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MTV Pimp My Ride

For: Mobile

You've officially been pimped!

Product: MTV Pimp My Ride | Developer: elkware studios | Publisher: Infospace | Format: Mobile | Genre: Film/ TV tie- in, Music/ Rhythm | Players: 1-4 | Format: J2ME | File size: 180KB | Reviewed on: D600 other handsets | Version: Europe
MTV Pimp My Ride Mobile, thumbnail 1
An idea that works in America isn't guaranteed to work over here. Weak beer, mullets and the Hummer are just three things the US citizenry love that have failed to find a home on this side of the Atlantic.

Then there are those ideas that we Brits do love, so much so that we aim to copy them and make them our own. Fast food, for instance. A president 'running' the country. Hip-hop.

Sometimes this works, other times it doesn't, as anyone who's seen Pimp My Ride UK, the British version of the TV show about transforming a worn-out car into a flashy ride that could've appeared in The Fast And The Furious, knows only too well.

So we were relieved to discover in MTV Pimp My Ride, the mobile phone game, no trace of Westwood or pasty-faced losers with a battered Fiat Panda.

But our relief turned to sadness to find that the host of the original US version of the show, Xzibit, wasn't present either. The ebullient rapper lifts the show from petrolhead geekery into a street-savvy outing that's more entertaining than anything else on the channel.

We've a feeling Xzibit could've done the same for this, the game, as it's sadly lacking his sparkle.

Based loosely on the TV programme, in MTV Pimp My Ride you take a beaten-up car and, through the course of four mini-games, tart it up into something to show on the streets. Starting with the easy level compact hatchback and graduating onto bigger, harder vehicles, you're graded on your bodywork, paintjob, electrics and decals, with the final yay or nay coming from the two in-game judges.

It sounds quite entertaining, until you realise that the games involve little more than pressing specific buttons at the right time or in the right order. That really is all there is to it.

Repairing dents in the bodywork rests on you pressing '5' when the cursor moves over the battered spot. Painting involves hold down '5' between two markers, pressing and letting go as close to each marker as you can. Fitting the electrics is a memory test, where you have to remember the order in which you need to press the numbers. And the last task, applying the decal, is a matter of matching the sticker silhouetted on the car with the one rolling through the window at the top of the screen.

Complex it ain't. Yet, thanks to inaccurate controls that seem to pay no heed to whatever rhythm and timing you've built up, much of it is frustratingly so. It's similar to the problems we came across in Sexy Babes Wild Waterslides, and you have to wonder if the foibles are there to merely add a challenge where otherwise there would be none.

Whatever the reason, it hurts a game that was already short on replay value. Once you've pimped the first couple of cars, you'll have very little desire to return. A multiplayer mode that finds you taking turns to compete in each mini-game does nothing to help matters: it's only marginally more entertaining to be playing the game than it is to be waiting for your go.

Lacklustre visuals compound matters and the worn-out witticisms that your supposedly streetwise judges offer just make things worse.

It all leaves MTV Pimp My Ride needing some attention itself. Consider that similar car-tweaking antics are a part of many racing games these days (think The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift or Asphalt Urban GT2) and you'll realise just how shallow a pocket gaming experience it really is.

Please, MTV, pimp this ride.
MTV Pimp My Ride
Reviewer photo
Mike Abolins | 11 August 2006
A lazy game that fails to capture any of the imagination or charisma of the TV show
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