Mixed or average reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 41
  2. Negative: 1 out of 41
Buy On
  1. 80
    Nitro is a blast despite its faults, and brings some simply awesome concepts to the table. If you’re a racing fan, this is the first NFS experience that’s actually worth the cash on Wii.
  2. Need for Speed: Nitro gets off to a fast start, but lacks enough variety to make it into the winner's circle.
  3. Make no mistake about it: Need for Speed: Nitro’s competitive advantage shouldn’t be the motion controls – it should be the series’ penchant for arcade racing, supercharged cop chases, and edge-of-your-seat racing. Unfortunately It doesn’t even come close to delivering on these fronts. But, by all means, have some motion controls.
  4. I'm not going to pretend that Need for Speed: Nitro can live up to the grandiosity of Shift. However, for an arcade-style racer, Nitro is a ton of fun. As a racer for the Wii, Nitro is phenomenal.
  5. There's not enough content here to keep me satisfied, and the difficulty is far too light for my current tastes. It might hold over the younger gamers out there, but for those of us in our 20's and so on, you'll quickly realize that Nitro is a little too light on content to keep you entertained for long.
  6. Overall, Need for Speed: Nitro does what it was set out to do and does it right. It doesn't feel like Shift, instead playing like something made for the Wii audience. It's got its flaws, but it also has a fast, easy-to-pick-up gameplay and just enough depth to be worth a purchase for a wide swath of Wii gamers.
  7. Packed with cartoon-style graphics, drifting-based gameplay and plenty of nitro boosts, Need for Speed: Nitro for Nintendo Wii is a fun, addictive and spectacular racer.
  8. Even the distinction between car classes fails to develop the gameplay, and within the first half an hour you feel like you've seen pretty much everything the game has to offer. It might scream 'excitement' at the top of its tiny lungs, then, but Need For Speed: Nitro's initially endearing zest quickly degenerates into repetitive strain.
  9. 80
    Something else that blindsided me was the killer sense of speed. Dropping behind the wheel of a Charger or Cobra for a quick race was immediately satisfying and while NITRO definitely suffers from low-res car models and building textures, that doesn't stop the game from feeling frighteningly fast.
  10. 68
    Overall we've liked Need for Speed Nitro, but we feel it could have been much more.
  11. 67
    Unfortunately, the "shallow" moniker does apply in some respects, as the single-player Career mode is quite brief and represents the bulk of the game; plus, the absence of online play does nothing to help this. Given the slim pickings for racing fans on the Wii, though, it's easy to recommend NFS: Nitro, as it brings a solid (if however spartan) arcade racing experience to a system that clearly should have had one a long time ago.
  12. Need for Speed: NITRO is not a simulation racer but the controls make you feel like you are driving a fast car. The single player mode has good graphics. Detailed backgrounds, nice polygon models, good texturing and lighting and constant framerate. The game is fun and the one real downside is the fact that there is no online mode.
  13. Need for Speed Nitro has an amazing sense of the speed with crazy but funny racers. It offers five different controls for any kind of player. The gameplay is challenging with fresh visual style perfect for the Wii. The game has more than 40 different licensed cars which can be customized. The most exciting arcade racing game for Wii in this year.
  14. Nitro is age appropriate for the pre-teen Wii player, but will not hold the attention of the older folks in the house. The graphics are fun and attractive but won't be mistaken for the nearly photo realistic graphics available on the higher-end consoles.
  15. While not a knockout in all regards, Nitro is still worth spending some time with, especially if you've got a few buddies to thwomp. High five for now, Nitro, but we know you can do a lot better.
  16. Nitro's problem is that the game struggles to keep you interested.
  17. 70
    With Need for Speed Nitro EA proves it can deliver a good arcade race game. However if you are a die hard racefan, you can forget this game. It isn't a Ferrari but you may proudly call it a Volkswagen.
  18. It pales next to other classic arcade racers, but at least this Need For Speed makes an effort.
  19. Pelit (Finland)
    Misses the point completely. It tries too much to be semi-believable, when it should be completely unbelievable. The result: a bad Burnout-clone. [Nov 2010]
  20. Need for Speed: Nitro is an arcade style racer that, while not too terribly deep, is worth a spin around the block.
  21. Need for Speed: Nitro is, for the most part, a fantastic racing game for the Wii. The art style looks fantastic on the system, the varied control options are great, and the gameplay is fast-paced and entertaining. Sadly, it awkwardly straddles the line between zany arcade racing game and super-serious simulation game, wasting a lot of potential in the process with conservative items and unused 'boss' characters.
