Developer: Z2Live inc.
There is a hankering we all have I think for a good racing game that we can pick up and play for a short while on the way to work or other such activities and when we are done, have the ability to just put it down till next time. IOS is the perfect platform for just such a game. Is Nitro that game as well?
The layout on-screen for Nitro looks great. Everything is where you expect it to be and where you can find it. All relevant information is displayed on-screen without feeling too crowded on the small screen. It’s all nice and colourful and everything has that nice retina display sheen that we have come to know and love. The choice of metallic shiny paint schemes for the cars and the colourful backgrounds of the racetrack all add to a quality feel to the game which, for a mobile game draws you in and makes you want to play more.
The cars in Nitro look varied and have plenty of detail in their design. They have a cartoonesque look to them with big wheels and squatted looks but this is a fun racer title not a racing sim. Some cars resemble real cars but no names or logos are ever used. You can unlock more cars as you go through the game by using in-game cash or stripes. Stripes however are rare to get in Nitro to get and feels like a subtle way to encourage you to buy more via micro transactions. Some of the cars you can buy with in-game cash and they work just fine but if you want any kind of individualization in Nitro it will cost you stripes which will inevitable cost you real cash.
Handling feels like a nice arcade style car with good turning, drifting and handling especially considering the use of the tilt feature on the iPhone to turn direction which I usually avoid. As you tilt in Nitro it feels smooth and controlled and accepts minor adjustments very well. A definite plus over some other ios games. Peddles either side of the screen are used for throttle and braking. The funny thing is that there is no real need for the brake to have even been included in this as just by letting go of the throttle you slow down quick enough. In all my time playing Nitro I don’t think I used the brake once.
The AI racers that compete against you don’t feel like they cheat or have any advantages that you don’t have. They seem to be very competitive as the game progresses but feel fair which is good. I hate it when you race in other games and just as you turn the last corner you are caught by the other racers and overtaken with no chance at all. Nitro lets you win fair or loose fair.
Time delays for upgrading your car with better and faster parts is no real issue. The first upgrade takes about a minute and the second takes 3 minutes, third upgrade takes ten minutes etc. You can only upgrade one part at a time unless you pay for an extra mechanic with stripes which of course you never really have enough of to do what you want so that’s in incentive to use real money to buy more. There are also time delays when it comes to the amount of fuel you have for races. You start off with 12 fuel tokens and most races take two tokens each. Once these run out you can either wait for the fuel to build back up or again you can pay to get more fuel. They do give you one free full refuel for free.
At some point during your racing you will run out of materials needed to upgrade in normal races and you will be under upgraded to advance so you will be forced to play multiplayer races to build up what you need. This is no real issue in regards to the gameplay as it’s just another race really. You can opt to play against friends if they have the game or another way is to do time trials on the different tracks. Either way this can feel like a bit of a grind and something that I feel takes away from any small mobile title.
However, Online play is broken, very very broken. The race itself will run fine. The lobby system will place you into a race with other players with no problem although you seem to be placed randomly. If you are in a tier one car you have as much chance of going up against a tier 4 racer as you have other tier 1’s. On top of this there is a major issue with the way the races end. On multiple occasions I have raced against 5 other drivers and have won. I have been a clear 4-5 seconds ahead of everyone else yet when the race results board comes up at the end I am placed 3rd, 4th or 5th with no reason given. On other occasions I have raced around and as I see the finish line I see 2 other cars sitting there not moving as though their drivers have not begun to race yet as the results come up I am again placed well below them. This needs to be fixed immediately otherwise there is absolutely no point playing multiplayer races other than to get resources as you will find no enjoyment in racing just to be cheated out of a win.
Knowing that this is a free game and that the developers need to find a way to make money from this game is one thing but for me personally I feel as thought there are too many adds. Some games and apps handle the advertising issues far better than Nitro. The adds start right from them moment you launch the game. Some involve you watching a video of another game etc and they even offer you an amount of stripes to participate but for me this just isn’t enough. I don’t want to faff around with adds in a game I only intend to play for ten minutes at a time.
Overall, well I started playing Nitro and it grew on me initially. I enjoyed the gameplay for a while but then the adds started to get to me and the waiting times added to it although the waiting times weren’t an issue on their own. What killed this game for me and I mean absolutely wrecked it was the online issues. If this was a separate section of the game and I didn’t need to ever touch it then maybe I would have given Nitro a better score but for the fact that you have to play multiplayer games in order to get the resources that you need to progress in the single player portion of the game and that the multiplayer is completely broken swung my choice of score. For me games of any kind don’t have to be perfect but they must have the basics working properly. What started out well ended up being a poor failure.