News of a new Asphalt game tends to be a reliable way to get arcade racing fans enthused. There are few slicker examples of the genre on mobile than Asphalt 8: Airborne.
But Asphalt Street Storm doesn't follow in the slipstream of its illustrious series forbears. In fact, it's competing in a different formula entirely.
The game has been in soft launch since December, so we thought it was about time we broke out the PG Phillipines App Store account and found out what Gameloft is up to.
I've mentioned that Asphalt Street Storm Racing is completely different to preceding Asphalt games, but the first thing you'll experience upon entering your first race is intense familiarity.
There's no subtle way to put this: Asphalt Street Storm is a very close approximation of CSR Racing. Very close indeed. From the urban street racer setting to the urban drag racing action, it's a very similar experience.
Just like in CSR, you don't worry about steering. All you need worry about is getting the revs to the sweet spot for the start, timing your gear shifts in the race proper, and choosing an appropriate point to use you nitro boost.
Even the side-on perspective is nigh-on identical to CSR.
Of course, Gameloft has always been a gifted mimic, and Asphalt Street Storm Racing nails much of the appeal of Natural Motion's work.
It's perhaps nots quite as shiny - the cars simply aren't as sharply detailed - but it's still a handsome game. I think I actually prefer the UI in Asphalt Street Storm Racing, though that's likely a personal taste thing.
Visuals aside, there are some differences to Asphalt Street Storm Racing. The most obvious example is the presence of four-player races, but while this bumps the interest up a little, it does nothing to change your approach to each race.
Far more notable is Gameloft's effort to make the starts a more technical and thus influential process. Here you have to manually launch your car with a separate button - all whilst maintaining those revs. You can even start before the countdown finishes, so long as you don't cross the starting line early.
It adds a welcome extra layer of skill over Asphalt Street Storm Racing's established rival.
Of course, it's impossible to tell how successful Asphalt Street Storm Racing will be at this early stage. It seems to be feature complete right now, with a broad selection of AI and real human match-ups and plenty of cars to buy and upgrade.
But games such as this flourish or fail over the long haul. How sticky are its reward mechanics? How finely calibrated are its freemium systems? Those are things we'll need to judge when the final version drops.
For now, Asphalt Street Storm Racing is looking like the natural next step for those who are about done with CSR 2 - at least until CSR Racing 3 turns up.