The Asphalt series launched with Asphalt Urban GT in 2004. Six more titles were released in the following 8 years, up to Asphalt 7: Heat’s release in 2012. But, in 2013, this schedule changed completely with Asphalt 8: Airborne. Now in its fifth year, the eighth game in Gameloft's iconic mobile racing franchise has become the gold standard.
For its fifth anniversary, we are going to take a look back at Asphalt 8: Airborne. The game that launched an iconic franchise into orbit and revolutionized it while it was there (and we are not just talking about the game’s high-flying aerial trickery).
Travel back and revisit some Asphalt Memories.
Changes came thick and fast for the franchise in Asphalt 8. Gameplay advancements came thanks to a revamped physics engine. This has allowed Airborne to lean even more heavily on its arcade roots, with dynamic stunts and calamitous crashes. Flat-spin and barrel-roll your way through each environment's tracks as you speed towards the finish.
Performing these flashy gravity-defying tricks only accentuates Asphalt 8: Airborne's thrilling track design. Speeding through each exotic location from around the globe, it quickly becomes clear that they are custom built for drama. Even locales returning from previous games have been totally recreated to ensure they offer the optimum racing experience in this vertical world.
A wider world of racing
Racers can test their skills in this growing range of locations. There are currently 18 of these, including Venice, French Guiana, Iceland, the Nevada Desert, Rio, and the Great Wall - with more on the way. Each offers unique challenges. Not only do you have to find the best racing line and discover the best route, you also have to make use of jumps and avoid obstacles. Some ramps certainly lead to a faster time, but approach them too slowly and you could find yourself with the new job of high-velocity bridge inspector.
To accompany their unique topography, each location also presents players with a distinct look. Improvements to Asphalt 8's visuals over previous installments allow these differences to be even more pronounced. Speeding down tracks you must contend with a range of surfaces and a variety of debris, from powdered snow in Iceland to sand and dust in Nevada. This is accompanied by destructible obstacles to smash your way through. There are even fog and motion blur effects to allow for a greater sense of place as you shoot around the tracks.
The blend of all of these stunning effects makes every track and location a thrill to race around as you search out the different routes and shortcuts.
A full selection of dream cars
To really take to the skies, you need cars with the speed to catch some real air. Asphalt 8: Airborne released with 47 luxury cars - all of which could be tuned in your garage. This initial line-up featured brand new machines, previously unseen in the series. These included the Lamborghini Veneno, Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari FXX Evoluzione, and Chevrolet Corvette C7! These all look incredible to this day, featuring a high level of detail and realistic reflections of the world around them.
However - as was previously seen with the growing roster of tracks - the biggest revolution Asphalt 8 introduced to the series was its ability to expand. From the first update, the garage began to grow dramatically. First, more car models were added. Then, additional manufactures arrived – including the iconic German manufacturer Porsche. Even more recently, bikes returned to the series. This has resulted in the current offering which totals more than 220 rides that you can use to challenge the game’s hundreds of events.
This expansion has been incredibly powerful for the series. It has allowed the game to continue to improve and grow for a full five years. With the expanding selection of tracks, cars, and modes, the initial number of 180 events exploded. This has resulted in the sheer volume of ways to enjoy Asphalt 8: Airborne multiplying almost exponentially.
More options, more game
Airborne launched with two new modes for the franchise, Gate Drift and Infected. The first of these is like a slalom. With only a limited time, you have to speed down the course through a series of gates. Each gate gets you a point, but only if you are drifting – ensuring that your line down the track becomes a frantic zig-zag.
Infection offers an even more distinct racing experience. The goal is simple, reach the finish line. But the twist is that, while racing, you can become infected if touched by an afflicted car. Cars' affected by this illness have their nitro activated, shooting them forward. While this sounds like a bonus, it has some serious disadvantages – like causing you to wreck once a timer expires. Taking out opposition, performing stunts, and collecting nitro tanks is the only way to delay this impending doom. This forces you to prioritize these targets over a simple dash for the finish.
Multiplayer also received an upgrade. Whether you are racing eight other players in simultaneous, twelve player multiplayer (expanded from eight players at release) or daring your friends to beat your time in the asynchronous multiplayer, Airborne offers you the chance to prove yourself the ultimate speed demon.
Multiplayer has continued to expand throughout Asphalt 8’s life, and it now includes Leagues and Seasons. This provides the opportunity for racers to show off their skills, not only to their friends but, to a whole world of racers. Now you can truly prove yourself the best.
This combination of classic race types, fresh modes that were available at launch, and entirely new races that have been added over the last five years (such as Tag Racing that has you swapping cars mid-lap), ensures that Asphalt 8: Airborne has always offered a huge amount of variety. A variety that players continue to enjoy to this day.
A new level of success
Asphalt 8: Airborne is the first of the series to really embrace the power of modern smartphones. It is this ability to constantly expand, improve, and react that has seen this arcade racer become so exceptional. In the five years since its launch, these constant improvements have seen it securely sat atop the world of mobile driving games, with more than 350 MILLION downloads – a number that eclipses previous Asphalt titles. And still, both the audience and the game continue to grow!
Asphalt 8: Airborne has cemented itself in history and in our hearts. Become a part of this phenomenon now by downloading it for free on iOS, Android, and Windows. Or, if you're playing already, leap into the active and enthusiastic community on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.