I got to sit down and get some hands-on time with the demo of the PlayStation 4 version of Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled and it proved to be an eye-popping challenge in all the right ways as developer Beenox is clearly putting everything they have into make a top-tier kart racing experience.
The game follows the character from the Crash franchise in a unique kart racing adventure. Fans of the original will recognize a lot of familiar faces and tracks from the original game.
Though, having never played the original, the game’s unique boosting system proved a challenge for me to wrap my head around. When entering turns, if you held either R1 or L1, your kart would go into a skid. As you hold the skid, a meter fills in the bottom of your screen letting you know when you can boost. This is also indicated by a puff of black smoke coming from your kart. When this happens, if you press either of the R1 or L1 you aren’t already holding down, while continuing to hold the original button, your character will receive a boost of speed. These speed boosts are extremely important for you to keep up with the other racers.
Speaking of other racers, the AI in this game is no joke. While playing on medium setting the AI was almost never to be seen. We were told there will also be easy and hard difficulties for the game, which will be a must for many players while learning the ins and outs of the control scheme and track layouts.
I had the opportunity to try four tracks. Each was pure eye candy with vibrant backdrops, unique concepts, and plenty to catch the eye both on and off the track. Each track had its own particular perils that threatened racers.
The first course we were tested against was Sewer Speedway. This course served great for a start on point as there were few ledges to fall off of, and high banked turns gave us ample opportunity to test out the boosting system. Though it wasn’t easy street by any means, as giant barrels rolled across sections of the course and the various weapons racers could access through crates scattered across the map soon added even more threats to the course.
After the speeding through sewers, we were treated to the lush beauty of Papu’s Pyramid. This track featured some vicious turns that put our newly acquired driving skills to the test. A test which some of us, myself included, didn’t fare so well against. This course also featured my favorite hazard we witnessed, a giant kart eating plant more than willing to snap up and racer who veered to close.
From there we got to race through the inner workings of the Clockwork Wompa track. This was a dizzying course full of ups and downs and broad turns perfect for skidding into those ever important speed boosts so long as one was able to steam clear of the huge gears that could leave a driver flattened.
And the final stop on our tour de force was Electron Avenue. Neon lights, hair pin turns, and virtually nothing to keep an errant kart from sliding right off the edge if it was kept in check. I foresee many a hair pulled out trying to master that wicked set of curves.
There was a wide selection of racers, each with their own stats making them stand apart from each other. Mostly kept to Crash himself as i was playing catch up with the controls, but those playing during my demo seemed to enjoy the various characters. Along with their driving difference,s each character had a striking visual look and sported various animations that further brought out the characters personalities. Whether idling waiting for a race to start or bouncing out of their seats over jumps they were always comical and full of life.
The demo left me as happy walking away from the game as any kart racer has. While it does supply a few more intricacies than some of the competition, I’m feeling confident the game will make it more than worth the player’s effort to master this highly enjoyable racer.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.