asphalt8iconAs you may have figured out from our review, we're really digging Gameloft's Asphalt 8: Airborne [Free] and whole heartedly recommend it for anyone looking for an awesome arcade racing experience.

With that said, one look at the game's extensive IAP list and some folks may be hesitant to take the plunge. Thus, the purpose of this guide is to provide some explanation as to what types of IAP are offered in Asphalt 8, whether they're required to adequately enjoy the game, as well as tips to help folks avoid having to shell out any cash, or, if you must spend something, the most efficient ways to pick up the IAP.

Is IAP Necessary to Beat the Game?

In a word, no. There are no true pay walls, timers or anything of that sort that would raise a red flag regarding whether IAP is essential.

Asphalt 8's IAP structure is based on either purchasing 'car packs,' which instantly unlock groups of cars that you would otherwise have to use in-game currency to pay for, or purchasing currency outright, allowing you the freedom to buy the cars and upgrades you want without necessarily needing to play and grind on maps.

The game also doesn't feature a dual currency system, meaning the only currency you can buy is the type that is doled out after completing courses and earning stars. It's relatively straightforward and fair, for the most part.


Who Needs IAP Anyway?

While IAP is certainly optional to complete the game, there are a variety of different types of players that will probably benefit from it more than others. We've generally classified these types of players into three groups:

  • Experienced Players - If you're generally good at racers and just looking to enjoy what Asphalt 8 has to offer, there will probably be no need to even bother with IAP. As we mentioned in our review, the difficulty curve is pretty fair for the majority of the game, while later 'seasons' of races may require some grinding of old maps to earn the amount of currency necessary to purchase and upgrade faster vehicles. However, if you're good at racing games, this grind will be relatively minimal as the game does a good job of rewarding players who hit map objectives while still earning first place. In fact, unless you're looking for a specific favorite vehicle that you want right away, you should be fine.
  • Car Collectors (regardless of skill) - If you fall into this category, the quest for car collection is going to make that IAP look mighty tempting. Asphalt 8's career mode guides players on the assumption that you'll buy two or three cars for each racing class, upgrade the heck out of them, and then move on to the next class and start the cycle again. Folks looking to purchase every car in the game will see their progression somewhat stunted as you dedicate money towards purchasing cars in the same class rather than using that money for upgrades or moving on to the next class of vehicles. In addition, while grinding previously played missions offers a fair amount of money, it's no where near enough to encourage car collection at a reasonable pace. Thus, unless you have the patience of a saint, you'll probably find yourself shelling out for car packs or currency packs.
  • Beginners - Unfortunately, if you fall into this class, IAP is going to look mighty tempting right from the get go. While Asphalt 8 is accessible from a controls standpoint, players that can't get into at least the top 3 in a race aren't going to see much from a money standpoint. This means you're going to have to grind a lot just to get enough money to upgrade your car to a point where it's statistically above the competition, which will let you (hopefully) win races more easily, earn stars, and move on to the next round. Picking up a car pack or two (with some high end class cars) or some currency at the onset would allow you to get to that point faster, letting you enjoy the game more regardless of skill set.

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Tips for Novices

If you fall in the last group I just mentioned, things may be bleak, but there's always room for improvement, especially when it comes to driving games. Before you run off and start buying the best cars and tons of cash to pimp your vehicles out, make sure you pay heed to these tips to help improve your skill set.

