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For: Mobile

It's got the license and the 3D visuals, but is that enough for pole position?

Product: MotoGP 3 | Developer: Rockpool | Publisher: THQ Wireless | Format: Mobile | Genre: Racing, Sports | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | Reviewed on: N70 other handsets | Version: Europe
MotoGP 3 Mobile, thumbnail 1
The march of technology is relentless. It's exciting, optimistic and sometimes scary, but always relentless.

We have the Internet, an information network that spans the globe, providing access to almost every bit of human knowledge. We have satellites orbiting the planet telling us where we are and where we're going, and music players little bigger than a pack of cards yet capable of holding 6,000 albums. We have 24-hour Big Brother… (Erm, maybe it's not all about progress). And, of course, we have mobile phones.

Just a few years ago you were pretty much limited to Snake on your mobile. Now you can pull off stunts on your snowboard, fight aliens on different worlds, and race at breakneck speeds, all on your humble dog'n'bone.

MotoGP3 is a fine example of just how far mobile-based pocket gaming has come. The game oozes quality, from the fully-licensed tracks and riders, to the customisation of not only your rider, but also your bike, race conditions and even the game interface. You can even change the quality of the 3D visuals if your phone can't quite cope with the detail.

The sound is limited to a looping music track, as is often the case with mobile games, but you forget this mid-race as the level whips by. The feeling of speed is very well conveyed, as the track undulates up and down as well as snaking through brilliantly varied corners. In fact, the nuances of the curves are so subtle that you can't rely on the 'bend arrows' alone to take corners successfully. No, to stand a chance of finishing in the top three on the higher difficulty levels, you need to take advantage of the full ten minutes of qualifying time, to not only start higher on the grid, but also to learn each bend on the track and how to take it.

As a result, MotoGP3 will last you a while. There's a real feeling that you're rewarded for the time and effort you put into playing this game, something that's invaluable in drawing you back to play again and again. Indeed, there's a full Grand Prix to race through, where you'll take on the competition on real-world circuits, time trials where you aim to set the fastest lap, and an 'Xtreme' mode that pits you against other racers on motorways and in dockyards for cash in street-race style events. You can spend the prizes you win here or the points you accrue in the Grand Prix races to upgrade your bike's attributes, in order to stand a better chance in the harder races and to work your way up the leader board.

We wonder if all this in-game progression will spur the developers to try to similarly improve their title if they come to make a MotoGP version 4. We've certainly awarded MotoGP3 enough points to upgrade its iffy soundtrack, and we'd also like to see more variety to the trackside scenery, which gets a bit samey after the tenth or eleventh lap. But otherwise there's little to criticise. This is a gem of a pocket game, well worth the couple of quid you'll pay for it and proving that gaming on your mobile phone has a rosy future, however technology marches on.
Reviewer photo
Adam Stretton | 13 March 2006
A cracking racer, akin to a shiny Superbike in a car park of mopeds
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