In formative years, we’re always told not to judge a book by its cover; to dig deeper in order to determine what someone, or something, is really about. Thankfully Nail’d isn’t a book, because you can tell exactly what to expect just by a glance and Techland certainly makes no bones about it. Nail’d is an extreme sports styled arcade racer, featuring ATVs, Motor-cross bikes, and siiick jumps, all at a budget price. The question here is though, should we ignore some jank just because it’s ten bucks cheaper?
What we’ve got is a fairly straight forward racing title. You go fast and you try to win through a handful of different locales like snow covered mountains, logging camps, and Mediterranean sea-side escapes. All tracks feature tons of big jumps, alternate paths, and lots of danger waiting to NAIL you at every turn. Whenever you wipe out, the screen whites out and throws the game’s logo on the screen while you magically transport back to the track itself. You don’t ever see Lakitu, but you know he’s around there somewhere.
Standard modes, both multiplayer and single player events are present, with plenty of parts to unlock for your vehicle of choice and lots of color options. In an attempt to extend the life of the maps, they’ve added some other modes and a pair of mutators. Mutators will either give you full boost through the whole race, or turn off opponent collisions. While admirable in intent, they don’t deviate from the core enough to make them much more of a distraction from the race.
Take the ‘trick mode’ for example: You’re supposed to perform different actions, like a hit a perfect touchdown, max out your speed, pass through gates, or knock other racers into the wall. Each action will earn you points — and boost — but you really just want to beat everyone as finishing in first place will cause the score of your opponents to decrease over time. Yes, you still need points, but they’re generally easy enough to get without trying too hard. I personally would have liked to see more race mutators as the potential is there for plenty of mayhem.
You’ll experience all modes and mutations through the single player and be able to define whatever kind of race you want in the up-to-twelve-man multiplayer. Through my review process though, the most I ever got in a single race was four people. I attribute this to the unfortunate release window, but was happy to see people are still playing. There’s a potential here for a lot of fun with friends, specially when we’re talking about twelve players in a single race, but the single player runs a bit long in the tooth with multiple, multi-race events to pad out the end of the Nail’d Tournament.
This brings me to the jank. While the overall package is solid, the actual track definition seems to be wildly inconsistent. Despite the entire world appearing open, without actual side-walls, there’s a very specific path that you’ll need to remain on for fear of crashing and resetting. Sometimes you’ll hit a crazy jump and graze a fallen stone column with your rear tires on the way down, NAIL’D! Lightly tap a fallen tree the game didn’t want you to? NAIL’D! Alternatively, there are moments where you’ll get buried in a tree, stop completely, and be forced to press the vehicle reset button which flashes on the screen as if the game knows that it screwed up and wants you to know it as well.
In the end, Nail’d is an entertaining yet flawed experience. You won’t find much in terms of innovation here, but you will find plenty of mud, water, and breathtaking jumps through the spinning blades of giant windmills. Plus, there’s some Slipknot on the soundtrack. If that isn’t the definition of e’treme, I don’t know what is.
3.5 out of 5
Originally posted at Evil Avatar.