Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D is a significant title for many reasons. For starters, it has an unbelievably long name but its name is well chosen. It definitely features Crash and his buddies in the game from the platform titles of yesteryear. The game is definitely in 3D – yes , 3D graphics for the iPhone. And of all things, no one will mistake it for anything other than a console kart racing game replete with weapons, zany tracks and a rocking soundtrack.
To control vehicles in Nitro Kart 3D, the developers have taken advantage of the iPhone’s tilt sensors. Essentially to steer the vehicle you tilt the iPhone left or right. To do a powerslide you have to press a finger when you enter into the turns. It takes awhile to get used to this mechanic but effectively it looks like what they pull off in The Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift. On the other hand, acceleration is automatic and you don’t have to do anything to get the gas pedal going. This creates less control for driver but with the sliding and the tilt controls for steering, you’ve got plenty to do already.
Like any racer, there are plenty of tracks and modes to unlock. When you start the game, you’ll likely do the quick races until you get a hang of things. When you do become proficient, there is a Story mode, which basically takes away your freedom of choosing vehicles and opponents by creating set races. The story isn’t very engrossing so you’re not missing out if you continue with freestyle play. There’s also a tournament mode known as Cup races which have you compete in a best of series amongst four tracks.
I don’t think anyone can say Nitro Kart 3D is a groundbreaking game in terms of gameplay. However, on the iPhone, the visuals definitely look sharp. This will be a game you’d want to show off to your friends even if they can’t finish a lap on their own. The colors pop out at you although the texture detail reminds me of the PSX days. However, it should be noted that not all is well with the performance of the game. I found I had to turn off and turn on my iPod completely a few times to shake out the kinks in order to get the best framerate from the game.
Nitro Kart 3D is more fun than serious of the racing games available for iPhone. Crash fans will undoubtedly love it. It is definitely a showcase piece, although the lack of downloadable cars, ghost racers or multiplayer prevents the game from being automatically inducted into the iPhone’s small but growing hall of fame titles.