Playing a game is what you most look forward to after a hard day of work. But when the bus driver decides reading a paper while you stand freezing your balls of on the kerb, it doesn’t always leave you in the best of moods. But these days, those situations are not half as bad. We can simply whip out our smartphones and get that gaming fix on the go. So is MX Offroad the game to do that?
MX Offroad is the next entry into the MX series of racers for iOS and Android devices. From 2XL Games, MX Offroad gives you the chance to not strap yourself into a classic dirt or quad bike and charge your way through the competitive gran prix events as you bounce around the narrow corners of dirt track courses. The game’s main menu has a knack for being decisive. On first look, it doesn’t seem like a whole lot content is there for the picking until you figure out it’s all-slide control scheme. Then you’ll find a surprisingly wealthy set of contests to win over and then perhaps some more. Just be sure to put your device’s music feature to go use. Unless you like the slow rock played during the opening and closing credits of American documentaries.
Jumping into the 3 difficulty choice career mode, you’ll cycle through multi-race grand prix competitions and Tony Hawk-esque trick challenges – Albeit those are watered down. For the most part you’ll be hoping to get back to the grand-prix events as soon they force you into the laborious trick contests. The untrustworthy accelerometer controls and simple “tap” stunts suck out all of the fun and creative skill chaining from the system. The only noteworthy joy from this mode comes from firing your driver over a cliff to see how much distance he can clear in the fetal position. Ragdoll is always a plus but not an option.
Racing in the other hand is, while not perfect, pretty enjoyable. The huge range in track lengths and curvy designs from FMX, MX and SX make eventually getting used to a track layout almost impossible leaving you to nail the suspension button timings on the bumps and hills to give you an edge over your opponents, it’s a strategy that effectively keeps you on the edge too. It’s a simple system, one that will really show a big difference between the pros and the novices in competitive play, something the social networking features of MX Offroad really seems to hint at. After each race you’ll be shown your results along with the recent achievements of other players connected to the OpenFeint network with the chance to challenge their accomplishments. But with the ease of exploiting the many corners of the tracks, it seems like a whole lot of foul play will eventually make it’s way onto the score boards.
If track memorisation isn’t the game plan here, then you’d think choosing the right vehicle would be key, right? Well that isn’t the case either. Colour chances aside, even with the paid version we couldn’t find any additional vehicles or even any noticeable differences into the two given- a quad bike and a dirt bike (150cc or 300cc); two different types of vehicles. How the cornering on a machine with 2 extra wheels can feel the same as a bike, we’ll never know. And that’s another thing worth pointing out. If you came into MX expecting a realistic offroad racer, you’ll leave within the first 5 minutes. You won’t have to master the tight cornering mechanics or even any use of the brakes. You can effectively turn a sharp 180 degree U-bend with ease if you are willing to sharply twist your arms around to do it – and you should, it’s a race saver.
While if you were considering MX Offroad as your out-of-house racer you may be disappointed with the near non-existent handling and the mess of a score attack feature being nothing like what you’d expect at a real event. The core racing side of MX Offroad isn’t all that bad, however. Mistakes will see you fighting for a decent finish and mastering the suspension timings is the only sure-fire way to improve your lap times later on, but it’s potential exploits and unrealistic controls will raise some serious issues with scoreboards online play – If it had any. If you are looking for a burst of offroad fun on the go, then this is it, but those looking for a more full realistic racer should probably hold off on this one.
Final Score 2.5/5