Mini-review: Asphalt Xtreme

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We haven't had a really massive game for Windows Phone for a while, but Gameloft's brand new Asphalt Xtreme certainly qualifies. Massive download, massive production values, and - yes - massive freemium in-app purchases. In this case, think Real Racing 3 meets Mario Kart 7 in truly exotic landscapes and you won't be far off. Here's my take on it....

From the Store description:

Break through to uncharted territory with Asphalt Xtreme! Rip around dunes, charge through canyons, drift across the mud and fly past your opponents to reach the finish line!

• 35 MONSTER MACHINES: Release your inner beast in a Monster Truck. Feed your passion for speed with a Muscle Car. Or just go wild on the track as you drive a Buggy, Pickup, Rally Car, SUV or Truck!

• UNLEASH YOUR STYLE: All 7 off-road vehicle types deliver unique flavors of gameplay, allowing you to constantly discover fresh and challenging experiences.

• THE BIGGEST BRANDS: We’ve unleashed Jeep, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Predator, Dodge, Chevrolet and loads more of off-road racing’s best licensed motor machines.

• REAL-TIME MULTIPLAYER: Go head-to-head online in 8-player simultaneous free-for-alls! You’ll be facing some tight competition, so stay on top of your game!

• THE WORLD IS YOUR RACETRACK: Race in a variety of exotic locations from all over the globe, including the glaciers of Svalbard, the dunes of the Nile Valley, the lush jungles of Phuket in Thailand, the industrial might of Detroit’s steel mills & more.

• CUSTOMIZE YOUR RIDE: Want to pump up your car’s power? Feel like decking out its style? There’s an impressive collection of custom setups and upgrades for all of that.

• GET THE FULL OFF-ROAD EXPERIENCE: With 5 game modes, 400+ Career events, 500+ Mastery challenges, Limited-Time Events and more on the way, prepare for a truckload of new content!

• AN UNRIVALED EXPERIENCE: You won’t experience graphics more intense, or faster mind-blowing nitro action, in any other racer. So gas up and take off!

I'm a sucker for car racing games, so I endured the 1GB download(!) and then got stuck into Asphalt Xtreme:

Screenshot, Asphalt Xtreme

A 30s+ wait time while the game loads, but then there's a huge amount of resources here, at high resolution, so it's worth the wait...

Screenshot, Asphalt Xtreme

You can see what I mean about Mario Kart 7 - we've got gently twisting tracks, obstacles, arcade physics, nitro and power-ups, sound effects, and a slight cartoony look - yet with more realistic vehicles to drive.

Screenshot, Asphalt Xtreme

You'll travel from season to season, from continent to continent, with Gameloft's massive graphics resources to provide eye candy, zipping by at high speed.

Screenshot, Asphalt Xtreme

Lighting and textures are all superbly done, Asphalt Xtreme is a visual feast, even at high speed.

Screenshot, Asphalt Xtreme

And, as you'd expect the freemium aspects come into play when it comes to buying and upgrading vehicles - giving you a better chance of victory in each race. The Defender is the first (and forced) purchase, to get you started on your career.

Screenshot, Asphalt Xtreme

Egypt. Of course, it's the err... logical place to go car racing! But don't worry, it's an excuse to see some more wonderfully drawn landscapes, tracks and obstacles.

Screenshot, Asphalt Xtreme

As ever, I dip into the freemium purchases to see if Gameloft are still up to their old tricks. Yep. The 'Best value' purchase is almost £80 in the UK. And that's just for ONE of the in-game currencies.

Screenshot, Asphalt Xtreme

...The other currency is another £80 if you want to go crazy. Now, obviously, you can spend a lot less and be very happy - I just don't see the point in these stupid purchase options when their only value is trapping the stupid, unwary or kids going crazy on their parents' accounts.... Gah. It's downright immoral.

Screenshot, Asphalt Xtreme

Car smashes are delivered in glorious slow-motion, but don't worry, you're back on track after only a second or two. The difficulty here is low, in my first few races I had several totalled cars and 'restarts' and still managed to come first and second. One would presume that, as you play (and pay), things do start to get harder.

Screenshot, Asphalt Xtreme

Still, enjoy the free version as long as you can or use some of the more reasonable in-app-purchases, and you can have a LOT of fun with Asphalt Xtreme - the graphics, speed and sound are all top-notch.

You can grab this freemium epic (in all senses of the word) here in the Store. Recommended - with caveats!

Source / Credit: Store