No flashy intros, no cutscenes, no announcers, just the thrill of the chase for pole position. MX vs. ATV Supercross doesn’t try to pretend that it’s something more grandiose. It’s a low-budget title and it shows right away. From its barren menus to the archaic visuals, Rainbow Studios’ racer makes little effort in awing gamers with its presentation. But who cares about aesthetic fluff if the gameplay shines. MX vs. ATV may not be the most attractive racer on the market, but its fun and rhythmical supercross gameplay, which is surprisingly hypnotizing at times, justifies the bargain asking price. The developers have done a solid job of keeping THQ’s franchise alive, even if it feels behind times. It’s an entertaining little distraction until a more polished next-gen entry becomes available.
MX vs. ATV Supercross throws players straight into the action. Career Mode could have just as well been labeled Arcade Mode. There’s a serious lack of depth and sense of progression, with only simple rider/bike customization options tossed in for variety. Players pick from several racing disciplines and race track after track until moving onto the next event. The races focus around gaining momentum and establishing rhythm to overcome the tracks’ diverse dirt hills. In a way, MX vs. ATV Supercross benefits from its simplicity. It’s great for quick gameplay sessions without having to worry about complex upgrades or vehicle tuning, but the lack of variety and initiative to keep progressing hurts the overall experience.
"The developers have done a solid job of keeping THQ’s franchise alive, even if it feels behind times."
Gamers unfamiliar with supercross are likely to detest the first few laps. The bikes slide across the track and understanding the handling requires some trial and error. The only guidance is a gamepad snapshot during loading screens that displays controller functions. Riders can do tricks as well, but performing them feels clunky and doesn't add anything to the end-race performance.
Mastering the right analog stick is the catalyst for success. Leaning in and out of turns, prepping for a jump and adjusting the vehicle nose is all managed via the right stick. It’s difficult to say how realistic or arcadey the controls feel due to my unfamiliarity with the sport, but MX vs. ATV Supercross offers enough challenge to satisfy fans of either playstyles. Both the MX bikes and ATVs control surprisingly well, although the ATVs seem too bouncy. This becomes particularly frustrating when several ATVs are clustered around a sharp turn. MX vs. ATV Supercross also offers 12-player multiplayer and 2-player co-op modes. Playing with other more experienced racers is thrilling and adds some needed personality to the game’s otherwise lifeless world.
"Despite its borderline inexcusable technical shortcomings and lack of depth, MX vs. ATV Supercross has an undeniable nostalgic charm."
MX vs. ATV Supercross has solid gameplay, but its outdated graphics make a terrible first impression. The menus are ugly, both the riders and vehicle are outlined by terrible jaggies and the derivative tracks are impossible to tell apart. Animations are a joke too. Riders sit stiffly on their vehicles and the ragdoll crash animations are laughable. MX vs. ATV may be a low-budget title, but we live in a time when a one-person indie developer can deliver better aesthetics than this. At least the frame rate stays steady regardless of how hectic the action gets.
Despite its borderline inexcusable technical shortcomings and lack of depth, MX vs. ATV Supercross has an undeniable nostalgic charm. The gameplay is addictive and there are a good amount of tracks and disciplines. While the supercross genre has waned over the years and fans of the sport still have a long wait until a true next-gen offering, they could do a lot worse than MX vs. ATV Supercross.
Review by: Tin Salamunic | Reviewed on: Xbox 360