Just in case Monster Trucks and Nitrous wasn’t enough the first time round, RedLynx are at it again with their sequel… originally titled Monster Trucks Nitro 2!
For those who haven’t played the first game, Monster Trucks Nitro is a side-scrolling race game crossed with platformer. The object is to beat the ghost truck in a sprint from point A to point B across various levels. There are leagues of varying difficulty, each with four levels to beat. Each of these tracks are broken down further still into three difficulties called sprints. You have the Sunday sprint, the Top sprint and finally the Champion sprint. As you complete each you are awarded money to spend on unlocking/playing later and more challenging leagues and levels to sprint through. While the first league is free, later levels require an entry fee, fail and you lose that cash… win though and you’ll win a generous cash prize.
Each level generally comprises of an assault course of sorts, made up of scrap vehicles and other objects designed to get in your way. It’s your job then to scramble your truck through the obstacles and get to the finish line before the ghost can. Along the way you pick up nitro capsules for a boost and you can also earn extra nitro boosts by pulling off flips. Large ramps are set up through the levels which combined with a nitro pick up will see your trucks float like a butterfly over large gaps. When airborne it’s all about pulling off loop the loop type flips and landing safely in order to get extra boosts to give your truck the upper-hand against the computer controlled ghost truck.
Control of your vehicle is accelerometer based, and acts a little like an aircraft. Your truck moves through the level from left to right, so tilting you device will cause your truck to rise up on it’s rear wheels, useful for clearing obstacles such as oil drums and scrap cars. This is also necessary for ramp jumps, and continued tilting will cause a flip. Tilt right and you’ll put your truck in a nose dive when airborne, or when on the ground will help your truck stick to the road. For speed you have a touch based gear slider, this allows you to tap in three positions along the bottom of the screen for reverse, slow and full speed… though I rarely found a need for either slow or reverse.
To me the controls feel a little off, perhaps it’s the extreme physics of the trucks themselves, but at times they feel a little loose, and it’s hard to accurately predict how your truck will react… something that is important in a game such as this. Later levels require you to angle your truck to land on a hard to reach platform, but the truck won’t always consistently behave the way you’d like, resulting in a necessary restart to avoid being beaten by the ghost car.
Speaking of which, the ghost car, while visible as a wireframe along the track, doesn’t physically affect your truck. I understand why, but in game of extreme monster trucks and over the top physics, it would have been nice to scramble and duel a physical truck within a level. While I do state that the controls are a little lacklustre, the game itself isn’t particularly hard… with some levels proving more frustrating than challenging.
Graphically the game looks pretty good in motion, and the whole game has great presentation throughout, from the full voice overs in the menus, in game music, detailed levels, special effects and the crazy physics of the truck models themselves…. it’s certainly a polished title.
However, for me, gameplay wise, it doesn’t quite hit the nail on the head. It feels a bit slow paced at times, even sluggish. With you impatiently waiting for your truck to land safely and grip the ground before accelerating onward. Often you feel like a bystander, and not in full control of you truck at all, and this can be frustrating for a game that, with the word ‘Nitro’ in the title, should be more hectic and fast paced.
Don’t get me wrong it is a well made game, but for me all the elements don’t quite gel together for a great game. So, unless you have a penchant for monster trucks, I’d instead recommend Jet Car Stunts for all your crazy stunt based, racing needs.
Monster Trucks Nitro 2 is out now for iPhone and iPod Touch for $2.99