ATV Quad Kings gives you the opportunity to hop on a four-wheeler and kick up some mud. It also gives you the chance to repeatedly crash and fall off your vehicle. You can count on doing more of the latter than the former.
The game offers four modes: World Tour, Arcade, Time Trial, and Free Style. World Tour allows you to unlock racetracks and advance in the ranking, earning money to buy new vehicles. Arcade mode allows you to race in single or multiplayer on any unlocked track and earn cash prizes. Time trial lets you race against yourself on any unlocked track and vehicle. Freestyle is an open track full of jumps to perform various stunts.
The game can be controlled with or without the nunchuk attachment. With it, the nunchuk control stick steers and tricks can be performed with the C and Z buttons. If only using the Wiimote (or Wii steering wheel), the steering is done with the wiimote itself and tricks can be performed with the left and right on the d-pad. Control seemed more precise with the nunchuk attached and tricks were also easier to execute without wiping out.
No matter the control scheme, the game is not particularly thrilling. Racing can feel slow and frustrating, with the hills and bumps only slowing down the action. Sharp turns often lead to wipe outs and it is sometimes easy to skip over parts of the track and lose your orientation. The most entertaining part about the game is the Free Style mode…if you can figure out how to do the tricks. Sure, actually reading through the manual will yield this information, but how many people actually do that? Since the goal of this mode is to perform certain tricks listed on the screen, maybe a training mode or just the buttons to perform them would be helpful. I spent a half hour crashing head first off my quad before giving up. Honestly, that was one of the most amusing parts of the game. Performing tricks is not very satisfying as it involves simply hitting two buttons in different sequences. The trick still has to be landed properly which can be challenging when the viewing angle switches during a trick. Suddenly you have no concept of where the ground is or what is in your immediate view when you land. And if you don’t land, or wipe out soon after landing, the trick won’t count.
Like other Zoo games, the music is appropriately rocking for the game content and the graphics are a bit choppy. Though crisp graphics aren’t as crucial to this game as a standard car racing game, it would still be nice to see some rendered animation or even clips of real live ATV racing. Actual fans of ATV may not find the racing very exciting, but the tricks are at least an accurate representation and offer a variety of stunts ranging from simple Can-Cans to the thrilling Superman. If only the game captured those thrills and real “mud in your face” action, then the game might be more worth playing.
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