Motorsport Games has brought NASCAR to the Nintendo Switch for the first time with “NASCAR Heat Ultimate Edition+“. The graphics pale in comparison to the Xbox One version, and the Joy-Cons don’t excel at finesse steering. However, the sheer level of content available and solid performance make “NASCAR Heat Ultimate Edition+ an enjoyable experience on the go.
“NASCAR Heat Ultimate Edition+” takes all of the content from “NASCAR Heat 5” and adds in primary schemes and drivers from the 2021 season. All of the DLC paint schemes are available in the 2020 season mode, providing the opportunity to drive the various stock cars with a large assortment of schemes, including those from Throwback Weekend. This list also includes schemes for both Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon.
“NASCAR Heat Ultimate Edition+” also offers 39 tracks from the top three NASCAR series, as well as nine dirt tracks, that test driving skills in a variety of ways. Some of the most notable additions to the list are Eldora Speedway, Daytona International Speedway, Iowa Speedway, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, and Kentucky Speedway.
Unfortunately, the newest tracks do not appear alongside the schemes and the rosters from the most recent season. Circuit of the Americas, Nashville Superspeedway, and the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt race are not available, so there is no option to drive Stewart’s No. 14 Ford around the Texas road course and recreate his test from 2019.
The Game Performs Well Despite Some Muddy Textures
“NASCAR Heat Ultimate Edition+” plus isn’t a graphical showpiece by any stretch. There are some blurry faces on the character models, as well as some muddy textures inside the cockpit of the car. The smoke and dirt effects during the post-victory burnouts also fail to impress, but they don’t necessarily take away from the available entertainment.
Interestingly, there are two areas where the graphics shine. The window nets have an impressive level of detail that highlights the fibers of the material and stands out when compared to the other items in the cockpit view.
The other area that impresses is the asphalt during overcast races. The standard racing surface is just a flat gray when the sun shines overhead, but the clouds add another level of quality. The asphalt reflects what little light is available and immediately draws attention.
With the Switch having technical limitations even compared to the Xbox One and PS4, there could be concerns about performance issues. These do not surface when racing in portable or docked mode. The only noticeable problem is a slight hitch when doing victory donuts.
The majority of the time, “NASCAR Heat Ultimate Edition+” runs smoothly when drafting at Talladega Superspeedway or battling for position at Martinsville Speedway. The action is fast-paced, and there are no noticeable hiccups that take away the sense of speed.
The only true factor that limits the performance is the left Joy-Con. The mini thumbstick doesn’t have the same level of control as those on the Xbox and PlayStation controllers. It’s still possible to secure wins, but the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller offers a far more enjoyable experience.
The Career Mode Offers 4 Different Series
Winning the Bill France Cup is not as simple as simply joining a top-shelf team like Hendrick Motorsports or Stewart-Haas Racing and winning every race. Instead, the player-created drivers have to work their way up through the ranks and fight for wins.
They can achieve this goal by going straight to the Cup Series and joining a small team or working up through the ranks. There are four total series offering full schedules. “NASCAR Heat Ultimate Edition+” offers the Xtreme Dirt Series, Truck Series, Xfinity Series, and Cup Series.
There are multiple ways to pursue wins in these various series. There is the option to start a team with a focus on hiring the best employees and adding sponsors to the fold. This route adds more depth to the experience and shows how “hard driving” can negatively impact the engine department.
The other option is to simply join a team and try to gain momentum throughout the year. There aren’t many top teams available early, but solid runs each week lead to better offers for subsequent seasons, as well as a speed boost. A negative reputation on the track will prevent certain teams from reaching out, so it’s crucial to avoid purposely wrecking other drivers.
Those players wanting a more authentic NASCAR experience can increase the length of races from the initial four percent to a variety of options. Anything in the mid-teens and beyond unlocks the ability to add caution flags, tire wear, and stages.
If career mode isn’t the main draw, “NASCAR Heat Ultimate Edition+” also offers two separate multiplayer modes. There is a two-player split-screen option for head-to-head battles on the couch with the Switch in docked mode or on the go with each Joy-Con assigned to a different player.
The other option is online multiplayer, which supports up to 16 players. This mode is smaller in scale than “NASCAR Ignition” and its 40-car field, but it still pits several competitive drivers against each other across some of the most popular tracks. Like every NASCAR game before it, the enjoyment level in multiplayer relies on the other players.
Bottom line: “NASCAR Heat Ultimate Edition+” is not the best-looking racing game available, and the Joy-Cons make it harder to smoothly steer around certain ovals. However, the game performs well and provides an impressive amount of content for racing fans. Having the ability to run races with stages, caution flags, and full damage only makes the experience more enjoyable.
“NASCAR Heat Ultimate Edition+” is available for the Nintendo Switch on November 19. Motorsport Games provided a Switch code for the purpose of this review, which took place on a base model console.