Asphalt 9: Legends for Android and iOS is the latest in the long-running series of racing games from Gameloft. It’s currently in soft-launch in the Philippines, Thailand, and France. Asphalt 9 download size is around 1.3GB on Android and iOS. While Asphalt 9 is not available in India officially, we’ve managed to check it out on a OnePlus 6and an iPhone 6s to give you an idea of what to expect when it’s finally out in India.
First up, Asphalt 9 looked fantastic on both smartphones – from highly detailed car models complete with reflections and incidental details like meters on the dashboard to the tracks themselves with snow and water effects in full view. Be it the snowcapped peaks of the Himalayas to the gloomy wet roads of Scotland, every single inch of Asphalt 9 is spectacular.
Even insignificant bits like tires heating up when applying the breaks to the dust that’s kicked up when you use nitrous to boost through the game, it’s obvious that developer Gameloft Barcelona has spared no expense in making Asphalt 9 gorgeous, which is an impressive feat when you consider how visually stunning Asphalt 8 is.
However, graphics isn’t the only area that’s seen an upgrade. Asphalt 9 gameplay has seen some interesting changes versus Asphalt 8. You can double tap the left side of the screen to spin your car, allowing you to push your opponents off the track. Double tapping the right side of the screen uses your nitro to send out a purple pulse that makes your ride invincible. If you tap the right side of the screen when the nitro bar is blue, you earn points for pulling off what the game calls a Perfect Nitro, increasing your score. It’s similar to Gears of War’s Active Reload mechanic.
Plus, there are three control options to choose from. Tilt to Steer uses your phone’s gyroscope to control steering, Tap to Steer has the familiar virtual buttons from past entries, while Touch Drive lets you swipe the screen similar to Subway Surfers. We used all three during our time with the game and they were surprisingly responsive regardless of the phone we used.
Moment to moment gameplay aside, Asphalt 9 also shakes up how you earn cars. As you keep racing and perform certain tasks like taking pole position or pulling off a certain number of Perfect Nitros, you unlock cars. We felt that we were racing a lot more to obtain new rides, which is probably what the developers intended. At the same time though, it’s ridiculously easy to upgrade your cars thanks to the obscene amount of in-game currency you get after each race. Asphalt 9 car upgrades allow you to tweak stats like speed, nitro boost, and handling to name a few which does shake things up quite a bit as the difference between each upgrade level is noticeable.
Where Asphalt 9 on Android and iOS differ are in the graphics options they offer. Unlike Fortnite and PUBG on iOS, you can’t tweak any settings. On the OnePlus 6, an option exists letting you switch between Default graphics and High. There’s no Medium option just yet, though we won’t be surprised to see this change when the game is finally out in all markets. Needless to say, it looks better on the OnePlus 6 versus the iPhone 6s with more particle effects such as light and dust as well as sharper car models.
At the moment, Asphalt 9 oozes polish. With some subtle tweaks to its controls, an incredible level of detail, and fresh race tracks, this could just end up being one of the better mobile games this year. Hopefully, Gameloft keeps its monetisation practises fair, which is something we can only ascertain when Asphalt 9 has a wider release.