars and getting points is a main feature of the game, or are the police and others ancillary? I have been waiting for a good "destruction derby" racing game - is this it?

  • http://twitter.com/Jensen_G Jensen

    Is this like burnout where crashing cars and getting points is a main feature of the game, or are the police and others ancillary? I have been waiting for a good "destruction derby" racing game - is this it?

  • belsunce

    I just wanna say I HATED Asphalt 4. it was my first iTouch game (paid 9.99 for it) and I didn't buy any apps for MONTHS after that. who knew there could be awesome racing games on that platform!..

    anyway, I don't wanna come across as a hater, but I'm not getting A5 because A4 really left a sour taste in my mouth.

    • Farnsworthiness

      I have to say the same thing. The last iteration of Asphalt was a complete disaster in my opinion. It looked pretty, but when it came to controls, it was incredibly difficult to handle. Does this latest installment correct those issues?

  • belsunce

    I just wanna say I HATED Asphalt 4. it was my first iTouch game (paid 9.99 for it) and I didn't buy any apps for MONTHS after that. who knew there could be awesome racing games on that platform!..

    anyway, I don't wanna come across as a hater, but I'm not getting A5 because A4 really left a sour taste in my mouth.

    • Farnsworthiness

      I have to say the same thing. The last iteration of Asphalt was a complete disaster in my opinion. It looked pretty, but when it came to controls, it was incredibly difficult to handle. Does this latest installment correct those issues?

  • http://www.iphonelife.com/ Menneisyys

    Posted an update to the Multiplayer Gaming bible at http://forums.toucharcade.com/showpost.php?p=613393&postcount=84 , also linking to this article.

  • http://www.iphonelife.com/ Menneisyys

    Posted an update to the Multiplayer Gaming bible at http://forums.toucharcade.com/showpost.php?p=613393&postcount=84 , also linking to this article.

  • deadcobain

    Asphalt 5 is way better than asphalt 4... In 4 when you start racing with your car it may fell like the car is stuck and don't wanna start... this Asphalt 5 is way better and the control with acelerometer is great, felling like playing NSF undercover. It's amazing, of course it doesn't have the real racing graphics. but, give it a try.

  • deadcobain

    Asphalt 5 is way better than asphalt 4... In 4 when you start racing with your car it may fell like the car is stuck and don't wanna start... this Asphalt 5 is way better and the control with acelerometer is great, felling like playing NSF undercover. It's amazing, of course it doesn't have the real racing graphics. but, give it a try.

  • http://www.taptoplay.de Lakeshore | taptoplay.de

    Finally, for the first time in a Gameloft game, you can set the sensitivity of the accelerometer to not only 100%, but 150%!! This means, that now - for the FIRST time - the accelerometer can set to the same sensitivity we know from games like Snail Mail, Fastlane or Real Racing.

    It only took them four racing games to give us the option to set a configurable value to a higher number!

  • http://www.taptoplay.de Lakeshore | taptoplay.de

    Finally, for the first time in a Gameloft game, you can set the sensitivity of the accelerometer to not only 100%, but 150%!! This means, that now - for the FIRST time - the accelerometer can set to the same sensitivity we know from games like Snail Mail, Fastlane or Real Racing.

    It only took them four racing games to give us the option to set a configurable value to a higher number!

  • Niggggggg

    Are you kidding me?!!!!!!!?????! The graphics may have a different style to them but the look very console like, this fifth installment is crazy revamped and it's a notch above all the racing games on the iPhone at the moment.

  • Niggggggg

    Are you kidding me?!!!!!!!?????! The graphics may have a different style to them but the look very console like, this fifth installment is crazy revamped and it's a notch above all the racing games on the iPhone at the moment.

  • gamer

    Game has a lot packed in it, it's the new racing king.

  • gamer

    Game has a lot packed in it, it's the new racing king.

  • Alex

    Meh.... I'll pass. Yet another racing game... yawnn! I'll save my money for apps that are new/different or bring back old-school gaming like Doom Classic.

  • Alex

    Meh.... I'll pass. Yet another racing game... yawnn! I'll save my money for apps that are new/different or bring back old-school gaming like Doom Classic.

  • ramon

    I'll wait for a price drop.

  • ramon

    I'll wait for a price drop.

  • alec

    ps. the cop chase levels are impossible to beat
    pps. enjoy

  • alec

    ps. the cop chase levels are impossible to beat
    pps. enjoy

  • Guy

    The Ferrari is not the fastest an upgraded lamborghini is better if you own a Ferrari then you can max it out to be the best

  • Guy

    The Ferrari is not the fastest an upgraded lamborghini is better if you own a Ferrari then you can max it out to be the best

  • jack

    goood game, i love, it asphalt 5 and 4

  • jack

    goood game, i love, it asphalt 5 and 4