Celeste Dobropolski On January 4, 2010 at 11:59 am

When recommending Wii games, I usually have a few questions for the person first.  The initial warm up routine goes something like, "How old is the person who will be playing this game, and will they be playing it with others?"  It’s usually the Nintendo developed games that blur the lines for types of Wii gamers, but I was surprised by the discovery of a recent Electronic Arts release for the Wii.  Need for Speed: Nitro not only helps to fill the void for all types of Wii gamers, but returns to some of the basics that helped establish the Need for Speed franchise while simultaneously disowning everything you’ve come to expect from these games.

Before pulling on your driving gloves to get behind the wheel of some fast cars, you will notice that your first choice of vehicles in Career mode is rather outdated, and for lack of a better word, slow.  You can opt to do what I did and go with the flow in purchasing the VW Westfalia Camper.  You are then given the option to blast your Westfalia with a very detailed customized paint job.  Starting out in such a manner sets the mood for the rest of the game, which is some strange oxymoron of traditional and sleek.  It’s something you can only truly understand by winning a race driving a VW Camper fueled by Nitro boost. 

This mantra is also echoed in the many choices of controls for the game.  If you want to play in style, grab a wheel and you’re set.  You can also use the remote sans a wheel, with or without the nunchuk, or opt for the Classic or Gamecube controller if you prefer.  I have to admit I played most of the game with a Classic controller, but when I did use the wheel, the controls seemed pretty smooth overall, once I got used to them.  This game can safely be an arcade racer for not only the forgiving controls in Classic and Wheel mode, but also the cartoonish graphics.  The biggest setback for this game is the graphics, but considering that this was a Need for Speed tailored for the Wii, EA did a solid job finding middle-ground between arcade style and modern graphics.  Most importantly, the graphics do not hinder how fast the game moves and feels.

If you feel like playing with other people, you can throw the game on in multi-player Arcade mode and compete against 1-7 friends.  This is also a good way to get a feel for faster cars like the Nissan Skyline GT-R early on, since moving your way up in Career mode to attain a faster vehicle requires precision and variety in skills.  There is the ability to play a co-op Career mode, as well.  Different racing veins such as Drifting and Elimination put all your driving techniques to the test.  Drifting plays a large role in winning races, as it gives you the opportunity to gain Nitro.  While an array of racing tests await you in Career mode, the ride is a short one.  You must score highly on enough of them to earn your way to higher ranks, and you can play on all three different car tiers labeled Bronze, Silver, and Gold.  Racing stages follow courses set out all over the world, spanning the cities of Rio de Janeiro, Cairo, Madrid, Singapore, and Dubai.  These stages include two to three full race circuits, which are actually normal city streets. 

In the fashion of earlier NFS titles, police cars play a part in your struggle to cross the finish first.  This, coupled with straightforward race goals, a variety of exhibitions, and customization of specially licensed cars helps create a game that is more engrossing and welcoming than your typical driving simulation you can expect from other more recent Need for Speed titles.  In terms of providing solid entertainment for casual racers, Need for Speed: Nitro does a pretty awesome job.  Graphics are uncomplicated, clean, and vogue for their platform.  Overall, I’d consider this game a worthy contender and addition to any Wii game library.


Controls for Wii Remote without a wheel lack finesse and precision, but the game does a hearty job offering multiple control solutions.


Enjoyable, stylistic, and fast. What they lack in leading-edge, they make up for in customizable character.


A soundtrack to mimic all soundtracks for this style of game, though it doesn’t quite cross the line into unbearable.


Imperfect controls, less than cutting edge graphics, and brief single player mode hinder this game from achieving greatness. While not the best racer out there, still a fun experience for all age groups.

Comments are closed.