Like it or not, the latest Need For Speed game to hit iOS is pretty aggressively free-to-play. It has lots of timers, at least five different currencies, and a store packed with IAP to buy. Luckily, though, Need For Speed: No Limits (Free) is actually pretty fun. In fact, I’ve continued playing it every day even after writing our review last week, and I don’t see myself stopping any time soon. In all that time I haven’t felt any need to spend so much as a dime, either, so I’ve decided to put together this handy guide to help other racers out there in their quest for shiny new cars and gold trophies.
General Racing Tips
Let’s start with the basics. As an arcade racer, No Limits strips out most of the nuance found in Firemonkey’s other racing game, Real Racing 3 (Free). You won’t have to worry about braking or accelerating here, as your main goal should be getting as much speed as possible at all times. This means boosting, which is triggered by swiping up on the screen. Your boost meter (the blue bar at the top of the screen) slowly fills while you race, but you can speed it up by performing different stunts. Things like drifting (swiping down to slide into a turn), drafting (getting right behind the car ahead of you), having a near miss with a random car on the road (get within a few feet without hitting it), and getting air (usually by going off a ramp) can significantly increase the rate at which your boost meter fills. As for when to trigger it, in general it’s a good idea to save boosting for straightaways, but since the tracks in No Limits are so short you can also experiment with waiting until the bar is totally filled or just boosting whenever you get even the tiniest bit saved.
Since the game is so arcade-focused, you’ll probably be drifting around most turns and therefore won’t have to worry too much about having a “clean racing line”, but it can still be helpful to consider (particularly while boosting). A clean line is when you stick to the outside of a track before a bend in the road, and then slowly turning into it and getting as close to the apex of the bend as possible. Basically, just try not to turn excessively. Control-wise, the game has several options: Touch (tap either side of the screen to turn in that direction), Tilt (use your device’s accelerometer to control steering), and Virtual Steering (slide a finger back and forth to turn). Obviously, which one you choose should come down to personal preference, but I found that I had the most control over the cars when I stuck with the default Touch option.
The main hindrance to your progress in the game will probably be the dreaded timers. They may not seem so bad during your first few hours of play, but trust me: eventually they’ll get you, and you’ll be doing far more waiting than playing. Luckily, there are a few ways you can stretch these timers out so your play sessions can be longer than five minutes.
The first and most important thing to remember is that the fuel timer will be magically refilled every single time you level up. Most races only deplete one or two bars (out of ten when it’s full), but eventually you’ll start finding yourself in races that take three. To make this precious resource last longer, all you have to do is keep an eye on your level up circle at the top of the screen. The orange part of the circle fills up each time you earn Reputation, which you get from completing new races. Once the orange is full, wham-o, you level up and get a free tank.
First off, try not to level up right before you finish playing. If you only have a tiny sliver left, save it for next time. If you do have time for a longer play session, remember that only new races will net you Rep (and fill up the level up circle). Often, it’s a good idea to grind old races for parts until you get down to your last few bars of fuel, and then choose a brand new race to fill that sliver in and refill the tank. Another thing to remember is that completing daily missions also gives you a tiny amount of Rep, so it’s a good idea to hit the “claim” button strategically so you level up only when you want to. Also keep in mind that generally, Car Series races will net you more Rep than Underground races, so prioritize those when trying to level up.
The further into the game you get, you’ll find that leveling up requires more and more Rep, so there will definitely be times when you’ll be forced to wait with nothing to do. The tips above should stave off the Wait Wall for a while, though, so be smart with your level-ups. Once you do get shut out, just remember that the fuel timer only applies to Underground and Car Series races. You can always jump into Special Event races or Tournament races while you wait, since they use “tickets” instead of fuel (and they each get five). That’s a lot of racin’!
There are five (yes, five) different currencies in Need For Speed: No Limits, and they’re each used in different ways.
CASH – This is the main currency in the game, and it’s used for buying crates at the loading docks and installing new parts onto your car. You earn it from every underground and car series race, with more being rewarded when you perform stunts like drifting, drafting, getting air, and so on. Basically, drive like an insane person and you’ll get a bit more cash. Personally, I only use cash for installing parts, and this has left me with well over a million bucks left over. Assuming the costs continue to rise with each new car you collect, it’s probably not a bad idea to keep holding on to it for the future.
GOLD – Gold may not be the main currency you deal with, but it’s arguably the most important. You can think of it like a “meta” currency that is used for resetting timers, changing the items in the store, and raising your odds at getting better parts after races. Pretty much any time you hit a free-to-play wall of any sort, gold is there to bail you out. You earn gold by leveling up and getting past various checkpoints in the Underground, Car Series, Special Events, and Tournaments. It’s also the only currency you can buy with real money, so use it sparingly. Never use it on a timer, as this is a great way to go broke quickly. (If you have to wait, just play another game.) I only use gold to expand my spare parts storage and occasionally to flip over a different prize card after a race if I really need a blueprint or special part.
TROPHY POINTS – Trophy points are a form of cash that can only be spent in the Tournament Market. You’ll find “exclusive” parts and blueprints there that can’t be bought anywhere else, so save them up for something you really need. You earn these by climbing tiers in the tournament and finishing at specific ranks.
EVENT POINTS – Like trophy points, these are also another type of cash. Event points can only be used in the Loading Dock during Special Events, and can only be earned by racing in these events. A good strategy is to save them for as long as you can and use all your spare event tickets to grind for parts. Once you get to the end of the event (or any insurmountable wall in your progress), start throwing your event points at the Loading Dock until your car is up to snuff.
MOD SHOP POINTS – Mod Shop Points are the least important currency in the game, and can be ignored entirely if you want. The only thing this cash is used for is changing the way your cars look, and it’s earned as a “special prize” after career races.
As with most free-to-play games, a good rule of thumb is to save as much as you possibly can and never spend currency on a timer. Just like life!
– Prioritize quantity over quality, at least in the beginning. It’s better to have a large and diverse stable of cars than to focus on beefing up a smaller number, since most cars will unlock a whole new series of races.
– When grinding for more parts, don’t be afraid to use that Easy Drive switch in the top left corner of the screen on races you’ve already completed. If you’re eating lunch or half watching Netflix on the couch, whip out your phone and let No Limits play itself.
– If you ever find yourself unsure of what to do next, just start grinding for blueprints. Blueprints let you unlock new cars and “stage up” the ones you already have, so check your garage frequently to see if any of your cars are close to having a full set.
– Don’t ignore Special Events! After completing the first one, the Ford Shelby I won opened up two new Car Series (that I flew right through with all the upgrades I’d added from the event) and over a dozen Underground races I’d been PR locked from playing until then.
As I said earlier, I’ve been playing this game every day since it came out. It’s got its hooks in me pretty deep, and I’m having a ton of fun despite all the freemium junk thrown on top. Need For Speed: No Limits is a game full of all kinds of limits, but hopefully this guide will help you steer around some of the more egregious ones. Happy racing!