As the title's improper spelling suggests, this is a game made by people who spent their youth listening to Papa Roach records and drawing tattoo designs on their food technology exercise books. nail'd is the very definition of the phrase "too cool for school".
Pitched as a racing game, it's ironic (and kind of awesome) that you spend more time soaring through the air than you do tackling hair-pin bends in nail'd. This is a game that would rather see you leaping over aeroplanes (carrying banners with the words "EXTREME" emblazoned across them, of course) than drifting through the mud. nail'd's outrageous track design and comic book physics are universally the best components of the game.
nail'd is broken down into a series of cups and events across a single-player campaign that lasts roughly six hours. The game also includes local and online multiplayer, as well as time trials and custom events.
The first thing that's instantly appealing about nail'd is its complete disregard for actual driving. While nail'd carries all the hallmarks of a traditional arcade racing game — lap times, position jostling, drifting — you actually spend just as much time flinging your quad-bike or motorcycle (you can choose either) through the air. To say the game includes some big jumps is to undersell it. The whole game is big jumps. It's made super satisfying by the lavish amount of after touch the game affords you while in the air. You can really soar, and position your land right down to the millimetre. And it's fun. MotorStorm's best tracks always include one killer jump in them. In nail'd, the whole game is like that.
nail'd's tracks are the most contrived, physics defying helter-skelters we've ever experienced in a video game. They are the kind of circuits you wish you had the patience to create in Modnation Racers but never bothered. Taking place in a number of settings — Arizona, Greece, etc — the tracks take you through topsy-turvy canyons and across mountains. nail'd scraps the real-life rule book and opts for brilliantly convoluted tracks with multiple pathways. For as downright silly as nail'd's circuits get, the developers did an amazing job plotting the paths. We rarely found ourselves going the wrong way ending up off the circuit. It's quite an achievement, because we really can't stress enough how bonkers nail'd's tracks are.
The entirety of nail'd is a set-piece, but every now and then the game does throw an even bigger "pay attention" moment just to remind you how crazy it is. Jumping over runaway trains, driving around crashing planes, and hopping over three-or-four small aircrafts all registered on our GOOD GRIEF-ometer. We're a little disappointed none of nail'd's jumps sent you hurtling over the moon though. Missed opportunity that. Maybe they're saving it for nail'd 2?
nail'd is not a good looking game. It's particularly poor actually. The graphics are unbelievably blurry and the frame-rate, while solid, has an unusual head-ache inducing jitter to it. The game's just not clear in any regard. It has some pretty moments on the snow-capped stages, but still it looks like the visual output of the game's been smeared with vaseline. It's just messy.
Adding insult to the visual issues, nail'd also has a really unusual colour palette. Over-saturated oranges and murky greens are not attractive. Also, why does the colour have to drain everytime the boost button is used? Given the nature of nail'd's gameplay, the boost is imperative. It's a weird decision to have the colour sucked from the game every ten seconds.
When you're hurling through the air, nail'd controls like an absolute dream. When you're on the ground? Less so. The controls are twitchy and a little bit erratic causing some errors that could have been prevented with tighter tuning.
Not so much a criticism and more a formal complaint this one. We've established the fact that nail'd is a "totally bogus, mad rad" package at this point in the review, right? So what's going on with the AI drivers' names? We expected to be racing against the likes of Slash and Brea, not Charles, Frank and Emma. Come on guys, give us a break.
nail'd is a nauseating and headache inducing experience, but that seems to be the whole point. The game's an adrenaline accumulating roller-coaster ride of big air and, well, even bigger air. Performance-wise the title may struggle, but its many set-pieces are exhilarating each and every time they occur. nail'd may lack the polish of a competing franchise such as MotorStorm, but its heart is absolutely in the right place.