I was excited when I was asked to review nail'd for Gamers Nexus. I love this style of racing game: it's the kind where you're not really given any consequences for doing the stuff that would outright kill a normal human being. You might lose a couple seconds off of your lap time if you drive at 90 mph into a tree, but not much more. I've never been able to sit down with a Gran Turismo styled-game and enjoy it as much as others; I can see the appeal, but it's just not for me. Nail'd is a different story altogether -- at least as far as the back of the box would make me believe.
The very first thing that came to my attention on loading up the game was that there's not much to do: there's a tournament mode and online play, and after that there's pretty much nothing. I was a little impressed to see the amount of events available in tournament mode; it's not a mode that you're not really going to finish in a single sitting, unless that sitting lasts for at least a day. The downside to the sheer amount of events is that they don't change much from race-to-race, so that widely known feeling of repetition quickly sinks in. The tracks have multiple paths for the player to choose on their race to the finish line, but the alternatives don't really add anything to the feel of the game; they don't enable you to shave valuable seconds off of your potential lap time, and they're no more difficult than the normal path, they just seem a little redundant.
The gameplay itself is an arcade racer through-and-through, all the way down to button-sized dimple you get from never letting go of the accelerator. At the time of writing this review, I haven't lost a race, having beaten them all in my first go, and not once have I even let my finger drift off of the accelerate button. It's literally as simple as this: the announcer says "GO!" -- and you smash that button down and go as fast, and as hard, as you can and keep going until the end of the race. 99% of the time you won't come in any position other than first, either. I'm all for an arcade racing game, but there's got to be some semblance of challenge in there to make the game fun to play, that's not there with nail'd. The only thing that really makes it fun to play are the jumps and stunts that you're able to do while racing. Most of the fun I had came from attempting to drive my ATV through little rings of fire that recharge your boost meter. Take those away and I'm pretty sure there would be nothing left to enjoy here. Which is a shame, really.
The visuals in nail'd are lackluster and uninspired. The scenery and background are nice, and they're really nice when you're soaring through the air, about to come crashing back down to terra firma, but in general they're just not quite there. The vehicles look blocky and a bit bland while the tracks just look like a single area has been created and then copied and pasted to cover the length that the track needs to be. This gives some of the tracks feel like they're never ending, which would turn a lot of players off. On top of all this the track itself is sometimes a little hard to make out with all the scenery in the way. Too many times did I think that I could go a certain way only to be told that I couldn't by seemingly randomly respawning into the middle of the track.
I did have fun playing nail'd but it was only fun that I created for myself by trying to beat my times, trying to get through the flaming rings and just seeing how high I could jump in the air. It's a little disappointing because it feels like there's a game underneath all the excess, and it's a real shame because I think that this particular game would have been something worth talking about. As it stands nail'd isn't really going anyway fast. It's OK for a race or two but the lack of split screen multiplayer means that it's not even a game that you can get your friends around to play on a drunken night of gaming.