asphalt8iconBoy, I feel like my job has been made easy the past couple of weeks when it comes time to pick our TouchArcade Game of the Week. Both Mikey Hooks and Plants vs. Zombies 2 were clear-cut choices, and again this week, despite another pretty good lineup of new releases, choosing Asphalt 8: Airborne [Free] as our Game of the Week seems like a no-brainer.

Gameloft's Asphalt series has been chugging along on mobile gaming devices for nearly a decade, and to be perfectly honest, I've never been a huge fan of them. I love a good arcade racer, and occasionally can dig into a meaty simulation racer, but the Asphalt games have always felt like something in-between that never really did either style that well. So I wasn't that excited when Asphalt 8 dropped on us this week, but as I'm always willing to try out new games, I reluctantly gave it a spin. And boy howdy was I pleasantly surprised.

Asphalt 8 picks "arcade style" as its chosen focus and totally runs with it. It's so ridiculously over-the-top I can't help but grin like an idiot as my car is doing insane flips through the air, smashing other cars off the track with reckless abandon, and generally causing all sorts of vehicular mischief. However, just because Asphalt 8 lives within the realm of "this stuff could never happen in real life," it has surprisingly great racing mechanics, with challenging AI and downright stellar level designs. It's also quite impressive in the visuals department.

You can read our full 5 star review of Asphalt 8 for some more insight, and we talk it up at length on our podcast this week so be sure to give that a listen. The one negative I can come up with for Asphalt 8 is it relies pretty heavily on its IAP system in the later stages of the game, but it's not overly aggressive at any point and you'll never be forced to spend more than the initial price, and we've put together a pretty nice guide to help you navigate your spending should you feel the need. Seriously, Asphalt 8 delivers intensity and fun in spades for its meager asking price, and this is one game that you'll need on your device if you're even marginally interested in racers.

  • abdul.wahab

    Awesome game

  • somedumbgamer

    Is there a pay wall?

    • Deixa

      No! iAP is there if you want it

    • JJE McManus

      There is enough so you could question why you need to spend $1.
      A good game to watch and wait for the inevitable Gameloft pre Christmas sale.

  • Louis Ace

    Personally, I think this game is just a little overrated.

    • Topbeast

      A little?

    • GSport

      Agreed

  • JBRUU

    Well deserved.

    • inFamous2-VIC

      And as for the cluttered main menu?

      • Rip73

        Cluttered, maybe to a certain degree but still easy to navigate really.
        I spend more time playing than looking at the menu though.
        And playing is simply pure fun.
        I'm not sure what else one would want.

        By the way Jared, great article and point of view. Thanks.

  • Morgan01

    Not long before the Freemium price kicks in and the do away with the $0.99 fee.

    • Jake7905

      It'll most likely be like Asphalt 7, so it will go free, it just won't stay free.

  • Jake7905

    Easy pick for this week, nothing else is even close. The best arcade racing series on the App Store in my opinion.

  • Rivalsan

    I too was not a fan of the former Asphalt games. But Asphalt 8 is fantastic!

  • fleshman

    You mean "TouchArcade paid for the week" ? :)

    • Rip73

      Really???
      A longer response is tempting but seriously??
      Give it up. Its such an inaccurate statement that......Ahhhhh I give up.
      Its not like the wilfully ignorant would ever understand a counter point anyway.

  • rewyan

    You cant have freemium in a paid game, because it isnt free. That would be called paidium.

  • GSport

    I hope 2K Drive can pick up the slack. Asphalt 8 is fun but it is not really as good as they would have you believe. I found the graphics and gameplay kind of lacking ...

    • LordOfLetterbox

      I am sorry to report that unless there was some drastic changes in the last month or two, 2K racing is very bad. The driving controls are just bad and there is an energy/gas mechanic like found in a lot of free 2 play games. I would not build up your hopes for 2K Racing. The good news is that you can find out yourself very soon.

      • GSport

        Well that news is disappointing

      • Rip73

        Agreed.
        I'm kinda hopeful that some drastic changes have been made though.
        It is moving to a payed app now rather than freemium so at least the energy system should be gone.
        Hopefully that includes improvements to the other things you mentioned.

  • rednekzomby

    Totally playable without turning on the money hose.

  • ConceptNormal

    Your always stuck with either cars you don't want or cars that are too slow unless you Grind. And the Grind in this game is the ultimate definition... It was easier getting cars and upgrades in RR3 IMO.

  • Adan Santos

    Another review, another glaring omission to the fact that this game does not use retina graphics - basically looks like shit, despite all the screenshots would have you believe otherwise. FAIL!

    • themostunclean

      Huh? iPad 4 DOES use retina. I'm assuming the other omission your insinuating is PVZ2 which required retina assets to be downloaded after install and then an app restart.

      • Adan Santos

        No, PVZ2 does use retina. This one doesn't... on iPad 3, which is totally unfair, as it HAS retina graphics!

  • Mr. Grizzly

    This game works great and looks great on both my iPad 3 and iPhone 4S. Pretty fun, though I can see how it would take a while to be able to buy a bunch of cars and upgrade them.

  • OutSpoken

    I jumped on the Asphalt series properly from Asphalt 6 which i thoroughly enjoyed. However i couldn't quite get into Asphalt 7, not sure why.

    But with Asphalt 8 gameloft have me as a fan again! I didn't really stay glued to the news, rumours and dev diaries, just bought it on release. From the outset, i thought the game sounded ott with the cars flying through the air etc...but honestly im genuinely pleased with the game, its action pack fun and real easy to pick up and play. Multiplayer is awesome and so far the tracks I've seen are really well done.

    I do agree though, the menu screen does seem a bit confusing and cluttered, and playing on my ipad 3 i notice the frame rate stutters sometimes, and yeah the graphics dont seem retina quality... But id hate to see how the game would perform with full retina on iPad 3! This is the first game where i have noticed my ipad3 not being able to fully cope!

    Anyway despite that, the game still gets a big thumbs up from me, especially at the price gameloft are charging, a no brainer. Plus im not feeling any need to iAP.

  • Cpt.Badger

    It lags way to much on my 4S to be enjoyable. No sense of speed, whatsoever.

    • BruteOutlawz

      Something wrong with your 4s then because it runs great on mine. iOS 5.1.1

  • tinkie277

    This and Colin Macrae for me are the best racing titles to date, arcade style pick up and play... My only criticism is the menu system, and the fact you can't move the brakes and nitro on the left and right touch control system, which you could in Asphalt 7.