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Review Nitro Nation Online: Sixty-foot time sweet spot

Sixty-foot time is a term used in drag racing to describe the time it takes a vehicle to cover the first sixty feet of the race track. It is usually also an indication of how fast the rest of the race will go for the driver. Nitro Nation Online provides such a challenge that you want to hit that sixty-foot time sweet spot with every race. It's addictive, fun and extremely fulfilling to master.

Creative Mobile Games is not new to mobile racing, Drag Racing, the previous title, set a high bar for the genre, and Nitro Nation Online, builds upon its predecessor in every possible way. Nitro Nation Online pushes the pedal to the metal by delivering upgraded graphics, a wealth of customization options and deep, addictive gameplay that is fun and rewarding.

Gameplay and modes – Addicted to speed

The premise of drag racing is relatively simple, get to the checkered line faster than your opponent and in Nitro Nation Online that is exactly what you need to do with a simplistic set of controls that are quiet difficult to master. Once you've conquered the controls you will experience fast and addictive gameplay.

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Here is how every single race is done: Tap the petal on your right hand side and the countdown timer starts. Try to hit a perfect launch by getting your revolutions per minute (RPM) into the sweet spot as the countdown hits 0. After that you tap the shift button every time the RPM meter gets into that sweet green spot and use your nitro with the tap of a button on your left hand side.

The gameplay sounds easy, though I can assure you hitting that perfect launch and especially the first shift is quiet difficult to master. The way every car differs or a single car is play after being upgraded with new parts also changes, so you have to constantly adapt after every few races.

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During my time with Nitro Nation Online, I participated in over 100 races and it simply kept being fun. Even at the end I still missed a perfect launch or a first shift at times, so it really is difficult to master, while the different modes kept me coming back for just one more race.

Game Modes – Bring on the bragging rights

The story challenge mode gives the game a sense of progression as you build up from a young driver wanting to join the International Drag Racing Association (IDRA) to the top dog of a Racing Club (RC) in the drag racing world, while underground racing and wagers add some excitement and street racing lets you race against other players.

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Racing against the game’s AI in story challenge mode is kept fresh with a touch of personality added to the racers, done by simply showing a picture of them and a relatively large quote where they taunt you. During the story challenge mode you also unlock crew members, who help you in a number of ways, from giving you double the winnings for a certain amount of races per day to helping you test drive your new car, showing you exactly when to shift or use your nitro.

The absolutely best mode for me is the street race and tournament races, where you can compete against other real players in a rubber burning battle. These street races and tournaments, coupled with extensive leader boards adds a very important aspect to the world of drag racing; the ability to show off and bragging rights, which is one of the main reasons I believe people drag race in real life and why I kept playing the game and upgrading my cars with the vast customization system.

Customization and In App Purchases – A wealth of options

Nitro Nation Online has over 50 cars that you can purchase and a wealth of customization options that increase the speed and power of your car or just make it look better. Adding decals, a shiny new coat of paint or an even a few racing stripes seemed a bit unnecessary for me at the start, until a player with an awesome metallic blue Subaru BRZ crushed me in a street race and proceeded to taunt me over the game’s in game mailing system.

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There is however, one problem with the vast customization system, where you can upgrade very part of your car with hard earned race winnings to make it go faster. You simply have to upgrade every 1-2 races in the story challenge mode in order to compete and advance.

Even if you do a perfect launch, nitro usage and hit every single shift you will still lose if you do not keep upgrading. This might not seem like much of a problem, until you realize later on that you have to grind away 4-5 unavoidable losses just to upgrade your car a bit, which makes the game feel like a grind at times.

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In App Purchases (IAP) further amplify the problem a bit, as street races are filled with people who have bought some coins, thereby upgrading their cars much faster than I could possibly do. To the game’s credit, they never throw IAP purchases directly into your face and never forces you to buy something, not buying just means you need to play more.

Customization is further enhanced by in game achievements, of which there are over 80. Some achievements are easy, like winning your first race or purchasing your first Mazda as an example. Winning a whole tournament is a much harder achievement, though it comes with a reward, for example a blueprint for a custom part, a sweet decal or even in one instance a brand new ride!

Graphics and Sound – Beauty comes at a cost

The game has vastly upgraded graphics and sound from the original Drag Racing, sporting over 50 beautifully detailed cars and three different race tracks varying in length. The graphical elements, from a great night time drive showing off amazing lightning effects to a daytime race track with glare, reflections and beautiful colors delivers a great visual experience.

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The club style music amped me up and got me in the mood to burn some rubber every single time while the cars sound realistic, delivering a great audio experience. A new and improved physics engine creates a very real drag racing experience, as the cars handle exactly like they are suppose to and I could feel every upgrade really matter.

Unfortunately, the great graphics and sound come at a somewhat steep cost. Loading times in Nitro Nation Online are quite long and very much a part of everything you do. Going to the garage to upgrade your vehicle takes about 5-10 seconds depending on the mobile gaming device you use, while just going to the world map also takes around 5 seconds.

As the races, especially later on, do not take more than 12 seconds each, the loading time between races actually became more than the gameplay time, which broke the immersion that the beautiful graphics and sound created in the first place, which made the game feel more like a grind than it really should.

Closing Thoughts

Nitro Nation Online is a great drag racing game and builds upon its predecessor in every single way. Fast and addictive gameplay makes for a fun gameplay experience, while the fast customization options add a layer of addiction to the game. Racing with other players and climbing the leader boards is by far the game’s best aspect for me.

There is however some glaring problems that keep the game from receiving an even higher score. Having to lose a few races every time just to gain some money to upgrade and progress further makes the game feel like a grind and this is compounded with loading times that exceed gameplay time. That being said, the game is still the most addictive and fun racing game I have played on my mobile gaming device and is sure to give players countless hours of fun.

Nitro Nation Online has been recently released for Android and iOS devices. The game is free to download and can be found on the Playstore here and iTunes here. It requires a relatively small download of around 86mb as well as Android OS version 2.2 and up, so it works on a wide variety of devices. During my time with the game I used my Nexa Orion 10.1, a powerful yet affordable Quad Core 10 Inch Tablet to show off, customize and drag race through the streets of Nitro Nation Online.

Score: 8.5 / 10  

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