Nail'd is, in a word, extreme. In this off-road racing game, you share the sky with jumbo jets, leap over speeding trains, and ride along platforms suspended in the air by helicopters. These experiences do provide some adrenaline-drenched excitement, but Nail'd is not a white-knuckle racer where your every move is crucial. Loose physics and the inconsistent way your vehicle reacts to collisions with the environment make Nail'd more of a passive and often frustrating experience where you're just along for the ride. A weak boost system and speedy but strangely unconvincing visuals put an additional damper on the excitement. Falling hundreds of feet through the air is fun the first few times, but without a solid game to support them, the cheap thrills that Nail'd offers are quickly forgotten.
6284792NoneCatching big air on these crazy tracks is exciting, but that's about all Nail'd has going for it.
The visuals in Nail'd are built for speed. The forests, mountains, caverns, and rock formations you race around and through are beautiful, and when you hold down the accelerator, the scenery flies past you at an alarming rate. This sense of speed certainly grabs your attention, but there's something about it that feels off, as if you're watching recorded footage being played back on fast-forward rather than actually moving insanely fast. This artificial quality is unnerving and makes you feel oddly removed from the action. Your feelings about the soundtrack will depend on whether you appreciate the hard rock stylings of bands like Slipknot and Queens of the Stone Age, but they fit well with the premise. The engines of your vehicles have a satisfying rumble, but the high-pitched whine you hear whenever you boost quickly becomes irritating.
Nail'd doesn't so much play fast and loose with the laws of physics as it just tosses them out the window. Whether you enter any given event on a motorcycle or an ATV, the sensation is more one of floating along the track than of navigating rough terrain, and there are stretches where you can almost get away with just holding down the gas and letting the curves in the track carry your racer along. This looseness makes races too much like roller coasters where you're just along for the ride. The huge jumps and vertigo-inducing plummets on each course are enough to make experiencing them thrilling once or twice, but you rapidly come to wish for something that demanded a little more of you.
The loose physics also make the game's boost system largely uninvolving. You earn boost for driving through gates scattered about the track, which is easy. You can also perform so-called boost feats like landing smoothly from jumps, completing sections of the race without wrecking, and steering yourself through rings of fire as you fly through the air. These require a bit of effort on your part, and as a result, you can feel good when you pull them off. But some so-called feats are things that often just happen at random due to the physics, such as passing through curves or tunnels with your ride momentarily upside down. You're also encouraged to smash your opponents to earn boost, but at the speeds that you and the other racers are scurrying around, deliberately crashing into your opponents is very difficult, and when it does happen, there's no sense of impact to make these smashes satisfying. (A Burnout game, this is not.) It's hard to tell if you've merely bumped into an opponent or successfully smashed him until you see the word Terminator appear along with a contribution to your boost gauge.
And it burns, burns, burns. The ring of fire.