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Asphalt 9 Legends Review - Fun Arcade Racing

Asphalt 9 Legends is a free to play game on the Nintendo Switch that doesn't even require a switch online subscription to play! The game was originally released for mobile devices a year ago, so how does this version fair and what improvements do we get?

The Nintendo Switch is an interesting piece of hardware as it has not only continued its support with AAA games, but has now also embraced the mobile side due to its portability and on the go options.

As part of the review I was given access to the starter pack which gifted me blueprints for multiple vehicles along with 200,000 Credits and 300 Tokens. Yes this gave me a little bit of a boost when starting off, however this only lasted so long as the challenge really kicked in even though I only managed to complete 3% of the Career.

Interestingly enough when I first booted up the game, other than being given the tutorial on options and modes, the only mode available was My Career and as you continued to make progress, other modes such as Multiplayer and Split-Screen became available. I found this really odd to begin with, but at the very least this also showed that the majority of things in the game is unlockable by simply playing it, something that most titles of this type would have you pay extra for.  

I spent the majority of my time on the My Career Mode and which by the way is a lot more expansive than I gave it credit it for. As of right now it runs over 5 chapters which are split into events, challenges and classes, some of which you have to use a specific type of vehicle in order to compete, however the main thing here is the actual racing, so how does this fair?

Generally I had a good time zipping through stages and either flying off ramps or performing crazy drifts. Doing either of these actions will reward you with Nitro which you can use to get ahead of the competition. Have a full nitro bar? Double tap to burn it all and go full force with speed, although this doesn't last long.

The racing itself feels very arcade and this is by no means a bad thing, but instead just adds to the fun factor. It reminded me a lot of the Burnout series, a racer that I adore and when I learned I can do a 360 spin and bash a car off the road, I was sold. If you were expecting a super controlled racer, then this is not for you, but if you are looking to just jump in and have fun, then you will be pleasantly surprised.

If there is any downside to the racing is that a lot of the ones I took part in seemed to be relatively short. I'm not sure if this is just to break things up a little, but what really makes it apparent is that these are just shorter races on the same stage. I would understand if there were specific race types that made use of that other than the time trials like heavy drifting or how many takedowns you can get before the finish, but as for now it doesn't really make much sense to limit the tracks.

For every race you take part in, there will be challenges to complete which offer you blueprints for new cars, parts and flags which you need to progress further.

The garage is where you keep your cars and upgrade them to give you a better chance in later races. The first car you receive is free and the level of your car is displayed on the right which gives you an indication of how difficult a race will be for you. If its in green, it should be pretty straight forward, but if you are in red and below the recommended level, prepare for one heck of a challenge.

You can also change the colour of vehicles here and add import parts to give you a little extra kick once you have hit your cap. These are not too easy to come across, but once you acquire it, you can really feel the difference.

Each car has a fuel count and once this runs out, a timer begins which essentially needs to end for the car to be usable again. You can wait for this timer to run out or use the in-game currency to completely skip this and get back to racing asap.Otherwise it is always handy to have more than one car available and thanks to the starter pack I had five ready to go.

One huge part of the game are the card packs and in order to attain new or the best possible cars, opening these is something you want to do. You can acquire these from the shop using your tokens or real money if you are happy to put that down. These range from classic packs which offer up to 2 cards and Premium packs which give 5.

The issue I have with this is that you don't get full cars from them but instead blueprints for them. Once you have enough blueprints for a specific vehicle, you will unlock it to be used. For some vehicles you would need 40+ blueprints before you can use them and when you possibly consider the amount of time it can take to do this, its a little too much. 

I guess this is a way to ensure you keep on playing and thankfully it doesn't get shoved in your face all the time. One thing we have to accept is that this is originally a mobile game and loot boxes/ packs are at its core, but as mentioned earlier this does not deter you from enjoying the overall experience.

For the Nintendo Switch port we got a few new features that go beyond the mobile release. One of these is local split-screen multiplayer and Quick Race which is playable offline and online. Control options have also been fine tuned for this as you can use the gyroscopic motion controls or touch screen to play. There is also a new set up called 'TouchDrive' which is essentially a stripped back version that handles a lot of the gameplay for you, something that I think would be perfect for kids who want to be able to join in  as well, but won't necessarily be able to handle the controls manually.

Overall I have enjoyed my time with Asphalt 9 Legends and wish that a full racing game is made from this example for the Nintendo Switch. The racing is a lot of fun and moving at high speeds feel incredible as debris is flying all over the place.. The addition of split screen makes this a great game to play with friends. 

Yes I'm not the biggest fan of the shop or the amount of time it can take to unlock new cars fully, but beyond this we are presented with a fun arcade-style racer with impressive levels of carnage and a takedown system when viewed in slo-mo, is simply a joy to watch.

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