Nail'd: Wipeout with quad bikes and a dash of SSX?

Racing games have had a bit of a comeback recently. Codemasters are kicking every imaginable variety of arse with Dirt 2 and Grid. Bizarre Creations has  'Mario Kart for grown-ups' on the way in the upcoming Blur. And Justin thinks Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing is the best thing ever (but he would). But it's been a while since a really crazy racer made a proper splash.

That could change at the end of this year when Techland's bonkers-looking bike and ATV racer Nail'd arrives. We had a short demo the other day, and can currently only describe it as a stout kick up the arse with a boot made from solid adrenaline. Well that's a lie. We can describe it using the following list of cool things as well...

It's terrifyingly fast

Above: This isn't even the steepest decline we've seen 

Nail’d is quick. Really, stupidly quick. To the degree that when we first saw a quad bike accelerate up to full speed, for a couple of seconds we genuinely thought the early preview code we were watching had glitched out.

Turns out it hadn’t. Nail’d really is supposed to move that fast. This isn’t an ATV simulation. It’s batshit arcade madness that might make you grip your pad so hard your knuckles burst through the skin, and force you to sit over a bucket at all times just in case your face should melt clean off. Just watching it was scary; the seat-of-the-pants flit between Yosemitie’s trees actually putting us in mind of the speeder bike chase from Return of the Jedi.

The jumps are big

Above: This guy could land any time between now and Hallowe'en 

If you played the still-outstanding SSX 3 last generation, you’ll know what a big drop really feels like in a racing game. Coasting along a slight the top of a mountain, you’ll notice the horizon looming up a little faster than expected, and them FWOOM! Everything’s gone and you soar, and then begin to tumble, with increasingly pant-twisting speed towards a ground level that’s around four miles below. Black Rock Studio's 2008 ATV game Pure pulled a similar trick, but Nail'd looks like a strong contender to take its 'SSX with engines' crown. 

The jumps we've seen in Nail's are ludicrous in scale, and like SSX, it doesn’t give you a free ride on the way down. You’ll have to conserve momentum throughout launch and landing to ensure a clean landing and a quick getaway. Which is going to be a challenge when you’re rattling through the air between boulders, trees and helicopters at nine-thousand miles per hour.

It's about racing, not tricks

Above: Comepetitor AI should make Nail'd an even greater test of nerve

Despite the speed and massive air potential, Nail’d is taking a very different direction from Black Rock's Pure. Rather than putting the emphasis on noodling around with tricks in the air, Nail’d is all about the race. It’s about taming the pace and rapid twists of the racetracks using sharp reactions and nerves made of titanium piano wire. No mid-air spin is going to make up for a lack of driving skills, Excite Truck-style. You stay on top of things or you die, simple as.

Everything is geared for intensity

Above: We predict a very big drop on the other side of this ridge. Very big 

Nail’d doesn’t want you to have it easy. On top of its eye-blistering speed (that’s three rather graphic Cronenbergian similes in one preview, we know, but hey, it’s Friday, indulge us), the tracks twist and turn like rollercoasters. We doubt we’ll see anything as gravity-defyingly twisted as in the likes of Wipeout and F-Zero, but despite the natural environments, the courses can and do change direction and verticality with just as much aggression and just as little warning as seen in those two sci-fi stalwarts.

Additionally, there’s no lap system. Instead, each race takes place on one very long course that takes minutes to complete. Again, it’s a very SSX technique, designed to increase tension, reduce familiarity, and make for a much bigger and more elaborately-paced ride. And again, if you’ve played SSX3, you already know how well it can work.

It's very pretty

Above: Forget grime and grit. Every colour in Nail'd pops off the screen 

Nail’d is coming from Techland, the same guys who make the Call of Juarez series. It uses the same tech employed to render Juarez sequel Bound in Blood, and that definitely shows. For all its ever-present rock and mud, Nail’d is one vibrant game, bursting with all of the colour and verve that Juarez’s open country sections displayed. Only moving a lot faster, obviously.


