Most mobile racing games are rubbish. There, we've said it. We're not sure why, but when many developers decide to make a driving game, they lose the ability to make anything other than a jerky pile of poo.
As mobile gamers, then, you'd be forgiven for having been put off mobile racing for good.
Well, don't ditch the genre just yet. Gameloft's new Asphalt: Urban GT game is here and it's ace. It borrows features from a host of classic console racing games and blends them into a fun, adrenaline-packed mobile title with accessible controls and smooth visuals.
The game actually includes nine different cars to drive, all licensed versions of real-world sports motors. They include the Audi TT Roadster 3.2 Quattro, Ford GT, Lamborghini Gallardo and Nissan Skyline GT-R, which should be more than enough for any boy-racer.
The idea is to race through eight locations, split between the obvious (New York, Paris, Tokyo, London) and the not-so-obvious (Route 66, Vladivostok, Luxor and Syracuse). Each looks the part, as Asphalt: Urban GT's graphics are top-notch. The course design is also impressive, with proper undulating hills and bumps to send your car shooting into the air.
You're racing for cash, as is often the way with these things, and can use this to upgrade to new cars as you progress. But a neat feature is the inclusion of cops who try to stop your speeding ways by chasing you in cars, setting up roadblocks, and even sending bloody great helicopters to freak you out.
The system is based on how badly you behave, so if you keep smashing into other cars expect to face police action. While it can be frustrating getting pulled over, it adds another dimension to the gameplay.
Controls are kept simple, with your car accelerating automatically – all you have to do is steer and, every so often, brake. You're also kitted out with a nitro boost, which you can refill while racing by picking up bonuses.
We should also point out that as impressive as the graphics is the sensation of speed – something that's lacking from many mobile racers. You really do zoom along, with scenery whipping past at a rapid pace and Gameloft deserves praise for wringing this sort of performance out of a mobile phone.
So, yes, most mobile driving games are rubbish. But this one isn't: it's excellent and it should set the standard for competitors for the foreseeable future.