Developer: RedLynx
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.00

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Monster Truck Nitro 2 (MTN2) is an entertaining casual game, but really doesn’t offer the depth that would make it much more than that. In a nutshell, MTN2 is a semi 3D side scrolling racer that pits you against the ghost version of another monster truck. Through each level, you go over and through all sorts of obstacles and jumps, hitting nitro boosts and doing “flip nitro’s” all along the way.

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Everything about MTN2 is rather simple. The controls consist of a simple slider along the bottom of the screen that can be slid from reverse on the left, to idol in the middle, to forward on the right. The rest of the controls are accelerometer based, tilting the iPhone left and right to position your vehicle for a smooth landing. The key to each race is keeping all four tires on the ground at all times and making all the jumps. The real way to beat out the computer is to complete flips on each jump to give yourself a quick nitro boost.

There is quite a bit of game to play in MTN2, with 4 racing leagues that have 4 tracks in each, with 3 races to complete in each track. With each win, you earn money that you can spend on entry fees to get into the later races. Past that, there is really nothing to the game. You race, buy entry into other races, and continue the cycle until the game is over.

The best part of MTN2 is definitely the graphics and sound. Even on my iPhone 3G, the graphics are vibrant and smooth, with no hiccups to be found. Everything looks very reminiscent of Aera, the biplane shooting visual masterpiece, but on the ground. Each of the different monster trucks have their own visual appeal and their own monster truck sounds. The game really has a clean all around feel, with above average, almost Crazy Taxi sounding voice acting throughout.

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Unfortunately, the downfall of MTN2 is the lack of any excitement in the replay value. Sure, there are plenty of levels to go through, but the flaw is in the waste of the money system. The game makes such a big deal out of making money throughout each level, but there is no way to spend the money on anything else. If the game added some sort of monster truck upgrade feature, a la Need For Speed, I would definitely be more inclined to play deep into the game. Also, the lack of an online multiplayer mode hurts. With the game setup the way it is, pitting you against a ghost computer, an online head to head mode seems like it would be a natural addition. RedLynx should really take a page from Com2uS and figure out a solid H2H battles system.

Overall, I’d say that if you are looking for a nice, casual, kid friendly game, MTN2 may be the one. It has an overall polish that you can’t find in many games on the App Store, especially in the monster truck racing department. Unfortunately, with the lack of any kind of upgrade element, the game won’t hold the interest of many hard core racing fans, but with an abundance of casual gamers out there, this one may be a winner anyway.

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