Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is a treat and one of the best kart racers ever made. It stands easily alongside Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed and the best of Mario Kart thanks to its generous amount of content, skillful racing, and colorful atmosphere. A love letter to the first two Crash racing games, Nitro-Fueled remasters every track from Crash Team Racing and Crash Nitro Kart and promises to add some all new courses in the near future, for free. Nitro-Fueled is tough, rewarding, and a joy to play. Behind an arsenal of vibrant, careening courses, plenty of modes, loads of unlockables, and multiplayer, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled will keep you coming back.
Skill is a more significant factor in Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled than it is in other kart racers like Mario Kart. For example, drifting is tough at first, especially if you are used to Mario Kart 8 or any of the Sonic racing games, because of a pronounced hop that your character takes before beginning to power slide. Boosting off of a drift requires a perfectly-timed button press not unlike an active reload in Gears of War. Well-timed jumps also give a short boost and often are the key to accessing shortcuts, which provide a critical edge in a close race. Once you do get a handle on drifting and boosting, however, you will find yourself expertly chaining boosts together to speed through almost entire tracks at once. The gameplay in Nitro-Fueled has a lot going on under the hood that will punish the uninitiated while rewarding those who take the time to practice and learn its various systems and tricks.
Further feeding into the game’s focus on racing ability above all else, items are much less chaotic than in Mario Kart or even in Team Sonic Racing. Almost all items are non-homing projectiles that require good aim or careful planting to land a hit. Aside from the occasional poorly-timed homing rocket, an unavoidable item will rarely be the reason you lose a race. Plus, if you cannot properly aim a bowling bomb, then items will also rarely save you — there are no Bullet Bills or Golden Mushrooms to completely upheave a race. Whether that is a good or bad thing is up to you, but if you have been wishing Mario Kart could be a bit more about racing and less about item-fueled chaos, then Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled needs to be on your radar.
Due to the deep mechanics and lack of fate-defining items, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is not as easily accessible as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. If you play with friends unfamiliar with the game, they will have a hard time staying towards the front of the pack until they gain a knack for drifting. That said, if you and some friends new to the game spend a bit of time just getting good, a very rewarding kart racing experience awaits all of you.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled has 31 tracks, battle mode, local and online multiplayer, tons of single player challenges, and free DLC tracks, items, and characters on the way. That’s enough content to rival Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s 48-track insanity. The single player challenges are especially wonderful. There are CTR challenges, where you have to win a race and find three tokens hidden around the track, time trials with a clock-stopping, crate-smashing twist, boss races, and more that combine to build a high-speed karting experience that takes hours to complete. Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled will not be overtaking Mario Kart 8 Deluxe as my go-to multiplayer kart racing game, but the rewarding learning curve, the very deep single player, and the coming DLC will absolutely keep me coming back for a long while.
Drawbacks are few and far between. The Switch version has very long load times that can be a drag between races. It is also worth noting that if you do not have any internet, then Wumpa coins (used for unlocking characters, karts, and cosmetics) cannot be earned, which is odd given how great the game is on the go. Aside from that, the game runs well, is a ton of fun, and has hours of content.
Crash Team Racing was a giant in its day, and now, 20 years later, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled has reasserted the original’s greatness. It is a faithful rebuild of one of the most beloved kart racers from an era that had greats such as Diddy Kong Racing and Mario Kart 64. Behind a fresh coat of paint, a great soundtrack, and a lot more tracks, Crash’s racing adventure holds up pristinely and is worth a look for any fan of kart racing.
A review code was provided by the publisher.