I love racing games, I have been a big fan of racing games since I started playing video games so many years ago. To me though, I have always felt that there has been a growing divide between the arcade game and the simulation racing game, and that the truly arcade side of racing has gone missing in recent years. Today we are checking out a game that brings arcade racing back, in Nitrobike for the Nintendo Wii. Does this game bring back memories of the arcade racing golden days? Read our full review to find out!
Ubisoft has talked a lot about how they want to bring quality content to the Wii. This comes after a blitz of gaming blogs just hounding on many of the Wii titles at the end of 2007, claiming that developers are literally just throwing content on the field hoping that people will just pick it up. One of the first games of 2008 for the Wii from Ubisoft is Nitrobike, which as mentioned earlier is one of the few arcade racing titles for the Wii platform, coming from the developers who did Excite Bike 64 for the Nintendo 64 quite a few years ago.
So similar to what Left Field Productions did in Excite Bike 64 and that is take a very simplistic and easy to access game and just run with it. Nitrobike’s strongest feature is the fact that it doesn’t go for too much but keeps things basic, simple, and yet exciting. Nitrobike is obviously going head to head with Nintendo’s launch title for the Wii, Excite Truck one of the few arcade racing games to hit the Wii, but does it exceed the expectations set by Excite Truck?
The gameplay itself like I mentioned earlier is pretty simplistic, however the controls do take some time to get used to. Just like in Excite Truck from Nintendo, the controls offer control while you’re in the air as well as a few other various uses. The controls however are a bit more "sticky", they don’t have as much of a loose easy going feel as you would hope, but instead makes things a bit more rigid.
The course design is my big issue with the game. Things are far too tight in the game, there needed to be a much more open feel to the experience, something that would have aired out the game a bit. Like I said at the onset of the review, arcade games are great when they are simple, and a lot of what this game is simple, but the track designs are also a bit more frustrating and not necessarily as exciting as they could have been.
The game’s multiplayer is where the bulk of the entertainment from this game is going to come. The easy pick up and play aspect of the game is really one of its strongest suits, offering you the ability to go through the experience with a friend in a laid back yet enjoyable approach. The end result of this game is that the ideas/concepts are there, but the execution is not as solid as we hoped.
Once again the concepts of the visuals were all there, and you can see the underlying of what would be a good looking title, but once again the execution wasn’t necessarily that impressive. The camera is a bit of an issue, giving at times some off the wall angles that don’t necessarily translate that well into the race. I would also say that just the overall arcade feel of the game wasn’t necessarily translated all that nicely into the visual experience of the game.
As mentioned earlier, I am a big fan of arcade racing games, and for Nitrobike it doesn’t necessarily accomplish what I think it intended to. First and foremost, the experience although simple, wasn’t necessarily satisfying. The competition in the game (AI) made some pretty lackluster decisions throughout, and made the competition not as exciting to compete against as well. Overall I enjoyed my time with the game it just didn’t do anything to really get you excited to want to come back for more.
Nitrobike is a good idea, it does a lot of things right, but it isn’t the final product I think Left Field Productions wanted it to be. Even with the simplistic feel of the game you still get the feeling that there could have been a lot more the developers could have done to make this an even better game.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.