With that said, one look at the Asphalt 8: Airborne's extensive IAP list and some folks may be hesitant to take the plunge. Thus, the purpose of this guide is to provide some explanation as to what types of IAP are offered in Asphalt 8, whether they're required to adequately enjoy the game, as well as tips to help folks avoid having to shell out any cash, or, if you must spend something, the most efficient ways to pick up the IAP.
Is IAP Necessary to Beat the Game?
In a word, no. There are no true pay walls, timers or anything of that sort that would raise a red flag regarding whether IAP is essential.
Asphalt 8's IAP structure is based on either purchasing 'car packs,' which instantly unlock groups of cars that you would otherwise have to use in-game currency to pay for, or purchasing currency outright, allowing you the freedom to buy the cars and upgrades you want without necessarily needing to play and grind on maps.
The game also doesn't feature a dual currency system, meaning the only currency you can buy is the type that is doled out after completing courses and earning stars. It's relatively straightforward and fair, for the most part.
Who Needs IAP Anyway?
While IAP is certainly optional to complete the game, there are a variety of different types of players that will probably benefit from it more than others. We've generally classified these types of players into three groups:
- Experienced Players - If you're generally good at racers and just looking to enjoy what Asphalt 8 has to offer, there will probably be no need to even bother with IAP. As we mentioned in our review, the difficulty curve is pretty fair for the majority of the game, while later 'seasons' of races may require some grinding of old maps to earn the amount of currency necessary to purchase and upgrade faster vehicles. However, if you're good at racing games, this grind will be relatively minimal as the game does a good job of rewarding players who hit map objectives while still earning first place. In fact, unless you're looking for a specific favorite vehicle that you want right away, you should be fine.
- Car Collectors (regardless of skill) - If you fall into this category, the quest for car collection is going to make that IAP look mighty tempting. Asphalt 8's career mode guides players on the assumption that you'll buy two or three cars for each racing class, upgrade the heck out of them, and then move on to the next class and start the cycle again. Folks looking to purchase every car in the game will see their progression somewhat stunted as you dedicate money towards purchasing cars in the same class rather than using that money for upgrades or moving on to the next class of vehicles. In addition, while grinding previously played missions offers a fair amount of money, it's no where near enough to encourage car collection at a reasonable pace. Thus, unless you have the patience of a saint, you'll probably find yourself shelling out for car packs or currency packs.
- Beginners - Unfortunately, if you fall into this class, IAP is going to look mighty tempting right from the get go. While Asphalt 8 is accessible from a controls standpoint, players that can't get into at least the top 3 in a race aren't going to see much from a money standpoint. This means you're going to have to grind a lot just to get enough money to upgrade your car to a point where it's statistically above the competition, which will let you (hopefully) win races more easily, earn stars, and move on to the next round. Picking up a car pack or two (with some high end class cars) or some currency at the onset would allow you to get to that point faster, letting you enjoy the game more regardless of skill set.
Tips for Novices
If you fall in the last group I just mentioned, things may be bleak, but there's always room for improvement, especially when it comes to driving games. Before you run off and start buying the best cars and tons of cash to pimp your vehicles out, make sure you pay heed to these tips to help improve your skill set.
- Find Your Control Scheme - Asphalt 8 defaults to a tilt-to-steer control scheme, which I love. However, if you're not a big fan of accelerometer based driving, there are plenty of other options, including some without auto-acceleration and virtual buttons to control steering. I highly recommend checking them all out to make sure that you have the best one for you. A comfortable control scheme is the foundation for succeeding in a racing game.
- Nitro is Everything - While racing in Asphalt 8, the one thing that should always be in the back of your mind is nitro. You should be thinking about ways to earn it, strategic parts of the track to use it, and you should master the timing behind getting a 'perfect' nitro boost. It not only allows you to speed past the opposition, but it gives you an easy way to take out opposing racers. So, while racing, if you can put yourself in a position to earn some extra nitro, go for it. Speaking of that...
- Master the Drift - One of the best ways to earn a steady supply of nitro is to drift during curves. Drifting is as easy as tapping the break button, which starts the drift (a quick tap will end drift mode). While drifting, you can not only preserve speed during a curve, but you also earn nitro, which, as we mention above, is quite important.
- Don't Wreck! - Unfortunately, just as you can put your opponents out of commission, the same can be true for your car. Careen headfirst into a wall or crash into an oncoming big rig and you'll wreck, taking you out of the race for precious seconds. If you haven't built up a big lead, this also means that you'll probably fall far behind. Thus, try to do everything in your power not to wreck. Memorize complicated turns, pay attention to oncoming traffic (they usually blink their lights as they come towards you) and try not to hit a ramp if you don't know where you'll land.
- Explore, Explore, Explore! - This is probably one of the most important tips for playing Asphalt 8. Each map has LOADS of alternate routes, shortcuts and hidden passages. Some of them are shorter, longer, and the navigation difficulty varies. In order to ensure victory, you must master these routes and find the one that best fits your driving style while still ensuring you get an edge on the competition. The best way to do that is to simply play each one again and again while taking mental notes of where paths split and where the computer likes to go.
Grinding for Currency
While the most obvious (and easiest) way for getting currency in Asphalt 8 is by purchasing it, there are a few tips you can use to try and earn money faster. Here are a few we compiled:
- Earn Every Star On Each Map - Stars are primarily used as a basis for unlocking new races and seasons, but they are also important from a currency standpoint. Each new star unlocked grants a one-time money bonus at the end of that race. The bonus is also substantial, so players hard up for cash really should take the effort necessary to fully complete each race.
- Get Those In-game Bonuses - Asphalt 8 provides small monetary bonuses for taking out vehicles, hitting items such as road blocks and cones, narrowly avoiding NPC vehicles, and so on. While each is small individually, they do add up, and become very important towards earning cash when you've already exhausted your star bonuses. Thus, I'd recommend trying to do as many of these in-game objectives as you can, with the understanding that you don't jeopardize your high placement finish (see the next tip).
- Placement Is Key - Once you've earned all the stars on a map, currency is only awarded for place finishes and in-game actions. Thus, it's in your best interest to consistently get first place on a map to maximize the amount of currency you earn in a race. This will be your bread and butter down the line when you find yourself needing to grind on occasion.
Tips on IAP Purchases
While the majority of the tips in this guide are for playing the game without IAP, there will probably be folks that want to invest further in the game. There's nothing wrong with that, and the following tips will help you get the most out of your money:
- Buy Car Packs Early - If you have any thoughts of picking up a car pack while playing Asphalt 8, buy it at the onset. A lot of the car packs include vehicles from every class. If you play a bit, pick up some vehicles and then decide to buy a car pack, there's a good chance you might have to buy a pack with a vehicle that you've already unlocked with in-game currency. Therefore, I'd recommend either buying the car pack early on in the game, or make sure you've adequately planned out your upgrade path so you don't end up 'double-dipping' on some vehicles.
- If Possible Save The Currency For Upgrades - If you're amenable to both car packs and currency purchases, I'd recommend using the saving your currency for upgrades, as you can't purchase those outright (as you can with car packs, for example). Also, remember that upgrade costs increase proportionally at later levels, so it's a good idea to take this into consideration if you're thinking about buying a currency pack.