IAAPA Expo 2019 opens today, and with that, so do the floodgates for arcade news. For our first unveil is something teased by Raw Thrills a short time ago – their latest racing title: Nitro Trucks.
Jumping back in time for a moment, to 2011, many will recall the last time that we saw an off-road racing arcade game in Dirty Drivin’ That was developed by Specular Interactive for Raw Thrills, something that we covered extensively back-in-the-day. In 2015, Play Mechanix (a semi-independent division of Raw Thrills) created their first racing title in MotoGP, and now they’re taking a crack at it again with Nitro Trucks. Take note however – this is NOT Dirty Drivin’ 2. It plays more like a demolition derby racer but on a closed circuit course. I’ll get into that more down below.
First off, I found out about the title from a trademark filing (thanks Jdevy for pointing that out), but wasn’t sure if it was cover for something else, as non-licensed titles from Play Mechanix or Raw Thrills are somewhat rare – they have Target Terror, Big Buck Hunter, H2Overdrive, Dirty Drivin’ and Super Bikes 2 & 3. Everything else in their extensive roster uses a license. I don’t mind seeing something that doesn’t – while I understand the value that a license can bring to a game, on the same note it’s satisfying to watch developers be completely creative in coming up with something new from scratch. This isn’t the first offroad vehicle game to grace arcades of course, but such titles haven’t been super common either.
Let’s start with the first element that people will see of the game when found at an arcade, the cabinet. Nitro Trucks uses a design variation of Cruis’n Blast, with a partial enclosure feel to the game with the overhead rollbar. The tires at the back are still in place, although there is artwork to make it appear that the tires are in motion. The game uses a
47″43″ HD screen and a 5.1ch surround sound system, powered by a mid-range gaming PC. Like they’ve done with MotoGP, there are four color variations to certain fixtures on the cabinet: red, green, blue and yellow. It also connects to the the CoinUp network for automatic updates, but there is no word on it using any other online features. Operators can connect up to 8 units if they wish. There is no PIN system or shifter, but there is a brake (unlike in Cruis’n Blast). The seat also does not shift forwards or backwards, just like the Crusi’n Blast design did.
Described by Raw Thrills as a “unique offroad battle racing” game, this is an arcade exclusive title where you take control of a truck that belongs to 1 of 14 racing teams. There are six courses to race on: Bang Pow (China); Coliseum of Carnage (Greece); Crushmore (South Dakota, USA); Outback Attack (Australia); Switzerblitz (Switzerland) and Wreckstershire (UK).
The game engine used appears to be a highly improved version of the MotoGP engine. Something about the game feels like MotoGP in how the vehicle physics work, it’s hard to put into words. That said, it doesn’t feel like you’re driving a motorcycle, and one thing that this game does well-beyond any other Raw Thrills racer are the destructive physics with the vehicles. As you hit walls and other trucks, there is plenty of “vehicular viscera” as I’ll call it, with chunks & sparks of trucks flying all over the place.
One major place that this differs from Dirty Drivin is in the attack system – you only have one “weapon” of a sort instead of a bunch – the truck ram. You start off with 3, which are activated by double pumping the gas. These will knock your opponents out for a moment, but you’ll want to avoid the temptation of using them all up front. You can collect new “rams” by grabbing a repair power-up on the track; there are also frequent Nitro Boosts that can be touched for one of those.
There are some objects on the track that are destructible, like bails of hay or snowballs (depending on the track). I didn’t see any shortcuts, and it did feel like there was some rubberbanding going on on the very final lap, but it did seem to be trying to balance it; it wasn’t absurd like I’ve come across in some other games which shall not be named. You can purchase a “Truck Upgrade” after selecting your truck; you also win one for getting first place, although I don’t know for sure what that does apart from giving you a meaner look.