  22. It’s great to see Electronic Arts put some effort into a platform specific release instead of the sub-standard ports the Wii often tends to get. Highly recommended for fans of the series, just bring your wheel to the party.
  23. Nintendo Power
    Still, racing around is enjoyable and can be challenging, even if the Career mode can feel repetitive due to the unfortunate lack of track variety. [Holiday 2009, p.87]
  24. 75
    Big splash in the grand scheme of quarter four 2009? No. Big splash on the Wii? For what it is, absolutely.
  25. Need for Speed: Nitro entertains people who like arcade-racers. Core-gamers will be very disappointed.
  26. Need for Speed Nitro's cartoony nature and zoned-off tracks take some of the edge out of street racing, but the fiery boosts and hectic police encounters make for a fast, simple arcade racer.
  27. A racing game with no frills but plenty of thrills. Well worth getting for solid arcade racing.
  28. Nintendo Gamer
    It might look like a Burnout for kids but it doesn't play that way. [Christmas 2009, p.50]
  29. For the first Wii-specific racer by EA, Need for Speed Nitro is a step in the right direction. The only major factors that hold it back from absolute greatness are the repetitive career mode and lack of online play.
  30. EA's latest Need For Speed effort on Wii would've benefited from online play and several more tracks and cars. As it stands, however, Nitro is an enthralling racing game, with plenty of rubber-burning action for you and your friends.
  31. A pared down, stylised version of previous NFS titles with a few new gimmicks. Best suited to younger gamers.
  32. In terms of Need for Speed Nitro, it is not perfect but it certainly is a base for EA Montreal to build upon to give Wii owners a truly compelling and unique racing game exclusive to Nintendo's home console.
  33. An appealing arcade concept that doesn’t reach all the way.
  34. 70
    As far as arcade racers on the Wii go, Need for Speed: Nitro isn't a bad experience.
  35. NFS: Nitro tries to do things well, but fails in almost everything.
  36. Need for Speed: Nitro does a good job of washing the taste of the last few entries of the franchise out of your mouth, but it doesn’t really do anything to establish a new status quo. The racing is fun, and the customization is cool, but outside of that, there’s not a whole lot going on here.
  37. NITRO's point-based structure and pick-up-and-play gameplay caters well to those looking for quick spurts of action, but it's unlikely to see an intense cross-pollination from those in need of in-depth racing sessions on the Wii.
  38. An enjoyable, challenging and strong racing game for the Wii that sadly lacks online support.
  39. Had Nitro been given online capabilities the score would have been higher just on merit. But the lack of it, coupled with the “meh” presentation and production values makes this Need for Speed a hot rod with nothing impressive under the hood.
  40. It is very frustrating when you have the chance to enjoy a game so much, but it all ends way too soon… Need for Speed: Nitro is just this: great gameplay, awfully short.
  41. It shows that this game is specifically made for the Wii and they try hard at making it look like a kid for the younger crowd. But basically it all just falls flat down on the ground with only a few things that make you want to play the game longer than 15 minutes.

Awards & Rankings

#38 Most Discussed Wii Game of 2009
#32 Most Shared Wii Game of 2009
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 38 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 38
  2. Negative: 6 out of 38
  1. Nov 10, 2011
    i cant believe you professional reviwers, how dare you? this game is the best arcade racer ive played for years, it has a simple but effectivei cant believe you professional reviwers, how dare you? this game is the best arcade racer ive played for years, it has a simple but effective yet sometimes frustrating control, awesome visuals and good difficulty curve. speed is tremndous when you pull turbo boost car selection is nice multiplyr rocks......except for some minor control issues i cant really put this game down, maybe the best racer on wii Full Review »
  2. Jul 17, 2016
    EA have done a great job with this game. Definitely the best Need for Speed game on the Wii. The career and multiplayer are the best modesEA have done a great job with this game. Definitely the best Need for Speed game on the Wii. The career and multiplayer are the best modes I've played in the game. Also the soundtrack is great as well. I would recommend getting this game Full Review »
  3. ColinB.B.
    Dec 20, 2009
    I agree with the previous comments that the graphics are not that great even though the game is quite enjoyable on multiple aspects. As a I agree with the previous comments that the graphics are not that great even though the game is quite enjoyable on multiple aspects. As a rendering engineer I feel the art direction could have been more focus and synergestic with the rest of the gameplay. Still the fact that they support up to five control schemes make this game great. Full Review »