I tackle the free-to-play driving game, Asphalt Overdrive, with only five minutes of play under my belt and an open mind.
Asphalt Overdrive does everything right, from its stand-out title to its fresh eighties soundtrack. You want pink neon writing? You want palm trees and sports cars? You want to be reminded of dozens of other games without actually playing them? You’ve come to the right place.
0:00 >> Okay, this isn’t so bad. Sure, the name is more generic than my twelve-dollar jeans and the title splash looks like something the Vice City designers threw out after a night of binge drinking, but this wouldn’t be on the front page of the App Store without being SOME kind of good, right?
0:30 >> Still loading, no big deal. I mean, I’m running this on an iPhone 4, there’s no way it’s gonna load up something this good in a few seconds. Besides, there’s no music playing or anything so I can listen to whatever I want while I wait!
1:00 >> We’re in. Okay, what is this? Looks like an endless runner or something. Ooh, I get to drive a red Ferrari? Damn, bro, that is SICK. Swipe left to go left? Makes sense. Now it’s telling me to swipe RIGHT to go right? I guess it’s fine to think I wouldn’t know that. I mean, I’m not THAT smart. Time for a sweet jump. Oh. Pause right before the jump to tell me I’m gonna go over the jump? Got it.
2:00 >> Got away from the police (which I was apparently running from?) in that last chase, phew. Now some sassy lady in a baseball jacket is telling me for some reason to buy this black Ford sports car for $25,000. Seems like a reasonable price for a sleek sports car. Nice! Got an achievement for buying that car she explicitly told me to buy. Maybe I’ll buy this other car too?
Nope, out of cash. Wow, I sure was lucky to have exactly the right amount of cash. Maybe I can trade in some gold bullions for cash? Oh sweet! It’s only $2.99 to get more bullions! Why is it asking me for my Apple ID password? That kind of breaks the immersion of the game.
3:00 >> Oh no! The police are after me again. Good thing I have this reasonably-priced Ford! I’m swipin’ left, I’m swipin’ right, pulling sick stunts on these suspiciously placed ramps that are clearly indicating to drivers on this freeway that they should jump off them. Seems unsafe but whatever, I’m busy here!
4:00 >> So I hit a water barrier and the police caught me, no big deal. I’ll just go back to my garage and start the chase all over again. Seems weird that they wouldn’t put me in jail but this is Miami (probably?) and everyone knows the cops there are friendly as all hell. Oh look, I’m starting the chase again, at the same spot I started last time. Well, that’s helpful at least cause now I know what’s coming up.
5:00 >> Got past the nasty cops, collected a meager cash reward, saving up for another sick $25,000 car. This game rules!
Verdict: 6 out of 5
Sometimes it’s important to break the monotony of games that keep trying to do something new. Sometimes you just want something you’ve seen a million times set in an era that has been beaten so far into the ground that its ass is peeking out of Tiananmen Square. This is that game.
Flipped Stomach is Mikael Raheem. He writes a lot of stuff, from fiction to game reviews to feature articles to bathroom stall phone numbers. You can find more of his work at flippedstomach.com or follow him on twitter: @flippedstomach.