Monster Trucks Nitro II Review

   15/04/2010 at 22:25       Richard Horne       2 COMMENTS. - Score 4/5
 - RedLynx, Monster Trucks Nitro II, Trials HD, Monster Trucks, ATV

Monster Trucks Nitro II is developer RedLynx’s latest foray into the iPhone game marketplace and follows hot in the heels of its most successful commercial - and critical - release to date, the OCD-inducing Trials HD.

Of course it goes without saying that we’re all hoping that somehow, someday, we’ll get some incarnation of the best Xbox Live Arcade of 2009 on the iPhone. But then Monster Trucks Nitro II proves that perhaps that’s not even viable, or actually even all that necessary.

MTN2 features the same side-on, “2.5D” viewpoint as Trials HD, but this time, as the title suggests, has you racing a whole host of monster trucks, pickups and 6-wheel ATVs. Basically anything you can get your hands on, that’s big, chunky and indestructible, with tyres bigger than a house. Races take the form of time trials against ghosted opponents. And there are twenty unique tracks, each of which has to be beaten three times against increasingly skilful opposition.

Focusing on monster trucks actually proves  to be a wise decision by RedLynx. Your vehicle is controlled using the accelerometer, with you tilting your iPhone to control your vehicle’s angle of approach. Acceleration is determined by a horizontal slider on the bottom of the screen. The further to the right you move it, the faster you’ll accelerate. Slide it to the far left to reverse. Monster trucks work so well in this context because accelerometer controls are inherently laggy. There’s always that very slight delay between the moment you realise you need to tilt to change your angle of approach and when that decision is actually registered on screen by your vehcile. With monster trucks being so robust, bouncy, imprecise and able to traverse pretty much any terrain, this counters the otherwise slightly loose controls, and actually turns the whole game into an extremely satisfying experience.

That control lag combined with the absolute precision and accuracy that’s required to play Trials HD to an acceptable standard probably means that such an absolute and exact game experience wouldn’t translate so well to the iPhone. A fact RedLynx has no doubt experienced for itself in its prototypes and is likely why we’ve not yet seen such an obvious money-maker.

But enough of Trials HD. With a fully 3D engine that runs smoothly and flawlessly with no slowdown even on my slower 2G iPhone, and its impressively detailed vehicle models, MTN2 is perfect for short, sharp, pick up and play sessions. With each race lasting around the one minute mark it’s also perfect for bite-sized play and improving your times as well as competing against your friends’ times, soon proves to be just as compulsive as it ever was.

As far as negatives go, Racing each course 3 times sometimes proves itself to be a drag and RedLynx might have been wiser to simply mix up the track order. There’s also the occasional glitch where your vehicle gets momentarily stuck on the scenery or  in-game obstacles, but to criticise too harshly would be nit-picking.

Monster Trucks Nitro II then, is yet another prime example of taking a simple concept, adding fun and unique controls and making a memorable experience that can be forgiven for its minor flaws. It’s cheaper than a pint of beer but actually much much messier.

Monster Trucks Nitro 2

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