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

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 itusing 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 thedegree 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 makeyou 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 itwas 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.

David Houghton
Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.