First things first – I’m not a “hardcore” gamer. In fact, some of the few games I play are Flight Control, Plants vs Zombies and racing games like the Need for Speed series. I was asked to review Asphalt 6: Adrenaline newly available on the Mac App Store and was interested to hear that it was a ported game from the iOS platform, which I why I was eager to take a look at it.
Now we’re all familiar with the “Back to the Mac” ideology where developers bring back elements of the iOS platform into Mac applications. One of the best examples is Reeder and Day One. How well would this work with a game though? Would the UI stay the same or would it be just the major game elements that would match?
Asphalt is similar to most regular car racing games out there. If you’ve played Burnout, Need for Speed or other similar games, you’ll be able to start out without a problem.
One of the big things this game lacks is a plot. I am at least used to having some silly backstory that you don’t really pay attention to. Maybe that is why Gameloft dropped this extra part of the game.
When you launch the game, which sits at a little over 1GB, you’re presented with a pre-rendered view of a race. It looks great and I immediately got too hopeful that the graphics would be like this.
The graphics aren’t terrible – most of the 3D structures, tunnels and features are fine – but the trees and other smaller structures seem like a clip-art afterthought. It’s pretty terrible and distracting. However, the tracks were well designed, interesting and beautiful to look at throughout the game.
Cars, Cars and More Cars
One of the biggest draws to racing games is the ability to drive cars that you might never get to see in real life. These include multi-hundred-thousand dollar cars like Lamborghinis, as well as concept cars that might never make it out of the test track.
Asphalt let’s you drive cars from some of the most prestigious manufacturers, including:
- Aston Martin
What Asphalt Is Great At
As with most Asphalt games, regardless of platform, the Mac version sports a number of great cars. They have most models that you’d be used to in other games, including some speciality cars that I’d never heard of. It’s awesome gawking at the multi-hundred-thousand dollar cars and tweaking them to look perfect.
As you play, beat the AI, and make money, you have the ability to buy the keys to better and better cars. Besides winning each match, you can make money by knocking other competitors into hard objects “disabling” their cars. You can also make money by taking ramps and “getting air” or “drifting.”
One of the more humours parts is the very Burnout styled aspects of destroying property and other people’s cars. It’s fun to run through a ‘cafe’ and get a few thousand dollars while tossing chairs up in the air.
Another great feature is the multiplayer game mode. It supports both online racing as well as local network (LAN) play. It allows up to six people online and locally to race against each other. It does require you to have a Gameloft Live account to play, but that’s free to sign up for.
My biggest annoyance was with the in-game signup process. It felt so out of place and ended up bringing up an in-game browser to edit my profile on Gameloft’s website.
What Asphalt Needs to Work On
I assume that this might change as I near the end of the game, but about halfway through it, I didn’t notice any difference in cars that had better handling or better “Boost” speeds. It was kind of frustrating and made it seem that buying new cars should be entirely based on speed, acceleration and the size of the car- which played much more into the game than tweaks or upgrades to your car.
It would be difficult to get the Mini Cooper (the first car in the game) to handle well, and not feel top-heavy, even though it was a car that was super low to the ground and actually easy to handle in real life!
Also, for what it’s worth, the buttons and User Interface Elements are very iOS. They are bigger than necessary and clunky. This became slightly annoying when I’d have to move my mouse all over my screen to make changes to my car or move around the menus. (Which would work to their advantage on a touch screen, but not with a mouse.)
Through the Finish Line
I enjoyed playing Asphalt 6: Adrenaline, but I did feel that I might have more fun if I connected a steering wheel or joystick to my Mac, instead of using the arrow keys. It was made for a touch screen originally, and it shows.
The UI elements would really benefit from a refresh to make them more computer and less touch screen based. This, and the small structure graphics, were the only visual turn offs. I would say that the porting job was done very well within the actual game. It was the other little details that seemed to have been forgotten as they rushed to push it to the App Store.
Have you played Asphalt 6? What are your thoughts, and how do you feel about games moving to the desktop from iOS in general?