  • Find Your Control Scheme - Asphalt 8 defaults to a tilt-to-steer control scheme, which I love. However, if you're not a big fan of accelerometer based driving, there are plenty of other options, including some without auto-acceleration and virtual buttons to control steering. I highly recommend checking them all out to make sure that you have the best one for you. A comfortable control scheme is the foundation for succeeding in a racing game.
  • Nitro is Everything - While racing in Asphalt 8, the one thing that should always be in the back of your mind is nitro. You should be thinking about ways to earn it, strategic parts of the track to use it, and you should master the timing behind getting a 'perfect' nitro boost. It not only allows you to speed past the opposition, but it gives you an easy way to take out opposing racers. So, while racing, if you can put yourself in a position to earn some extra nitro, go for it. Speaking of that...
  • Master the Drift - One of the best ways to earn a steady supply of nitro is to drift during curves. Drifting is as easy as tapping the break button, which starts the drift (a quick tap will end drift mode). While drifting, you can not only preserve speed during a curve, but you also earn nitro, which, as we mention above, is quite important.
  • Don't Wreck! - Unfortunately, just as you can put your opponents out of commission, the same can be true for your car. Careen headfirst into a wall or crash into an oncoming big rig and you'll wreck, taking you out of the race for precious seconds. If you haven't built up a big lead, this also means that you'll probably fall far behind. Thus, try to do everything in your power not to wreck. Memorize complicated turns, pay attention to oncoming traffic (they usually blink their lights as they come towards you) and try not to hit a ramp if you don't know where you'll land.
  • Explore, Explore, Explore! - This is probably one of the most important tips for playing Asphalt 8. Each map has LOADS of alternate routes, shortcuts and hidden passages. Some of them are shorter, longer, and the navigation difficulty varies. In order to ensure victory, you must master these routes and find the one that best fits your driving style while still ensuring you get an edge on the competition. The best way to do that is to simply play each one again and again while taking mental notes of where paths split and where the computer likes to go.


Grinding for Currency

While the most obvious (and easiest) way for getting currency in Asphalt 8 is by purchasing it, there are a few tips you can use to try and earn money faster. Here are a few we compiled:

  • Earn Every Star On Each Map - Stars are primarily used as a basis for unlocking new races and seasons, but they are also important from a currency standpoint. Each new star unlocked grants a one-time money bonus at the end of that race. The bonus is also substantial, so players hard up for cash really should take the effort necessary to fully complete each race.
  • Get Those In-game Bonuses - Asphalt 8 provides small monetary bonuses for taking out vehicles, hitting items such as road blocks and cones, narrowly avoiding NPC vehicles, and so on. While each is small individually, they do add up, and become very important towards earning cash when you've already exhausted your star bonuses. Thus, I'd recommend trying to do as many of these in-game objectives as you can, with the understanding that you don't jeopardize your high placement finish (see the next tip).
  • Placement Is Key - Once you've earned all the stars on a map, currency is only awarded for place finishes and in-game actions. Thus, it's in your best interest to consistently get first place on a map to maximize the amount of currency you earn in a race. This will be your bread and butter down the line when you find yourself needing to grind on occasion.

Tips on IAP Purchases

While the majority of the tips in this guide are for playing the game without IAP, there will probably be folks that want to invest further in the game. There's nothing wrong with that, and the following tips will help you get the most out of your money:

  • Buy Car Packs Early - If you have any thoughts of picking up a car pack while playing Asphalt 8, buy it at the onset. A lot of the car packs include vehicles from every class. If you play a bit, pick up some vehicles and then decide to buy a car pack, there's a good chance you might have to buy a pack with a vehicle that you've already unlocked with in-game currency. Therefore, I'd recommend either buying the car pack early on in the game, or make sure you've adequately planned out your upgrade path so you don't end up 'double-dipping' on some vehicles.
  • If Possible Save The Currency For Upgrades - If you're amenable to both car packs and currency purchases, I'd recommend using the saving your currency for upgrades, as you can't purchase those outright (as you can with car packs, for example). Also, remember that upgrade costs increase proportionally at later levels, so it's a good idea to take this into consideration if you're thinking about buying a currency pack.


Asphalt 8 is a pretty fun game, and there really isn't much that's mandated for IAP. In fact, I'd say that the patience (and high skilled) gamer should have a blast with a normal playthrough. With that said, take the above tips into consideration and you should have a good time enjoying the game without needing to shell out for IAP.

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  • Topbeast

    I don't want to spend more real money, that's why I pay for this -.-
    I'm getting tired of this pre/freemium style.

  • toxiccheese

    Well I already paid .99¢... And now they want me to spend on IAP? Why not charge me a premium price for a full game? Now we immediately get an article that shows us how to spend as little real dollars as possible? What the hell is going on TA? Where did this info originate? Perhaps from Gameloft? Or did TA actually play this enough to figure all this out?

    • Topbeast

      And then they say this is a 5 STARS game >_____> WTF. :s

    • Eli Hodapp

      We've had the game for over a week now.

