While Microsoft and its partners haven’t exactly announced a ton of Xbox games for Windows Phone 8 so far, the same can’t be said for Gameloft. Back in October, the mobile game publishing giant announced a whopping 12 games specifically for Windows Phone 8. These titles rely on the new mobile handsets’ extra horsepower and most would be impossible to port accurately on our beloved Windows Phone 7.
It’s been a long wait, but the first Gameloft Windows Phone 8 game is finally here: Asphalt 7, the arcade-style racing game. That’s right, a non-Angry Birds Windows Phone 8 game! Who’d have dared to imagine such a thing? In case that didn’t knock you right out of your office chair, it even has…. Real-time online multiplayer! I don’t mean asynchronous: this is the for-real deal. Ho-lee crap, I just had to fetch my socks from across the room. And did I mention Asphalt 7 is priced to sell?
Head past the break for details! We'll have a video soon too.
Who needs 6?
Asphalt 5 was a functional but poorly balanced racer on Windows Phone 7. For Microsoft’s new mobile OS, Gameloft has wisely decided to skip part 6 and jump straight to the latest series entry, Asphalt 7: Heat. It is once again a fast-paced, easy to play racing game that doesn’t get bogged down with too many simulation aspects.
Asphalt 7 features the most detailed 3D graphics in an Xbox Windows Phone game to date with stunning cityscapes, beautiful colors, and lighting effects that rival a JJ Abrams movie (I kid). Just like its predecessor, the cars are fully licensed and rendered in lavish detail. Some of the more desirable makes include Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, and even the DeLorean.
As a result of the complex graphic engine and the game’s wealth of content, it clocks in at a whopping 878 Megabytes. And it requires 1GB of RAM, so devices with only 512 MB such as the HTC 8S, the Lumia 620, and the recently announced Lumia 520/521 will not be able to run the game. That’s a drag, but graphically intensive games would struggle with the tiny 150 MB of RAM that is allotted on those low-memory devices.
It looks like the increased level of hardware access in Windows Phone 8 finally allows the inclusion of real-time multiplayer (Pool Pro Online apparently only simulated it). Since the game just came out and takes a fair bit of time to download, we haven’t been able to test its multiplayer in action yet. But it does appear to operate with Gameloft’s own servers as opposed to Microsoft’s servers, so users will need to create their own Gameloft accounts to hop online. That’s actually very encouraging since the multiplayer features in games like Carcassonne have been terrible on the whole.
Check out that sticker price
The arrival of a hot game like Asphalt 7 (complete with online multiplayer) is wonderful news for Windows Phone 8. It looks like Gameloft (possibly with Microsoft’s input?) is serious about making sure Asphalt 7 sells, too. It costs only 99 cents, just like the iOS version. There are optional PDLC micro-transactions, but they aren't needed to simply enjoy the game. If you’ve got a Windows Phone 8 device with enough RAM and storage space to run it, you might as well skip the test drive and give this one a buy.
Get Asphalt 7: Heat here at the Windows Phone Store. As usual, the link may take awhile to show up in your Store. Just try again later.
Thanks to Jey Si for the tip!