I have always enjoyed top down racers. The sense of speed, the tactical gameplay, and often really well implemented controls have made Super Sprint, R.C. Pro-Am, SuperCars II and Rock N’ Roll Racing classics. Now Bravo Games try to re-invent the genre without a real controller with Touch Racing Nitro. Some aspects of the game are spot on, but the controls don’t give enough precision to make it a contender.
The controls are marketed as “do you think you can race with one finger?”. Actually you can, but you can’t win as it becomes really hard. To steer you have to touch the left side of the screen to accelerate in that direction. To turn you have to touch the opposite side, thus the right side of the screen to make a turn from going to the left. This means that to be able to really get some flow in the game you have to play with two fingers. Sure only one is on the screen at a time, but the other needs to be on immediate standby. The further out on the screen you hold your finger, the faster you go. This is indicated in the top left as a bar.
There is a definite sense of speed in Touch Racing Nitro, but as you don’t have any kind of brake at least I tend to go off the track. Perhaps I am bad at learning the controls, but after weeks of playing the game I think I ought to have “got” it. Sadly I haven’t, and playing the game makes me tense as every corner can mean that I go from first to last in the race. Double tapping the top middle of the screen you can reset the car. This means that you have to lift one of your hands, and if the reset isn’t in the direction you anticipate it means you loose even more time. I would really like to see a keypad control option for Touch Racing Nitro. The current controls scheme come off as gimmicky, and after the first fun with it the reality hits hard.
The presentation is great with nicely detailed indoor R.C. tracks, and outdoor monster truck tracks. The cars look, and behave like their real life counterparts. The music is some nicely mixed techno with definite Rebirth influences. Not overly aggressive but rather laid back, and happy. Engine sounds, tire shrieks and heavy landings sound convincing.
The two game modes available are enough to give the game a proper game life. Even if you aren’t as inept as me at controlling the tournament mode is definitely meaty. Unlockable tracks, cars and cups give the completionist some challenge.
Touch Racing Nitro could be a great game as it has got great presentation, music and content. Sadly it only offers a quite gimmicky control method, and it needs some more standard way to steer as an option. My recommendation is to wait, and see if the game is updated with a digital pad or even arrows for control. Now if someone would bring me a port of Rock N’ Roll Racing so I could race properly.
Touch Racing Nitro $3.99
Seller: Bravo Games