I’m not normally the type of gamer who would be interested in an ATV racing game. In fact, when MX vs. ATV Reflex came out, I was offered a free copy from a sponsor on a sports site and I sold it, site unseen to a friend. But after hearing the positive buzz about nail’d
, I had to give it a shot. And I’m really glad I did.
Though I previously had never played an ATV game, that’s not to say I’m a racing novice. Between the Need for Speed, Cruisin’, and Test Drive franchises, I have a lot of virtual racing time under my belt. Of course, there’s a big difference between street and off-road racing, so when I compare nail’d to anything, to me it’s more like Excite Truck than any other racer I’ve played. The comparison, I think is a favorable one, because I really enjoyed Excite Truck and I really enjoy nail’d.
Like Excite Truck, nail’d doesn’t exactly adhere to the laws of gravity or reality in the course of racing. Sure, you start with a guy, an ATV, a course, and a bunch of racers. But once the race starts things start getting crazy. There are blimps, helicopters carrying burning rings (more on that in a minute), and need I mention a bunch of those wacky armed inflatable guys? Definitely not your mothers ATV game.
The courses themselves are about 80% what you’d expect. Trees and trails, canyons and caves, with plenty of twists and turns and a bit of water are all there. But it’s that other 20% that goes way, way, WAY off the beaten path. Whether it’s driving on old train tracks, what seems to be the remains of a rollercoaster, or through the innards of a downed jumbo jet, you get the feeling there was some drinking going on during the late night planning sessions for this game.
Now back to that helicopter carrying burning rings bit from earlier; ATVs in nail’d come equipped with a KITT-esque turbo boost, that not only allows you to fly with an appropriately cool “whooshing” sound and blurred background, but also recharges whenever you land certain tricks, or pass between posts (or through rings) of fire. The boost is especially helpful immediately following the numerous crashes you’re likely to be part of especially on the trickier courses.
The single-player campaign in nail’d is comprised of multiple race series in which you must finish first or second in order to advance through each series in order to move on to the next. Each series increases in difficulty to the point where after the first few series, I had to race some courses multiple times in order to consistently finish in the top 2. The increases in difficulty are gradual enough that my skill seemed to progress along with the courses.
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