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MX vs ATV Untamed

For: Mobile   Also on: DS, PSP

Wanna get dirrty?

Product: MX vs ATV Untamed | Developer: Universomo | Publisher: THQ Wireless | Format: Mobile | Genre: Racing, Sports | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (adhoc) | Format: J2ME | File size: 311KB | Reviewed on: K800i other handsets | Version: Europe
MX vs ATV Untamed Mobile, thumbnail 1
A coordinated release with its console brothers and sisters, the mobile version of the motocross and quad bike trick-racer MX vs ATV Untamed, initially at least, feels disappointing.

For a start, you can only get your sweaty mints on motorbikes, and the action is very basic, and viewed from the side in rather understated 2D. Even worse, you can almost win the initial race without touching a button, and you quickly learn there's an extremely limited trick-set.

When you move onto your second race however just staying on the bike seems complex. Talk about a learning curve. But, after a bit of time at the controls, you realise keeping yourself from falling into the mud is actually at the core of this simple game.

If you're nearing the stage in your life when grey hairs are starting to appear, you may remember Excitebike on the NES, or the BMXing sections of the superb California Games, which are very similar to this off-roading racer. The key to success is keeping rhythm, which means two things: balance and confidence.

Most important, perhaps, is balance. To maintain a top speed, you must always keep your bike level with the ground, which means that as you launch into the air, you have to use simple forward and back commands to make sure you land with both wheels parallel to the muddy raceway. Hit the earth with all your weight on just the front or back wheel and, if you aren't thrown into the dirt, you'll certainly lose all your speed.

This may sound simple, and initially it is, but holding your speed is made ever more trying by the increasing unevenness of the undulating landscapes you pass over. To help you with this, a confidence system is in place, which rewards successful tricks with a boost to speed and acceleration. Some larger tricks, such as tweaked flips, do slow you down a little, but significantly they boost confidence, adding a little strategy to a game in need of depth.

Though there are over 40 levels and three different modes in the form of Time Trial, Championship and Freestyle, MX vs ATV Untamed is an easy game to pick holes in. It's visually drab and there is nothing to do in terms of upgrading and customising vehicles, for example, while most of the courses feel similar.

Yet, at its core there's an addictive little game, and once your ability develops it feels quite satisfying. MX vs ATV Untamed does need more variation, but its uncomplicated form makes it enjoyable for playing on the move when distractions can make more demanding offerings frustrating.

This feeling is underpinned by the game's solid controls and generally robust design. But despite this, after awhile MX vs ATV Untamed feels slightly underwhelming.

So, if you're looking for something to suit long gaming sessions, search elsewhere. But if you're a fan of the sport or just have fond memories of Excitebike, brace yourself for a basic mud-encrusted experience.
MX vs ATV Untamed
Reviewer photo
Will Freeman | 14 January 2008
MX vs ATV Untamed flings filth in the face of complexity, instead offering a distinctly old-skool racing experience
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