Fans of high-octane racing action absolutely need to check out Asphalt 9: Legends, the latest entry in Gameloft's top-rated racing franchises for Android. This game is all about collecting and racing some of the most exotic sports cars on the planet and racing them in nitro-fuelled races through, delivering high-end graphics and over-the-top racing action where you must win by any means necessary.
The game is free to play with in-app purchases available.
Outrageous racing action
The Asphalt racing series has never been for Sunday drivers — this franchise has consistently upped the ante with faster cars, crazier action, and graphics and gameplay that give you a true sense of speed.
With Asphalt 9, the game defaults to "TouchDrive" controls, which allow you to focus on shifting lanes to hit specific jumps or nitro power-ups, drifting and pulling ridiculous 360-degree spin maneuvers to take out nearby opponents, and using nitro boosts. You don't have to worry about hitting the gas or steering at all in this mode, and can focus on going fast, smashing your competition, and appreciating the gorgeous graphics!
There are other control options available including on-screen controls and tilt-steering, but honestly, you're best off playing with TouchDrive on to start until you get a handle on the game. Considering how fast-paced the action is here, you're best off just focusing on drifting and hitting your nitro boosts at the right times so you can cross the finish line in first place every time. You'll start out racing in career mode, but you unlock the online multiplayer mode by the time you complete the first section of career mode.
Collecting blueprints becomes the true grind
Asphalt 9 features over 50 cars for you to unlock, upgrade and burn rubber with, but to unlock or upgrade cards requires car blueprints. Blueprints can be awarded to you as a reward for winning specific races in career mode or found in card packs from the shop. To that end, this is one of those free-to-play games where your actual progression through the game has less to do with your skill at playing the game and more with randomly collecting the right cards to progress.
Fortunately, the racing gameplay itself is still really fun in spite of the simplified control scheme when it comes to steering and accelerating, you always feel in full control of your vehicle.
The game gifts you a free pack with two cards every 4 hours, and you can watch an ad for a bonus car, but the main way to buy card packs is by spending tokens. Tokens are earned by completing race missions and through progressing through the career mode, or you buy tokens directly via in-app purchases... which is where the free-to-play/pay-to-win aspect comes in. Since you also need car blueprints to continue to upgrade your cars' top speed, acceleration, handling, and boost, you'll need to be on the constant lookout for more blueprints to keep your favorite cars at the front of the pack — especially in online races.
Test your skills with online multiplayer
There are a couple of ways to connect with other players in the game. You can race against other players in the dedicated multiplayer mode or compete against others in daily leaderboard challenges, and you can also team up with friends and work together to unlock rewards in Club mode.
From my experience playing online races, it would seem that most players are comfortable sticking with the TouchDrive controls, so if you want to stay competitive your best off keeping it in the default control scheme. If you're a lone wolf racer looking for a club, you can search "Android Central" and join the club I created.
Are you an Asphalt Legend?
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Get the most out of your Android gaming experience
SteelSeries Stratus Duo ($60 at Amazon)
A great Bluetooth controller for use with Android games that offer gamepad support that also includes a wireless USB dongle for gaming on PCs. Highly recommended!
Ventev Powercell 6010+ Portable USB-C Charger ($37 at Amazon)
This battery pack from Ventev is recommended so often because it's so compact and convenient. You get a built-in USB-C cord, built-in AC prong for charging the unit, and 6000mAh battery capacity.
Spigen Style Ring ($13 at Amazon)
Of all the phone mounts and kickstands we've tested, the most consistently reliable and sturdy is the original Spigen Style Ring. It also has a minimalist hook mount for your car's dashboard.
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