      • loophole

        The review was spot on and well written. You guys have a talented staff!

      • JJE McManus

        So what I got out of this was,
        "buy a car pack early to avoid excessive grind then grind for upgrades only".
        So my question is what do the car packs cost? Let me get all my purchases out of the way up front and ill make believe it isn't IAP.

      • toxiccheese

        I know a 5 star review is just the TA opinion, but it seems too high for a game like this. I'm playing it now, and I can already tell you that it is far from a five star game for me.

      • Taclys

        "For me" being key word here. Everything is subjective. I for one love this game, I think it deserves 5 stars.

  • Rhys Egner

    The fact that we need these guides is rather depressing. I wish we didn't need to read up on how to spend less money.

    • Pray For Death

      We don't 'need' these guides. I'm sure you can enjoy the game just fine without reading this article, especially since there are no energy bars/timers in this title.

  • William Hartman

    After the colossal cluster pluck that is Lets Golf 3, and how Gameloft still seems content to operate, I dont care if it's free, .99, or the greatest game ever. No Gameloft game will ever touch my device again until they quit being obvious greedy pricks,

  • Jake7905

    For a buck you're getting the best arcade racer on IOS. It looks great, runs smooth, and has absolutely no timers for repairs, unlike another game we know. But the low cost does mean there is IAP, though thankfully everything can be earned in-game.

    So unless you have an issue with patience and play, the IAP in Asphalt 8 shouldn't be a problem to you.

  • John

    The BEST way to avoid IAP schemes is to avoid playing or buying this game. And why exactly has TA become chief apologist for developers? The model TA should be supporting with all of this obvious effort is a premium pricing model for premium games. Wouldn't it simply be delightful to report to us that a game is actually just awesome without all the scheming shenanigans, and it's well worth paying for? So PVZ "could be played" without IAP, but you still miss out on some of the aspects of the game if you figure out how to beat it anyway. This is how we now enjoy our gaming time, trying to figure out how to un-scam every would-be decent game on IOS?

    • Protoman

      Careful...this is the sort of subversive talk that gets your posts erased. Spoooooookyyyyyyy

  • FookedonHonix

    I fell asleep early last night because I was so tired. Anyways, I tried to stay awake just to get this game as soon as it came out, but as I said I fell asleep anyways. Well, I woke up early, between 4:30am and 5. I downloaded the game and started playing. By 6:00am I had already unlocked Season 2 (inludes new mapstracks) and had purchased 3 cars, one being the Scion. At this rate, I see no need to purchase IAPs. I was able to get first place and complete the challenges fairly easy. Love what they did with this game. It is a lot of fun. It is definetly different than A7. I think I will keep them both on my ipad. BTW, I am using an Ipad2 and it handled the game well.

  • Deixa

    In other words, the iAP is there if you want it.

  • Electrify85

    Playing online is also a great way to earn credits. While at first you may not get that much, as you increase in level your winnings become more substantial.

  • Frungi

    To drift, you tap the brake button. If your iPhone has a break button, you’re in trouble.

    • Frungi

      Does anyone ever go back and correct typos in articles?

  • solun1

    Thanks for the article, it helped.

  • Jerzeyboy730

    This game is great! I really don't think the people who complain about IAP's have figured out the strategy in this game. I've earned over 400k credits with a maxed out D-class car and am now ranked over 1200. It's not that hard to figure out. I have no complaints, and think I've spent $1 to get double-credits. If you can't figure out how to utilize your credits, which in turn will win you races, which then gives you boosts, good luck. It's a great game, and think it's set up perfectly. With a little time and strategy, you can master multiplayer, and have a solid garage.

  • Steve Gordon

    "Nitro is everything"

    Really, I feel nitro is nothing. Despite blurring the screen, the speed increase is minimal and all the other cars speed up to compensate. I can play most levels and not hit a nitro once until the home straight, then blast past cars more easily than if I'd been furiously nitro-ing the whole way (and all the extra risk that entails). Seems a poor design to me...

    • Ryan

      when you see the red section in the nitro, click on that and your car will go faster.

