Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled or CTR: NF for short is a 2019 remake of the original CTR that came out in 1999. It was developed by Beenox and published by Activision. In the game you race as one of the characters from the Crash Bandicoot universe and there are also some visiting characters from other game series, such as Spyro the Dragon. There are many different game modes to choose from like adventure mode, single and cup races, online races, and my favorite that I also hate: time trials.
You have a wide variety of customization available for both your character and your kart. Different bodies, paintjobs and even engines with different stats to make your kart just how you want it. I personally like to switch up the skins and characters but prefer the original kart body. You open new things by winning races or buying them with the Wumpa coins you earn from completed races. You can also buy Wumpa coins with real money if you’re eager to get a new look for your character or your kart. Things you can buy from the store are, however, purely cosmetic so you won’t gain an advantage by burning your student loan on Wumpa coins.
The racing mechanics are simple: you got your gas, brakes, weapon pick-ups, jumping and turbo sliding. In CTR: NF, turbo sliding is the name of the game. You slide and boost just before the meter fills over. Do this three times in a single slide and you get a big turbo boost. Simple, right? Maybe if we’re talking about single player and normal difficulty, but with time trials, hard difficulty and especially online races, you have to be turbo boosting almost the whole race in order to have a chance at the podium, let alone winning. Constant turbo boosting let’s you “keep flame” meaning that there’s flame coming out of your exhaust pipes, which means that you go faster. Bump into a wall or stop turbo boosting for a while and the flame, along with your speed is gone.
The learning curve is very steep and even with having mastered the advanced driving techniques and gotten the platinum trophy for this game, I still find myself almost throwing the controller at a wall because there is absolutely no room for error when you race online or try to beat the toughest time trials. The power-ups, although very helpful sometimes, can’t lift you from the eighth place to the top three. CTR: NF is more about skill than luck, unlike another kart game featuring an Italian plumber. The very high skill gap might discourage newcomers even when racing against adventure mode bosses. The game doesn’t explain advanced techniques to the player, so if you want to learn, your best bet is heading to YouTube for guidance. You can still try to level the skill gap in races between you and your friends by selecting a slower engine for your kart or give them a head start.
Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled is a fantastic sounding and looking, joyful experience for anyone interested in an arcade racing game that you can easily just pick up and play. It also has a lot to offer for those who want to be competitive and seek a challenge. Just a word of warning, though: if you have a very competitive nature like I do, you will get really frustrated with this game as you are trying to beat everything and everyone, so remember every once in a while to have a break, take a deep breath, and remind yourself that it’s just a game.
Photos are screenshots from the game.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Release date: 20.6.2019
Genres: Kart racing
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