The latest spin off to Gameloft’s popular mobile racing franchise blends 80’s automotive exotica with Temple Run-style gameplay.
The Asphalt brand has built a solid reputation across multiple mobile platforms as one of the best mobile racers around. It blends high quality 3D visuals with addictive and varied racing experiences, opting for a more outlandish arcade style over the simulation racers that aim to adopt a more authentic driving experience such as Real Racing.
With Overdrive the Asphalt formula has been rewritten, most notably by the switch from landscape to portrait. Much like Temple Run, Minion Run and other run-style games the portrait orientation better lends itself to one-handed gameplay and as a result makes this title easier to play on the go.
The appeal of Overdrive is primarily in its styling; marrying great arcade gameplay, a neon colour palette and a synth-heavy 80’s soundtrack not too dissimilarly mirroring the Blood Dragon makeover FarCry 3 received in its most memorable expansion.
Whilst set in the modern day (based on some of the cars in the roster), the stars of the show are undoubtedly classic automotive exotica from the past such as the original split-screen VW microbus, Lamborghini Countach and the iconic Delorean DMC-12.
Gameplay centres on the player swiping between three lanes of traffic as they speed down a neon-lit Miami beachside road, avoiding obstacles, running other cars off the path and boosting along with nitro. The standard mode – Getaway, sees your driver trying to outrun the cops for a defined distance. The challenge comes from performing well-timed tricks, boosts and takedowns without crashing or missing any opportunities to score additional points. The more you race, the more money and gold you earn (both of which can also be purchased with actual money).
Upgrading your vehicle is key to staying ahead of the cops and taking on the boss of each area or ‘turf’. For variation there are other modes focusing on different elements of the gameplay. As you might guess, Stunt Run focuses solely on the player making barrel rolls and jumps through the air, Destruction focuses on running as many other cars off the road as possible and Daily Test Drive lets you test out fancier cars not yet purchased or within your reach.
Other modes play as variations on these themes and the whole experience aims to dole out a balanced pick-up-and-play experience. The players time spent within the game is metered by an energy bar that depletes every time you race and then recharges slowly over time. Actual money can be substituted for impatient gamers, but the recharge speed feels balanced should you want to get back out on the road.
The simplistic premise of the gameplay will appeal to some users more than others as it isn’t anywhere near as deep as the classic Asphalt titles. That said, it is heaps of fun and should keep you coming back for the occasional run down the strip whilst on your commute or waiting for a bus.
Above all else, it’s a quick and easy way to get behind the wheel of some of the most desirable motors in recent history and in a context where you’re actually awarded for scratching the paintwork and more.