      • Steve Gordon

        What I'm referring to the "catch up" mechanic of the AI cars. You can nitro all you want, but if you get too far ahead, they will catch up to you, no matter what their supposed top speed is. Likewise, you can screw up royally, catch up will allow you to creep back into the running, then blast a full nitro at the end to pass them all. So using nitro anytime other than the last 20 seconds of a race has no purpose other than "pretty graphics"

      • Frungi

        I think the technical term is “rubber-banding.” And yeah, it sucks.

  • BCR

    I was a relative late-comer to this game, and in my opinion the TA article is quite even-handed and realistic. I have 30+ in-game cars, I'm part way through the last season (8), and I've yet to pay a single cent for playing the game since I picked it up during a free promo and have chosen to avoid IAP altogether.

    I agree with TAs 5-star rating, but that's not to say there aren't some things I don't like. I've had cars "wreck" mid-air, or on landing a jump, or when landing upside-down after a double or triple barrel roll. Maybe the wrecks were caused by knock downs it didn't see (?). I'm also suspicious that traffic appears sometimes in unpredictable places; I had a bus swerve in front of me once. But that's just the game; you can't win every time.

    • Steve Gordon

      You must have an inhuman patience for grinding cash. I usually do to.

      I play this game once a day - one race to get my 100% daily bonus, and one race to enter a daily event (assuming I can) to skim my pathetic 2000 credits reward. Other than that, its not worth my time grinding away for a measly 600 credits or less per race, assuming I win (yeah, I'm still in Season 3). At that rate I need to win, like, 100 races just to afford my next car!!! The reward scheme of this game is totally f**k'd, making no pretense about forcing players to the IAPs if they ever hope to enjoy the game.

      The IAPs are also RIDICULOUSLY expensive. I'd be happy to pay USD10-15 for a complete game with a fair reward system (i.e. like all previous games in the Asphalt franchise), but these guys want, like, USD60... just for 1 car pack!!!

      Like I said, I've always been happy to grind when the rewards are fair. I can happily play Dead Trigger 2 for hours, and have even paid for the occasional IAP. But Asphalt's scheme has backfired in my case. Progress without IAPs is pretty much non-existent, and IAPs are laughably expensive (totaling to a vast order of magnitude over what even a full-priced game should cost). I've lost interest in a game I should have been happy to grind away at. I might have even paid for a few IAPs if it had kept me interested.

      • Frungi

        It sounds like you simply didn’t like playing it, if the credit rewards were your only reason for racing. Might be just me, but if the gameplay itself “isn’t worth my time,” I delete it.

      • Steve Gordon

        Lol, the credit rewards aren't my only reason for playing, but I need them to open new cars and tracks - which surely is EVERYONE'S reason for playing. I liked playing, but I got tired of repeating the same tracks and cars, trying in vain of earning enough to progress at a rate I felt would have made the game a worthwhile long-term play. To be honest, I haven't played it since my previous post. This was never an issue will all previous Asphalts, which I thoroughly enjoyed and 100% completed. A subtle tweak of the reward dynamics of Airborne would really make all the difference.

        Haven't deleted it yet, but only because I haven't don't need the space - seems Android doesn't have so many good quality games as iOS.

  • Kevin McCarty

    I searched for a working hack for Asphalt 8: Airborne and I have found one! It gave me unlimited cash, stars and XP. It really helped me a lot and also worked in multiplayer mode. Awesome 🙂

    g4mehacks. com/asphalt-8-airborne-hack-v3-0/

    • Frungi

      Seems their download sites require completion of Tapjoy-style offers before you can download. Smells scammy.

  • Eduardo Catublas

    a free game for rich people! disable the use of extra nitro tank to be fair to all!

  • Frungi

    A fairer challenge, I think, would be: Name something that detracts from making this a five-star game that relies on IAP. (Ideally, it’d be a game you buy up front and that’s it, but that’s not the game we’re talking about here.)

  • Bergtrolletshevn54

    It was good until Gameloft introduced the car packs that you can get only through IAP.

    Ok, the problem is... I don't have problems to spend 4-5 euros (I live in Italy) further, but damn, how they could think to make a pack with 2 cars at 89,99 € you need to finish the game??!?

    Gameloft gone insane.

    At least, there are no timers in single player or multiplayer, and the fun is always there.

  • Elam

    Is there any possibility to get free car packs......?