Saturday, April 18, 2015

Nitro Nation Stories - App Review

Nitro Nations Stories app for Android is a cool drag racing game with high quality graphics, decent action and a stilted plot. Think Fast and Furious Legacy, but not quite as slick. This one’s good fun if you're willing to invest the time or kick in some real money to help speed things along. (continued)

 Official App Store Links: Apple iOS | Android

Nitro Nations Stories aims to be a balls to the wall, go for broke sorta drag racing game. It checks off all the right boxes and hits all the bullet points, but still comes off a tad sluggish and unrefined. I suspect that’s by design and aimed at encouraging you to visit the garage and earn some upgrades or outright pay for them. I think that tact is fine and dandy, but not at the expense of sacrificing quality play. We all know that a 100k sports car is gonna handle better than a 15k hatchback, but that doesn’t mean the wee-weedoo hatchback shouldn’t scream like a banshee and make me feel some G’s. It also makes for a better bait and hook to give your players a taste of what your game can really do up front, so in short, I’m giving this one the benefit of the doubt that the handling, precision controls and the illusion of speed all get better as the game goes along and upgrades are accumulated.

The play itself follows a loose plot that’s often peppered with stilted dialog that will make anyone with the maturity of an adult cringe. It all goes for a very underworld, anti-establishment, down on “the man” sorta attitude. The Fast franchise plays the same tact, but with expert Hollywood writing that at least makes it all come off very slick and chic. The good news is, the plot means nothing to the game really, so long as you don’t mind delivering the odd package without asking any questions, capiche?

The meat and potatoes of the play, the drag racing, is lively and energetic overall, but again, feels a tad held back. The controls use directional arrows for left and right lane changes, and a virtual gas pedal on the lower right; both felt a tad spongy. The gas petal is replaced by a gearshift icon once the race gets rolling, and all you gotta worry about is shifting and steering. Watch the horizontal RPM meter along the bottom of your screen and hit the shift icon at the precise moment for optimal acceleration. It’s hard to get the revs just right for a perfect launch at the start because the RPM needle flops like a flailing fish, but I got lucky a couple times and hit a couple perfect starts. Scoring perfect shifts while racing is challenging but doable. The funnest part of the racing, was the combative style against your opponent; side swipes and bumper kisses are encouraged.

The graphics feature a hybrid of CGI realism and iconic pop art that’s pleasing to the eye, and at times, stunning. The biggest flaw in the visuals is the high noon style lighting which is the most unforgiving and shows all flaws.  Fast & Furious and CSR Racing both take place at night, where you can create the illusion of pristine graphics much easier, along with eye catching wet asphalt that reflects the light, and lens flares that twinkle off candy coated paint jobs. The visuals here are great, just not as good as the other two apps. The animation is top notch, rendering the illusion of speed well, despite the sluggish controls. The sounds go for a mix of realism and a Gen-X score that’s catching without grating on the nerves over time. Make no mistake, the demographic here is young.

Nitro Nation Stories app for Android is top notch but still has room for improvement. It’s all nitpicky stuff at this point, but if you wanna compete with the greats, then those battles are won and lost in the details. My best advice with games like this, is pick one you like and stick with it. That way you sink your time, and possibly some money, into developing one game and dominating the field, rather than spreading yourself thin and sucking at most everything.



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