Game Review: Need For Speed – No Limit (Android)

The Need For Speed (NFS) Franchise has seen many iterations across several different platforms.  I’ve played several of them, from NFS Undergroud 2 on the PC, to NFS Undercover on the Xbox360.  Having enjoyed both games immensely when I saw that NFS was coming to the mobile platform I had to give it a try. After downloading the latest NFS iteration, Need For Speed – No Limit I gave it a test drive (no pun intended) to see what it was about.  The game controls are simple, as one would expect being on a tablet or smartphone.  Steering can be done in 2 different ways; by pressing a finger/thumb on either side of the screen (calling it touch method) or by using the motion gyroscope in your mobile device to turn it into a “Steering Wheel” (we will call it the motion method).  Both methods are equally useful.  I generally play using the touch method, as I find it the easiest to use.  By using the touch method, the accelerator for the vehicle is always pushed down, so you only need to worry about steering, and when to use nitro/drifting.  I’ll touch more on the nitro and drifting later.

You start off with 1 car. I’m not sure if the car is chosen, or if it is random, but I managed to get a Subaru BRX, which is a decent car from what I’ve seen.  Right away the game starts with you in a race and you compete against other drivers.  From what I’ve seen the drivers are AI controlled, but there names are picked from other Google play users (from what I can guess).  After winning the first race there are some storyboards building the backstory and the game basically begins.  For each race you will earn a specialized part to upgrade your cars, and in special cases you gain blueprints for cars.  Each different car requires a different amount of blueprints in order to build the car, and if you get enough blueprints of a car you own, it is upgraded to another level.  As you upgrade your car, your race rating goes up, showing you how well you compare to the other drivers.  Some special races will need you to have a set race rating in order to compete in it.

You are taught how to use Nitro boosts and drifting in the first few races of the game.  They are simple to use, Nitro is activated by swiping up, drifting by swiping down and steering the proper way to initiate the drift.  My only issue I’ve found with this is by playing on a 10″ tablet, swiping for either the nitro and drifting is difficult since my hands are griping the sides of the tablet so I can steer with my thumbs.  So far it hasn’t been much of an issue as I’ve not needed to drift much in order to win any races, but I am sure it will be required in later stages of the game.  Using Nitro seems a bit easier as I tend to use it on straighter bits of road.

The graphics of the game are decent, since I played it on an android tablet I didn’t expect much.  It does look a little pixelated at times, but it doesn’t really detract much from the overall experience.  It’s a mobile game, so you can’t expect it to look like it is being played on a high end gaming PC.  If the pixel density of your device is higher, you probably won’t notice much of this issue. Newer devices like the Note 4, Note 5 would probably be better.

The audio effects in NFS – No Limit are probably the highlight of this game.  The NFS franchise has always had a great soundtrack, and this game is no exception.  The music playing while you are racing is perfect for the game, and the sounds are done very well.  Often while you are in between races there are background sounds to maintain ambiance. The biggest thing I noticed is police sirens going off, which they made use of the stereo sounds of the speakers, which once in a while had me checking the local environment for actual police sirens because they were that convincing.  I highly recommend playing with headphones to get the best effect from the audio.

In NFS – No Limit your game-play is regulated by fuel.  Meaning you an only play for so long as each race uses a set amount of fuel.  For example if you have 10 units of fuel each race will maybe take 2.  You can earn additional fuel by winning races, but it is a nice way to regulate your time playing the game.  You also earn in-game money and gold.  Gold is used to supplement your money by purchasing special components.  You don’t earn much gold in races, so spend it wisely.

Once you get to a certain point in chapter 1, you will unlock the loading dock, which allows you to open a shipping container after a set amount of time.  You also get 1 premium shipping container every day.  The shipping containers can contain car parts, or car blueprints.  It seems pretty random, but you at least get something.  You can always buy more shipping containers using gold or money.

This game features a micro-transaction system, which is pretty much normal for mobile games.  The game itself is free, but you can buy premium gold, extra fuel or premium shipping boxes to enhance your game experience. You can also purchase more in-game money, as well as fuel and gold if you desire more for that super special part or car, or want more fuel to win that next race.

As of writing this review, I have managed to finish chapter 1, and I am half-way through chapter 2. I’ve enjoyed the game a lot so far, though it does eat through the batteries quite fast, and I’ve found that when you exit the game it doesn’t actually exit and sits in memory, which will also drain your battery.  Overall I would recommend this game to anyone who’s enjoyed any of the NFS franchise games.  As it’s enjoyable and fun to play.

And always remember, this is a racing game, do not attempt any driving stunts of any kind on the real road.

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