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Asphalt 3D

For: 3DS
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Stereoscopic speed

Product: Asphalt 3D | Developer: Gameloft | Publisher: Ubisoft | Format: 3DS | Genre: Racing | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Asphalt 3D 3DS, thumbnail 1
If there's one gaming genre we've been looking forward to experiencing in stereoscopic 3D, it's racing (and we first got to experience it a couple of weeks ago with Ridge Racer 3D).

The idea of surging forward with an enhanced sense of speed and depth is an exciting prospect, hence we had high hopes for Gameloft's first foray into the world of the Nintendo 3DS.

For the most part, Asphalt 3D meets expectations, offering fast-paced arcade racing that gives the impression you're actually powering down lengthy highways and tight city roads.

Unfortunately, while it's a great first attempt and does a lovely job of showcasing what the 3DS is capable of, the game also comes with plenty of issues, including frame-rate problems, annoying sound effects, and utterly dire collisions.


Asphalt 3D is as over-the-top as they come, with all realism left on the sidelines. This is an arcade racer through and through, inviting you to smash through barriers, make ridiculous jumps, and grind against walls.

The game initially provides a set of four races and a handful of licensed cars. As you win races and level up via the collected XP points, you'll unlock more modes, vehicles, and car parts for ramping up the velocity.

The 3D effects look fantastic in motion, as if the road ahead is actually approaching at break-neck speed.

The majority of races focus on finishing first, although there are various other missions involved, such as crashing opponents off the road and or drifting around enough corners.

Pick-ups litter the track, allowing you to activate your Nitro boost and apply even more speed. When you manage to fill your bar to the max, the sky goes black and the sides of the track light up neon red.

It's a gorgeous effect, and again does an excellent job of imbuing the action with a sense of speed.

Apart from racing, you also need to watch out for other cars on the road coming in the opposite direction.

Smash into one too many innocents and the police will begin tailing your car and making your life hell. You can smash the police off the road, but this results in even more police cars turning up.

It's not always obvious how to outrun the cops, which makes encounters with them rather entertaining as you resort to increasingly desperate manoeuvres.

Word on the StreetPass

Asphalt 3D makes good use of other 3DS features. StreetPass can be activated from within the game, and used to gather ghost runs and best times from other players.

Multiplayer races are also available, and with minimal lag - at least in the games we played. Online functionality is rather minimal, but it's still agreeable to have the option.

Numerous achievements are available to bump up the game's replayability, with trophies awarded for a variety of objectives, from smashing other cars to beating tournaments.

Note that if you're looking to collect every single one, prepare to lose many hours to the game. There are a serious number of tournaments to play through, each more difficult than the last.

Hit and miss

While there's plenty of content on offer in Asphalt 3D, the quality isn't always premium.

Frame-rate issues mar the game throughout, especially when there are multiple cars on screen, and the action can grind to a horribly slow pace.

Even the menu system can't cope sometimes. Switching between cars in your garage takes whole seconds to load, stalling the game while you wait.

Collision handling is really awful. Hit another car and you may well find yourself flying through a wall via some very silly physics.

The game's physics really show their ugly side when you go over a shortcut jump, and a different camera angle cuts in to mask how bad it actually looks.

And the racing becomes quite bland after a few hours. The same tracks are used over and over again, and since this is an out-and-out arcade racer there's no hidden depth to explore.

As a 3DS launch title racer, Asphalt 3D does the job. Our appetites are sufficiently whetted for future 3D driving games, and with some improvements the Asphalt series could well become an essential 3DS franchise.
Asphalt 3D
Reviewer photo
Mike Rose | 25 March 2011
Asphalt 3D signals great things to come for the racing genre on the 3DS, although frame-rate issues and silly collisions bring the action down somewhat
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