Racing games on mobile are starting to rival some of the best first-person shooters on the market and it’s about time. The genre has always been a fan favorite on console and PC so it’s no surprise that arcade racers are making the move to mobile and making a splash at the same time.
But, as many mobile gamers know, storage space is always a concern. There are a ton of great arcade racing games out there but most of us can only devote our time and phone memory to one source of great entertainment. So, which arcade racer is going to reign supreme as my only choice for good driving fun?
I’ve narrowed my choices down to Asphalt 9: Legends and Need for Speed: No Limits. One is a franchise that’s very familiar to mobile gamers and one is a franchise that’s very new to the mobile scene but has a reputation on console and PC that has been built up over decades.
I’ve spent hours playing both but, unfortunately, one of them has got to go to make enough space for the other! So, without further ado, let’s try to find a winner in this epic battle between Asphalt 9: Legends and Need for Speed: No Limits.
Asphalt 9: Legends
Need For Speed: No Limits
So, How Do They Look?
Visually, both of these games have a lot to offer and every environment runs smoothly while adding a lot of engaging scenery to the tracks you race on. The variation between the different locations both help to immerse you in the world and keep the races entertaining from start to finish.
Even the cars in each are incredibly detailed and look ultra-realistic, especially when you’re racing on the city streets and you get to see all the bright lights and colors reflecting off the car as you wiz by on a full tank of boost. It’s only in the attention to detail that Asphalt 9 starts to shine through.
The environments you race on have blockbuster cinematic effects that often pop up in races, morphing the track and completely altering the environment while you desperately try to maintain control and it’s this visual spectacle that keeps all the races feeling fresh and new.
Not to mention seeing the brake discs slowly start glowing from the heat as you drift around the corner after corner too, or the twisted metal carnage as you take out other racers, annoying cop cars, or find yourself in an unlucky accident. Throw in an extremely slick looking menu and Asphalt 9 is truly a feast for the eyes.
But, Who’s Got Better Gameplay?
For many racing games, it can be a challenge trying to deliver an authentic and hyper-realistic racing experience when the controls on mobile are so limited. Both of these games control the acceleration of your car, leaving you to handle the turning, drifting, and boosting yourself.
The thing that annoyed me about Asphalt is the fact that the standard control scheme doesn’t need you to turn the car at all. You feel more like a casual passenger giving instructions to a different driver unless you alter the settings yourself. There’s no challenge to it and it’s not a very entertaining way to play any racing game.
Need for Speed: No limits puts you in control from the start and requires a lot more skill to overcome the challenge. The physics feel a lot more grounded in reality and, while the stunts in Asphalt 9 are breathtaking, to say the least, I preferred feeling like my car actually had weight and wasn’t just a toy being launched into the air.
Not to mention the variety of races and challenges that Need for Speed has. The Campaign is the main source for unlocking other options like the Car Series and Special Limited Time Events that do more than just unlock a new Blueprint or gather parts and materials.
Plus, it’s nice that they tried to add somewhat of a plot to help highlight your progression through the game. Aiming to be the best street racer in Blackridge gives me a little more incentive than just building up a career and collecting exotic cars. Even the Special Events that give you a specific car to use give you a reason why this cr is being chosen.
Overall, it felt like much less of a grind to collect cash, find materials, and collect parts and it’s a lot easier to make significant progress without spending any real money. Need for Speed: No Limits has the gameplay loop that I enjoy the most.
How Do They Sound?
Honestly? Pretty damn amazing if you ask me. The action is nonstop in Asphalt 9, so you’re surrounded by heaps of explosions and the rumble of debris as it falls which perfectly compliments the symphony that comes out of each engine. Even the gear changes feel oh so satisfying as you distinctly hear every click in the process.
I’m addicted to the sound of screeching tires in Need for Speed and the whistle from the exhaust as you activate the boost is heavenly, to say the least. Where it lacks the most, however, is in the music that you have to accompany you as you go tearing up the streets of Blackridge.
Music is one of the most important aspects of any arcade racer as it helps to immerse you in the world and hype up all the action on the screen. Asphalt 9 does this beautifully with one of the most impressive soundtracks I’ve ever heard across any mobile game to date.
From the moment you load the game up, the music kicks in, and you just feel engaged in what you’re doing, like you’re ready to hit the streets and start racing from the word go. I mean, I even feel cool bobbing my head while I’m just browsing through the menu and that’s a pretty hard thing to pull off.
Need for Speed: No Limits has a soundtrack that leaves a lot to be desired. The music in the main menu is a low droning hum that isn’t even noticeable at times and just makes browsing through the different menus feels like a gloomy experience and there’s a lot of them to go through.
Plus, there were moments where music wouldn’t even play it all, to the point where I honestly believed that there was no music at all until one random race decide to play some generic techno banger out of nowhere. They need to hire whoever did the music for Asphalt 9: Legends because they knocked it out of the park.
Ever since the rise of the Fast and the Furious franchise, players (like me) have been eager to customize their cars to make sure their rides are a true reflection of who they are and what they can do. It all started with Need for Speed: Underground and it’s been a necessary component in arcade racing games ever since.
Continuing with this unstoppable trend, Need for Speed: No Limits delivers all the fantastic customization that the series has been known for from the word ‘go’. The fancier modifications obviously require a bit more driving to unlock but it’s great that you can start making significant modifications to your car’s body in the early levels as well.
You can change almost anything, paint almost anything, and you truly feel like you’ve got the freedom to make your ride look unique to your garage. Asphalt 9, on the other hand, feels like it dropped the ball completely by giving players a very limited choice when it comes to customization.
Even when I had my Mitsubishi Lancer Evo maxed out I could not unlock any of the customization options that were there. I found out that those parts were from a limited-time event that may or may not come back for a second time and I, honestly, don’t have the patience to wait that long.
Racing stock cars just isn’t appealing and that’s why I’m a huge fan of all the customization options available in Need for Speed: No limits. It keeps me interested in making progress and gathering up Blueprints to keep staging up my cars so that I can unlock more options to modify.
So, Who Gets To Stay?
At the end of the day, both of these games have very appealing qualities but I can safely say that I’m going to be spending my time playing Need for Speed: No Limits. If not for the insanely fun driving then for the incredible collection of cars that you have at your disposal.
There are your usual Mclarens and Lamborghinis, of course, but the classic and vintage cars, like the ’69 Dodge Charger and the good old’ Toyota AE86 Trueno that got me reliving the glory days of Initial D. They clearly have the better cars and it’s a huge factor in why Asphalt 9 just isn’t on my device anymore.
Asphalt did have a great multiplayer aspect though, I have to give it that. Need for Speed does kind of let you do this but you’re racing against ‘ghosts’ which are replays of the laps they already did. I much preferred racing against live players since the Need for Speed method feels more like we’re just racing to post the best time and not really engaging in a head-to-head competition which isn’t satisfying at all.
Still, I have to say I’m enjoying Need for Speed: No Limits way more and that’s why it’s going to be our winner today.