Z2Live's Nitro quickly climbed the free-to-play iOS charts and it's easy to see why. The attractive free-to-play racer provides not only an entertaining single-player campaign against a host of different opponents, but also six-person online multiplayer that works exceptionally well. There's the usual in-app purchase race to enhance one's car, but the fact that users don't have to spend a dime to enjoy real-time racing against the world makes this iPhone and iPad title quite appealing.
If you go solo, the game lets you spend a modest amount of virtual currency on a cool-looking sports car, whereupon which you match driving skills with a computer-controlled rival. Win, and you stand to gain money that'll prove useful in upgrading your car, an essential element to victory. The list of parts runs the proverbial gamut, from the engine and exhaust to shocks and a supercharger. The developers wisely dumbed down the building process, allowing players to beef up their car's stats with just a couple button presses.
What's especially interesting are the various resources required to complete the building process, which the creators litter around the tracks. It's sort of like Mario Kart in the sense that you pick up these items by driving through them, but instead of banana peels and turtle shells, it's plastic, steel and fiberglass; you'll also find mystery crates filled with the aforementioned items and cash. This even extends to multiplayer, which means losing isn't necessarily bad, so long as you gathered bits of aluminum en route to defeat.
While on the subject of online play, Nitro is top of its class. We never had trouble connecting, and there appears to be a dedicated community of players itching for a race, so there's always someone beat to the finish line.
That said, you'll need an Internet connection (Z2Live recommends Wi-Fi) to even play Nitro. Granted, we expected this with multiplayer, but single player? That's somewhat of a letdown.
Of course, the odds of accessing Wi-Fi at some point are pretty high, especially if you download games on a regular basis. That being the case, Nitro is a fun racer that'll hopefully continue to give throughout the year, so long as Z2Live pumps out free updates. Considering the best entries in this crowded genre, you shouldn't worry about more content.
What's Hot:Six-person online play, addictive single-player, picking up resources to make upgrades, detailed tracks.
What's Not:Requires an Internet connection to play.