Name of Game: Asphalt 6: Adrenaline
Release Date: December 21, 2010
Latest Update: March 22, 2011
Platform: iOS, Mac OS, Android, Symbian3, Mobile phones, webOS, BlackBerry Playbook, Bada 2.0
Asphalt is a series I’ve enjoyed for the longest time, ever since it’s premiere on the Nintendo DS. Even at the time of its first release, I was never that big of a fan of racing games, especially ones that played off real-life locations and real models of cars. But Asphalt: Urban GT for the DS did something that made me love the game, so much so that after being linked to an emulator by a friend, I went and found a ROM for the game and wound up playing that, and then going back to my original DS copy to see where I left on that. Something about the series is just fun to me, even though there are other games out there that can do better. Seeing how I just finished one of the later titles just a few days ago, I’m taking this opportunity to review Asphalt 6: Adrenaline for Mac OS.
Like I said, Asphalt is a sort of surprise series for me. I wasn’t expecting to get into it as much as I thought I would, but it’s so much fun, and games like these seem to indirectly teach me something about real life that I wasn’t aiming to do in the first place. Nintendogs, for example, taught me about pointing out breeds of dogs when I see them in real life after playing the game long enough. In this series, I learn about different models of cars that, at first glance, I wouldn’t be able to tell or remember. I could look all around me in a bunch of traffic and be unable to tell what any sort of car there was. But after playing Asphalt: Urban GT, I was suddenly able to remember different models of cars (from around 2004 when the game was released). In the history of the series, I have really bounced around with each of the games, and even then, I still haven’t played half of them. There are 11 games in the series as of the writing of this review, but in its history, I’ve only played 5, including this game; Asphalt: Urban GT, Asphalt: Urban GT 2, Asphalt 4: Elite Racing, and Asphalt 8: Airborne, all out of order of each other.
So what is Asphalt? Ever play a racing game, where you choose a car based on ones in real life, giving it a nice little paint job, improving its internals until you’re blowing past everything at the speed of sound, wrecking everything that stands in your way? That’s this series, and as the series goes on, they add more and more aspects to the game to make the racing seem more realistic and risky, in a sense. For Asphalt 6, you are challenged to complete a plethora of challenges in 11 cups, each with 5 challenges, across 12 courses, with your goal being to meet a 5 star rank at the end of each challenge to unlock more cars, tracks, tuning kits, among other things. You use the arrow keys to maneuver your car, pressing Up will cause you to accelerate and using Left and Right to steer. Pressing Down while going straight will allow you to brake, but if you hit Down while turning, you’ll start to drift, allowing you to take turns easier. On each track are a set of shortcuts you can use that go off the main course, often holding money pick-ups and, my personal favorite, Nitro pick-ups. Across the top of the screen is your Nitro meter, which grows based on actions you perform in each challenge, rather it being drifting, staying in the air, making havoc on the streets, etc. You can press the Spacebar to use your Nitro in three levels. Pressing it once will keep you in Level 1 Nitro while pressing it again puts you in Level 2, and doing so one more time puts you in Level 3, allowing you to easily knock out opponents by just hitting them, and making you invincible from oncoming traffic, called the Touch of Death. What you do want to wait for is Adrenaline. When you build the Nitro meter all the way up, it will become purple. When you press Spacebar, you go into Adrenaline mode, where you go through your entire boost, allowing you to easily plow through traffic and opponents until it runs out. Each race has a different objective to meet that 5 star ranking:
- Normal race is the standard game mode. You are against 5 other racers, challenging you to get to first place, usually within two laps.
- Elimination races will pit you and 5 other racers to stay out of last place. A timer will signal the elimination of the racer in last place.
- Under Pressure has multiple racers trying to wipe you out. Starting from Asphalt: Urban GT 2, it is possible to ram other cars out of the way to cause them to wipe out and crash, earning you more profit as you go. In this mode, your main goal is to stay alive and don’t crash yourself, usually the extra star goals is to make the others wipe out.
- Beat ‘Em All is sort of the opposite of Under Pressure, where instead of preventing yourself from crashing, your job is to make as many opponents crash as possible before the timer runs out.
- Duels are exactly as they sound; no other racers except you and someone else.
- Drift challenges are solo races around the track to rack up as many drift points as possible, with how many drift points you earn increasing with each better performing car.
- Collector races has you and 5 others aiming to grab as many purple money pick-ups within the time limit.
- Time Attack challenges you to reach each checkpoint in the time allotted.
Each of these races has a 5 star goal to meet, with 3 of the stars tied to the challenge itself, and 2 more as extra challenges, which could be performing extra drift or not crashing during the race. As stated before, more stars unlocks more cars, tracks, tuning kits, decal sets, and sponsors.
There is a huge selection of vehicles in this game. The type of vehicles are only cars and bikes, but the makes are vast: common names like BMW, Nissan, and Ford to more famous names like Ferrari, Ducati, Lamborghini, and Bugatti, with the final car to unlock being the Bentley Speed 8. Each vehicle must be initially unlocked to use, and then bought. Afterwards, you can use your other earnings from previous races to buy tuning kits, to help improve your acceleration, top speed, steering, etc. You can also customize your car, changing the body color, secondary color, and window tint, and adding decal sets. While not playing with your vehicles, you can prop them up for display in your
larger-than-necessary</span> garage. When not playing through Career mode, which is how you unlock everything, you can choose your own game mode with Free Race. You can also play with others either with local races or online, but other than all this, that’s really it. There’s nothing more for you to do with your vehicle after that.
The gameplay is pretty good, none of the vehicles feel stiff or unresponsive. While this game was meant to be on mobile devices, I really do like using a computer and keyboard for this kind of game. It feels better knowing I can properly see where I’m going and having easier control over my vehicle with a key press rather than having to tilt my device to turn and pressing sections of the screen to boost or brake, even when the mobile versions tilt the game so that it’s always straight. The music is OK, but pretty forgettable. It’s high energy and exciting, but very repetitive after awhile. At that point, it’s best to go into the Settings and turn off the music and play your own. The presentation, though, with possibly the exception of the cars, is not that great. I know, this game was made for mobile devices, and on top of that, released in 2010, but when you port the game to a computer, which is much more powerful than an iOS device, you should really take advantage of that. I wish the graphics were a bit better and not so blurry in places. One warning is that because this game has not been updated in four years, take caution if you are purchasing this game for your Mac if it runs OS X Yosemite. Multiple users, including myself, have reported that the game is prone to crashing before the start screen. You can skip the opening cinematic to get to the game faster, but on your first couple of tries, the game will crash if you try to skip the cutscene or even let it play out. Just try restarting the game until you get it. It does work, but I should’ve paid more attention to when the last update was, and the reviews left by others.
Overall, Asphalt 6: Adrenaline was a great game to enjoy in small bursts, and for that, I say it’s a good distraction. I don’t think it will hold you for very long, but for the sixth installment in the series, I think it does a pretty good job. However, I don’t think $7 is a good price anymore. Sure, games like these aren’t very expensive to begin with, but for its performance now, its age, along with the flaws it has, I would easily pay $1.99 or $2.99 for this. It also makes me wish that Asphalt 8: Airborne were also available on Mac OS, seeing how that game is free and seems to have more to offer, but baby steps, I guess. I can recommend this to those who like a racing game, but if you’re looking for something more in your game, I don’t think this will hold you for very long. I’m giving myself a few more weeks with this and it’ll probably start collecting virtual dust in my Applications folder. Good, but not great.