If you want to find racing action on iOS, there’s a whole lot to choose from. Nitro is the newest addition to the App Store, and it’s all about head to head races. The entire game feels a bit similar to CSR Racing, but with complex tracks instead of just drag racing. Nitro delivers the freemium game model, circuit battles with various foes, and the previously mentioned head to head style. The main distinguisher is the online multiplayer allowing five live opponents to race through Game Center connectivity.
Nitro delivers fast paced arcade action allowing you to spin around curves without slowing down, and there are also speed boosts for drifting. Each race is just one lap that takes about a minute or two, and you just try to finish ahead of your single opponent. The cars can pass right through one another, so you need to just outrace your opponent. One of the best parts of the game is the track design that includes great curves, forking pathways, and intricate overall pathways. All of the action is also delivered with high quality 3D graphics with cartoonish flair.
There’s also a deluxe upgrade system with each track filled with parts including plastic, steel, and fiberglass which you can use to build new engines, shocks, and spoilers for your car. There’s definitely a lot of included content with the unlockable head to head circuit races, tons of new cars, and the online multiplayer component. With that said, it doesn’t matter how much is included, if the gameplay doesn’t entice you to keep playing. Head to head races can be quite boring, and in Nitro most of your time feels like just a time trial rarely seeing your opponent. The game seems to be set-up for six car races with back, and forth kart racing style action, but sadly that’s not the case.
The game has a lot going for it with the 3D visuals, ornate tracks, and plenty of content, but the gameplay comes up short. It’s a rather passive experience riding along the desolate track, and each race seems to blend together with updates dictating success, and failure. The five player online component is one redeeming factor, and the style should be applied to the single player campaign. Also, as good as the visuals are of the cars and foreground, the background texture is that poor. The freemium model is also problematic as it’s too much like CSR Racing with a fuel tank which can limit the amount of time you can play. Each race costs 2 gallons, and your tank only holds 12, so you will need to spend money to keep playing after that. All of the other IAP options feel optional, but the fuel tank really gets in the way.
Nitro (Free, Universal) looks promising, but just isn’t firing on all cylinders leaving you with a relatively bland experience that misses the essence of what racing is all about. There just isn’t much action going on, and every single race blends together into a monotonous drive. Nitro is one to skip as it just doesn’t deliver its namesake.