In the past week I’ve launched dirt bikes off of dozens of cliffs and smashed ATVs into scores of unyielding trees, all for the glory of a podium finish in Nail’d—an extreme offroad arcade racer that treats gravity and Newtonian physics as a loose suggestion rather than a hard-and-fast rule. Nail’d is an unapologetic assault on the senses that challenges us to race, maneuver and ultimately push a dirt bike or quad ATV into leaps of faith that would scare the bejeezus out of anyone with any self-preservation. You’ll spend as much time hundreds of feet in the air as on the ground. The game’s 14 outrageous tracks—inspired by Arizona, Greece, Andes Mountains and Yosemite Park locales—impart a feeling of speed and verticality that escalates from steep to acrophobic in a heartbeat. Nail’d’s multi-tiered tournament mode pits you against 11 riders (AI or online MP) in competitive events ranging from straight speed contests to stunt challenges.
Whether you choose a two- or four-wheel mount (and certain tracks favor one over the other), it doesn’t take long before the uninspired dirt racing mechanics—crank the throttle and bully your way through—give way to impossible, stomach-churning aerials that transform the game from pedestrian to exhilarating. These “flight” events generally occur after blind, turbo-assisted ramp jumps and, once committed to the maneuver, you must skillfully control your machine’s mid-air attitude and stick the ensuing landing like a pro ski aerialist. Get it wrong—even slightly—and the game rewards you with an in-your-face “Nail’d!” graphic and time-consuming respawn.
This unique flight sim component gives Nail’d a leg up on other dirt bike and ATV racers, as do its smooth performance, highenergy soundtrack and 12-player online mode. But its mouseless interface, poor controller support (keyboard and Xbox 360 controller only) and locked chase-view riding perspective take it down a notch. For over-the-top (literally) off-road racing action, Nail’d delivers on multiple fronts—just as long as you remember to keep your dirt racer in the air as much as possible.

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