Need for Speed: Nitro Review – Nintendo Wii – Look Ma, One Hand!

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Need for Speed: Nitro arrives as it’s own unique game made especially for the Wii.

It is incredibly different to other NFS games as it hopes to bring something special to the Wii instead of being a direct port from one of the other titles released by targeting a different type of gamer. How does this unique version stack up compared to not only the powerhouses like Mario Kart but to other Need For Speed games in general?

I broke out the Wii-mote and my little white plastic steering wheel and took it for a spin to find out.

Ok let’s get a few things out of the way first.

Yes, Need For Speed: Nitro plays kind of like Mario Kart because heaven forbid someone should make something different for the Wii. Also, no, it doesn’t feel like any other NFS title, so listen up.

I am over Need For Speed games. There, I said it. I miss playing an actual Need For Speed and have grown super tired of the same drab crap over and over again. Sure, Need for Speed: Shift has been well received but let’s be honest, it’s not a Need for Speed game, Hot Pursuit was a Need for Speed game, Shift is something else with the Need for Speed logo on the box.

Nitro on the other hand, is quite refreshing to be honest. The game is on the Wii, so the developers obviously wondered why they should make the game drab and opted for crazy looking cars with lots of colours, instead. I think it was a good move.

Now as I mentioned earlier, the game plays similarly to Mario Kart. To explain this quickly, the cars are not realistic at all, they do crazy drifts around every corner and boost as much as humanly possible.

One of the features that I liked most about the game is that instead of only using the usual driving setups (I played with the little plastic wheel as well), you can also actually play the game with just one hand. Point your Wii-mote at the screen, tilt left to steer left, tilt right to steer right and flick the remote for boost. Accelerating and breaking are done with a button and the trigger and drifts are initiated by taping brake. This control method actually works pretty well and allows you to eat a really large sandwich while tearing up the streets.

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The cars are all chunky and cartoony looking and also have customisation features such as vinyls stickers ( I only wish Forza 3’s paint mode used the Wii-mote after using this feature) and custom colours. Even better, you get to pick a graffiti theme along with it. The stickers used and the theme chosen get sprayed all over the environments if you are winning a racing, effectively letting you show that you own that piece of road. It’s all quite nifty and feels like it maintains a constant spirit of fun, right down to the whacky cutscenes.

There are a lot of modes in the game, with career taking you to different tracks to compete in events such as circuit racing ,speed traps, drift competitions are more. The game also features four player multiplayer as well and just like Mario Kart, will let you and your buddies duke it out.

You also have pick-ups in the game but to make things interesting, the cops are involved and certain pick-ups can be used to point the cops in an opponents direction, repair your car or lose some wanted levels, offering a different dynamic to the pick-ups element.

I want to shoot down the game for essentially feeling like Mario Kart with a different skin but with a fun vibe, an interesting and vibrant art style as well as the addition of the Need for Speed game modes and police chases, I found myself pleasantly entertained.

Scoring

Gameplay: 8.0

Mario-Kart-ish but with nifty one handed driving controls and cops

Presentation: 8.0

Great artwork makes for a fun looking title

Sound: 7.5

Nothing spectacular in this department

Value: 8.0

Varied career mode and different multiplayer options


Overall: 7.8

Not perfect but still surprisingly fun with a good vibe about it

Last Updated: November 16, 2009

Nick De Bruyne

Video games writer, editor and critic since '08. Living and breathing video games, movies and cars since the 80s. Follow me on Twitter if you love tons of gaming talk, and @pennyworthrevs for fun stuff and links.

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