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Hands on with the iPhone version of Asphalt 4: Elite Racing

Evading the police thanks to the accelerometer

Product: Asphalt 4: Elite Racing (iPhone) | Developer: Gameloft | Publisher: Gameloft | Genre: Racing | Networking: wireless (adhoc)
For: iPhone
Asphalt 4: Elite Racing (iPhone) iPhone, thumbnail 1
Already having driven onto mobiles last week, Gameloft is revving up a tuned up version of Asphalt 4: Elite Racing. We took the game for a spin during, discovering it to be equally as enjoyable as its mobile counterpart. In fact, the advent of accelerometer-based steering and landscape racing could make it the preferred iteration.

Time was of the essence when we buckled up for our test drive of the game. The short race we played had us zipping in a blue Mini Cooper through the streets of Los Angeles, speeding toward the finish line in hopes of seizing first place. Any competitors in our way were unceremoniously taken off the road with a bash from behind or swipe from the side. The takedown mechanic is one of the few distinctive features of the series that returns in Asphalt 4 and it's more satisfying than ever. Enhanced graphics obviously make take downs visually more appealing, but it's a greater sense of destruction accompanying each take down that really ups the crash factor.

Of course, you can already get this experience from the mobile version; however, accelerometer-based steering gives the iPhone iteration an edge. Asphalt 4 provides you with a choice between using the touchscreen or accelerometer for steering. Under touch controls, setting your speed is done by holding your finger above your vehicle. Turning left or right is done by tapping to the respective side of your car. Drifting means holding down your finger instead of tapping. Whenever you want to use boost, a quick double tap does the trick.

Using the accelerometer, you tilt the iPhone to control your car. A forward tilt accelerates, down brakes, and moving the device to the sides yields turns. Boosting can be slightly awkward given that you have to flick the phone forward quickly. After trying out both, we favour the motion controls. The sensitivity is spot-on, granting just the right amount of control. Drifting was also much easier with the accelerometer. Given that drifting is crucial in acquiring boost, which in turn is essential to winning races, it seems like the accelerometer will be the way to go.

Spot-on utilization of the accelerometer is enough to justify interest in Asphalt 4's iPhone debut, however the option to drive in either portrait or landscape mode is a big bonus. You're free to change the view on-the-fly, simply tipping the phone onto its side or upright. We definitely prefer landscape because it affords a better view of the action. Especially when using the accelerometer for steering, landscape is really the best option.

You'll have to forgive the lack of screenshots, as Gameloft isn't able to share any assets for the iPhone version due to stringent control by Apple. We can tell you that the visuals are a slight notch above those found in the mobile version. No worries, though, as Gameloft plans on launching Asphalt 4 on the App Store before the end of the month so you can test drive it yourself soon enough.

Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson 22 July 2008
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