  • reveffect - May 14, 2010 8:07 p.m.

    personally i liked ssx 3 better than tricky and yes i have played both. on tour was meh and it didnt really feel like a true ssx game at all, especially when they changed the personalities of some of the original ssx characters so that they matched the rocker look that wasnt really needed. the way they changed kaori probably upset me the most but thats a minor complaint. anyways this game looks interesting and i will be keeping my eyes on it. and ea you better make a proper ssx 4 even though you guys arent reading this.
  • db1331 - May 14, 2010 4:58 p.m.

    Yeah the last one I played was XG3. My friend and I played co-op to no end, it was so much damn fun. I had it on the gamecube though. I should have guessed that Nintendo didn't have the rights to it. I never realized it was also out on PS2 htough. I still have it, I might have to dust if off and toss it in my Wii this weekend...
  • Clovin64 - May 14, 2010 4:21 p.m.

    This article made me want to buy this game simply by employing some choice descriptive phrases: "terrfyingly fast!" "Big Jumps!" "Its about racing, not tricks!" "very pretty!" "SSX!" Sounds like my kind of racer. I love the kind that makes you go so fast, you can't bear to look at the screen any more and you tingle all over with excitement and fear of WHAMMING straight into an obstacle! Can't wait! BTW, any news of a new SSX?
  • bluscorp - May 14, 2010 3:57 p.m.

    GRDavid: Hang on, was it the future motorbike game with a licenced ministry of sound soundtrack?
  • GR_DavidHoughton - May 14, 2010 3:49 p.m.

    Basically everything last gen. It's worth getting hold of Xtreme-G 3 if you've got a machine that will run it. It's a cracker.
  • bluscorp - May 14, 2010 3:28 p.m.

    I dont think i ever played extremeg, what console was it on?
  • GR_DavidHoughton - May 14, 2010 3:21 p.m.

    db: Alas, Xtreme-G was never a Nintendo game. The first one was just an N64 exclusive. Acclaim went bust after releasing Xtreme-G Racing Association (the follow-up to XG3) last gen, but according to Justin (I didn't play it myself) 'it wasn't very good'. The rights to Xtreme-G then passed to a Canadian publisher called Throwback Entertainment, but no new game has been mentioned, as far as we know. In fact we don't think they've released anything this generation.
  • db1331 - May 14, 2010 2:47 p.m.

    Yeah I don't understand why Nintendo hasn't released an Xtreme-G for the Wii yet. I mean I know they would bastardize it by making it compatible with the Mario Kart wheel and throwing in some game-breaking items to let casuals win races, but if there was an option to use a classic controller it could be awesome. Those games still have some of the best course design I have seen in any racer. You never forget seeing your first giant loop in the distance or going over your first huge drop. Add in a great online mode like in Mario Kart and you have a huge hit on your hands.
  • bluscorp - May 14, 2010 2:30 p.m.

    @grdavehoughton ok, cheers. I'm hoping for a new SSX tricky aswell, I use to like the song, lol.
  • GR_DavidHoughton - May 14, 2010 2:23 p.m.

    bluscorp: It's still pretty early at the min, but there's going to be a bigger showing at E3. Current release slate is for Q4 this year. db1331: So am I. Me and Justin talk about the potential of that on a weekly basis. And then sigh.
  • vinicusg.t.guedes - May 14, 2010 2:18 p.m.

    Too bad quad bikes doesn't go well with racing wheels, racing with the regular pad feels terrible after you have a g25.
  • sgtteddybear - May 14, 2010 2:17 p.m.

    You had me at a dash of SSX.
  • db1331 - May 14, 2010 2:12 p.m.

    Looks pretty MEH. I'm still waiting for an Xtreme-G reboot.
  • bluscorp - May 14, 2010 2:06 p.m.

    I'm deffinently getting that. Is there a demo coming out? And whens it getting released?

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