Fans of extreme dirt racers like Pire or the MX vs ATV series can finally rub their hands. After a long void there’s finally again a new game that will make you want to take your tapped wheels out of the garage. Can this arcade make due for its slogan “Stronger, harder, faster!” of will we be biting dust with our bike?
Nail’d is a typical arcade racer and you notice this from the first second you play. The game drags you along through the wilderness of Yosemite, the desert of Arizona or the high mountains of the Andes at speeds that will make F16 pilots feel sick. The high speed also expresses itself in a very simple control scheme: throttle, boost and brake. No over-the-top stunts or difficult multipliers. Just land on your wheels or flying through burning gates is enough to refill your boost.
Additional challenge comes in the form of different big tracks. The various surfaces, many sideways and big jumps are a true challenge, but the biggest one is by integrating a bad respawn system. While you’re flying in the air, looking for the track where you can land, the game sometimes suddenly decides you’re going the wrong way with as result and exploding bike. A small piece of rock on the road, or some vegetation on the side can have the same effect. And if you’re really stuck the respawn system doesn’t work.
That Techland had a short development time doesn’t only show in the respawn mechanism but also in the limited amount of modes available; a championship, free race or online mode is all you get. These are built up with two game types, Race or Stunt Race with the latter being little more than collecting as many boosts as possible. The offering of vehicles is equally boring with two choices: the quad and the cross bike. You can unlock upgrades for both vehicles but the limited depth would even strand a hovercraft.
Those that want to game online end up in a lobby based on your location. Sadly enough there are little to no gamers online and if you do find some people they seem to have the same amount of problems with the respawn system and leave the game prematurely.
The simple concept is also found in the graphics. The surrounds are big but certainly not beautiful. At high speed everything looks a bit better, but then the framerates spoil the fun. The vehicles have very little detail and the animations of the ape-like drivers are plain unrealistic. The cliché baby-metal soundtrack is plain bad. Queens of the Stone Age has better tracks than the chosed ‘3’s & 7’s’ and a seven year old song from SlipKnot really doesn’t belong here. The other sound effects all sound a bit the same and need no further explanation.
An arcade racer doesn’t need much depth, but this is a bridge too far. The days that speed were just the highlight of a game are long gone. Maybe the Polish Techland still lives in the 90s, but as developer of – amongst other things – Call of Juarez they should know better. A sad mistake.