Nitronic Rush is an “experimental survival driving game developed by students at DigiPen Institute of Technology” and was released – for free – on the 11th of November.
That very brief description really doesn’t do the game justice; it feels a bit like Trackmania in many ways, but with a extra side helping of crazy (the good type of crazy). Oh, and ignore the “student” bit, the game really is very well put together, I’d say they clearly know what they are doing.
The car you drive is fitted with a turbo rocket, can jump, and has retractable wings and boosters that let you pitch and roll the car (oh, and the usual wheels, etc). Combined with the usual accelerator, brake and steering combo, it’s a slightly unusual mix, but it works well. The game does recommend that you use a connected Xbox controller, but I managed just fine with WASD and ↑←↓→.
Along each track you’ll use the car’s tricks to dodge walls, perform stunts, evade lasers, leap/fly across chasms, drive along walls and ceilings, evade spinning saws and various other bits of fun. Don’t be put off if all that sounds menacing – the difficultly ramps up at just the right rate if you follow the tracks in order, and you can quickly reset your car when you fall, so you won’t be pulling your hair out from the start (but might end up doing so if you try some of the challenge and stunt maps…).
The game looks really good too, with a bright Tron style look. Check out the trailer, you’ll see what I mean:
Now, while not usually to my tastes, the thumping music you hear in the trailer (which continues in the game) actually does fit really well. It doesn’t feel dull or repetitive, and sometimes it feels like the light in the environment even pulses slightly along to the beat; it’s quite engrossing when it all comes together. The voice-overs (when you complete a trick or fail) I could do without, as I find it a little irritating, but I suppose that they do fit the rest of the game’s aesthetic quite well, so I guess they can be excused.
Nitronic Rush is fun, fast, pretty, loud and a little bit brash. While you might not be playing it for very long, it’s certainly worth a quick look – especially since it is free to download!