By now Nintendo fans should when it comes to multi-platform games, you can use short straws to draw. Since the Switch has objectively weaker internals than its closest competitors, many third-party developers will have to cut a few corners in order for their games to run on a hybrid console. This can come in the form of a lower resolution, reduced resources, or even a bold decision to dispense with regular release in favor of the cloud.
Historically, racing simulators across multiple platforms have always been spectacular visual demonstrations. When you have to worry less about complex animations or artificial intelligence, there is a lot more emphasis on making games look prettier than Fonzie’s hairstyle. With that in mind, it’s painful for us to state that NASCAR Heat is one of the worst racing games we’ve ever seen on the Switch. So much so that we’re willing to bet the game will run comfortably on a GameCube or Wii. It’s 2021, man.
It just doesn’t make sense that a racing game running on current generation systems should look that bad. Switch is home to some pretty entertaining racing games including Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, GRID Autosport, and Burnout Paradise Remastered. The oldest of these – Burnout Paradise – originally released back in 2008, is in its original guise without remastered. yet looks significantly better than NASCAR Heat. However, the cars here are blocky, the environment is completely devoid of detail, and the lighting effects are virtually nonexistent. To top it off, the game often drops below the planned 30fps, so the engine doesn’t even run smoothly despite the visual constraints.
Of course, looks aren’t everything, and one compliment we can give NASCAR Heat is that it at least includes many authentic cars, tracks and racers. Indeed, with the Ultimate Edition + on Switch, you get the full Season Pass from the previously released NASCAR Heat 5 Ultimate, which includes four separate DLC packs. They’ll download you with lots of custom skins, in-game money and content featuring NASCAR-famous Tony Stewart.
Launching the game gives you a choice of the 2020 and 2021 NASCAR lineup (with the 2021 lineup and paint jobs also recently included in the Ultimate + Edition), which are then split into four different series. : Standard Cup Series, Xfinity Series, Truck Series and Xtreme Dirt Tour. Drivers / vehicles are marked with official photographs and paint jobs, but there is no indication of how these vehicles handle in comparison to each other.
Each race is divided into three segments: training, qualifying and final. This gives you the opportunity to complete your chosen course and study its layout (which is the base oval for 90% of the selections) before qualifying to determine your starting grid for the final race. You can jump straight to the final race if you want, but this will put you back on the starting grid.
Driving around the track is pretty easy when you’re in the race, thanks to the simplicity of the circuit – it’s NASCAR, after all. Stay too far off the road, however, and you will be immediately punished by being forced to stop for about five seconds before you can hit the road again. It may not sound like much, but five seconds can go a long way when most of the 20+ riders are grouped together, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself at the very end of the group.
With different difficulty settings, you can customize the game to suit your needs. At lower settings, you have the familiar driving line that most modern riders have. Pick it up and it disappears and there are additional racing requirements like pitting. There is enough depth here to satisfy NASCAR enthusiasts, while more casual racing fans will be fine with setting the difficulty setting to “normal” for the most part.
From point of view how you play for sure, you have a standard career mode in which you create your own character before taking part in various tournaments in order to increase your position in the racing community. These are basic things and nowhere near as comprehensive as the equivalent modes in franchises such as Dirt or Need for speed. Alternatively, you can simply choose to race one track at a time, with free choice of your vehicle and course.
In addition, the game also provides 16-player online play as well as split-screen local play. Based on our experience with the game, there was no lobby in multiplayer to join, which required us to create our own. You can customize which streak to play, how many riders should be included and more, however at the time of testing, we did not meet any other players. Indeed, the game provides a convenient breakdown of how many races have been played during the game’s lifetime, with a paltry 1,198 registered and zero active players at the time of writing. This does not bode well for the longevity of the game beyond technical issues.
After all, NASCAR has a dedicated fan base – and they’ll find more here than others – but the experience just isn’t compelling enough to recommend it to anyone else. This is partly due to the simple fact that stock races take place mostly on oval-shaped tracks, and while it really can’t be avoided, it doesn’t do the game any good compared to the more adventurous and unique racing games on the market. Now. Even if you’re a die-hard NASCAR fan, with such poor visuals and performance, NASCAR Heat can deliver the most exciting and challenging tracks and it won’t make any difference.
NASCAR Heat seems to be a mid-2000s game. The visuals alone are bad enough – with blocky textures, faceless environments, and frame rates that struggle to maintain a solid 30fps – but when you have a completely unremarkable career mode making up the bulk of the game, really don’t recommend anyone. this is. but the staunchest of NASCAR fans. Nintendo gamers have not had any real NASCAR experience for several years now, but if this is any measure of quality that we probably expect, we think it should probably retire.