Mountain sides, dirt tracks, massive jumps, enormous drops, road rage - brilliant – you’re on to a winner straight away. And that’s Nail’d summed up nice and neat already. It smacks of adrenaline fueled fun!
Nail’d comes with the expected tournament mode, off-road mode (time trial, quick race, custom tournament), and online mode. So no surprises there. Typically, gaining medals in tournament mode allows you to advance through set competitions, unlock new locations for your races and compete in progressively tougher challenges. Winning a race in tournament mode also unlocks your customisable options but really there are so few it is hardly worth mentioning them. Ok, that’s not fair; a handful of bike components can be customised and you can unlock 4-5 types for each. You can also paint the bike components different colours and unlock a few custom paint jobs.
Nail’d gives the gamer a choice between a motocross bike or ATV quad bike (you can swap throughout) and a choice of male or female driver. That’s it. There are a couple of different colour themes for your outfit for you to pick from too. And that really is it – you are set up and ready to go.
The first cup of the tournament is set in Arizona so delivers a rocky barren desert landscape littered with the odd clump of trees. This doesn’t change much for the proceeding landscapes - they all have huge rocky outcrops, deep ravines and plenty of trees and rocks to get in your way. The various race locations that become available as you progress through the tournament - Yosemite National Park, Greece and The Andes – do look different to one another and provide some variety with damp forests, icy peaks and sandy dunes each with befitting ancient ruins, derelict towns and disused railway tracks to decorate the landscape.
Techland haven’t tried anything complicated with Nail’d; the whole point is to fling yourself around crazy landscapes, trying to avoid the vast array of obstacles determined to send you flying as you battle for the finish line. Sure no bother! At the vehicle’s normal speed that is. But Nail’d gives us boost fueled ATV’s and motocross bikes and when really going for it you move at a pace that makes your eyes weep. And occasionally leaves you with absolutely no idea where you’re supposed to go next.
Overall Nail’d feels familiar; you know what you are going to get from the minute you load it and hear the fast paced heavy rock music and flick through the basic options menu. It is after all a console game and it feels like it too. I guess Nail’d has its place on the PC but really only as throw away fun with limited shelf life. The second I started playing Nail’d it felt like picking up a PS2 game from a few years back, and for me, like a slightly shoddy SSX follow up. It even looks like an SSX game but unfortunately comes with far fewer customisable options and lacks the trick pulling, stunt performing joy that you’d expect.
My PC should have been able to handle Nail’d – it easily meets the system requirements - but it struggled on base settings. Lots of crashes, lots of restarts. Most of my issues occurred when I held boost for a sustained amount of time; not sure whether I can blame Nail’d or my system for this but it does sour the experience as boost-tastic-tactics are instrumental to winning, especially in the ‘constant boost’ races! That said, it really is very fast in places and the scenery flies so quickly passed you that maybe my graphic card could be the thing needing the boost…
When, as will inevitably happen, you are unsuccessful in steering clear of the many rocks and trees that litter your route, Nail’d’s rag doll physics propels you from your chosen bike in a blatantly unrealistic fashion. Nail’d doesn’t have, nor does it need, super slick graphics – simple fun game play is what it’s about. Nail’d hasn’t been designed to feel sensible like a proper racing game with true-to-life cars and huge numbers of customisable parts. It doesn’t need you to brake at the right points and steer clear of other drivers – it wants you to smash up your opponents, it wants you to drive like a maniac and it couldn’t care less if you drive across loose rocks and stones as you do so. All of the races consist of multiple routes, some with jumps, others with falls, some avoiding trains and others avoiding giant windmills, and it’s down to you to find the quickest way to the finish line.
There isn’t much skill involved in Nail’d; the tactic of holding down the accelerator most of the time works a treat - but its simplicity is all part of its joy. There are road rage moments though; it’s not uncommon to smash headlong into a bolder and respawn in a position that heads you straight into another bolder, and sometimes another, and another. I slipped from first to last as a result of this on a number of occasions which definitely puts a dampener on the overall enjoyment!
Nail’d delivers plenty of fun, but there are plenty of things to shout at too – I certainly got frustrated, I certainly shouted at my computer but when it is working at its best and allows you to cream it past the finish line in first place having plunged off a huge cliff and boosted passed your competitors, the satisfaction factor is certainly there, in that arcade game kind of way.