2XL ATV Offroad offers racing fans a lot to sink their teeth into.
I got to ride around on an ATV once. One of my friends at university was very well off; in fact to call him rich would be like describing the ocean as being a little bit damp. Anyway while I was round his house one afternoon he wheeled out this colossal ATV and proceeded to tear around his grounds (you couldn’t call this a garden) at break neck speeds and even popped the occasional trick. I’m not going to lie, it looked badass but it also looked utterly terrifying. It wasn’t long before I was plonked on the back and forced to grip on to the thing for dear life. I was right. It was utterly, gut wrenchingly terrifying.
It was on that day that I grew a new found appreciation for the ATV, a vehicle that I had never really thought much about, and indeed, never had a reason to living the sheltered life I lead. Now 2XL Games are following up on their brilliant motocross game with 2XL ATV Offroad and I’m now presented the opportunity to compare the virtual to the very real.
If you’ll cast your mind back to April of this year you’ll recall that 2XL Motocross was a great game fundamentally but one that crucially lacked any kind of career mode. 2XL have listened to all of your feedback and addressed this issue for this sequel in spectacular fashion. This time around you have a fully realised career mode which see’s you playing through groups of events sequentially to improve your ranking. ATV Offroad also goes the extra mile to keep you from getting bored of racing by mixing up the standard races with trick based events as well. Alongside the meaty career mode you’ve also got Arcade and Multiplayer modes. Playing through the career doesn’t unlock the beaten tracks in these modes; instead they are all unlocked from the moment you boot up the app. It would have been nice if the career mode was a little more incentivised but many will be glad to have instant access to the content they paid for.
As with their previous title 2XL Games have achieved something wonderful on the iDevices with ATV Offroad. The visuals are eye wateringly beautiful and a step up from the already impressive 2XL Motocross thanks to the increased variety in its courses and level designs. No longer are you confined to a muddy looking arena, now you can tear around the great outdoors; it really goes a long way to keeping the game looking fresh from one event to the next. The only missing visual elements to our eyes are particle effects. When bombing around a dirt track on what is essentially a 4 wheeled super bike you’d expect to kick up a fair amount of mud right? Sadly this isn’t represented in ATV Offroad and as a result you’ll sometimes feel like you’re driving on concrete that’s been conspicuously painted to look like dirt. It’s not a big problem though and frankly it only came to our attention because the rest of the game looks so fantastic that omissions tend to stand out like a sore thumb.
Speaking of thumbs lets talk controls shall we? On the whole we found the controls to be excellent at best and satisfactory at worst. The default scheme has you tilting the device to steer while accelerating and breaking with virtual buttons in the bottom right corner. For those looking to cut some shapes 20 feet in the air at 60 miles an hour you’ll find a jump pre-loading button in the bottom left while trick buttons line the left and right most edges of the screen. Everything works fine with the slight exception of the tiny trick buttons which we often found didn’t respond to our aggressive taps, probably because the game wasn’t sure which button our fingers were trying to hit. We also felt that sometimes you would have to tilt the device a little too far which could obscure your view of the on-screen action. Regardless you have plenty of control schemes to choose from, a favourite of ours was the “Right Hand Advanced” touch controls which turned steering into a virtual joystick affair. Its fun, you can pretend Gameloft made it. You know… if that’s your thing.
This is the paragraph where we have to come down on 2XL and wave our finger admonishingly. While the graphics, gameplay, controls and content in general are all of the highest calibre the audio is borderline shocking. Where to begin? How about the engine sounds? We noted this in our review of 2XL Supercross, the engine noises sound like a man blowing raspberry’s into a microphone. I have ridden one of these death wagons and let me tell you, the steeds presented to you in 2XL ATV Offroad do not sound like the terrifying metal beasts that they should. The sound effects fail train continues as the cries emitted by the racers when they crash sound painfully amateurish. When you crash, you will cringe. Moving away from the sound effects the music doesn’t fare much better. To be fair the music that is included in the game is great, consisting of powerful guitar riffs and squealing solos that really pump you up. The problem is that as soon as the level actually starts the music stops. Being able to bomb it around corners while listening to badass wailing guitars would be so awesome but instead you get to listen to the farty engine noises.
So there you have it. 2XL have taken everything you loved about 2XL Motocross and jammed it into a new product while at the same time adding a whole host of great content. The importance of the career mode cannot be overstated and this is where the lion’s share of your time will be spent. And well spent it will be! The presentation, the graphics and the huge selection of tracks, it all works so well. It’s just a shame that the audio lets the overall package down, because if it didn’t, we’d have a contender for the racing crown on our hands. We hope the guys at Firemint are at least starting to break a sweat, because we have no doubt that for 2XL Games the third time will be the charm.
- Sound: 5
- Graphics: 9
- Gameplay: 9
- Longevity: 8
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