[Review] MX Vs ATV All Out – Nintendo Switch

Written by Mel Curtis
  • Developer: Rainbow Studios
  • Publisher: THQ Nordic
  • Release date: 1/9/2020
  • Price: £34.99 / $39.99
  • Review code provided by THQ Nordic

Introducing: MX Vs ATV All Out Switch Review

I don’t know a thing about Motocross or ATVs. Well, that’s not entirely true. I know they go fast, go offroad, and go over big hills. Basically, I’m a newbie to these kinds of things and given that I’m not usually a fan of realistic racing games, this game and I seemed like we would be a bad match from the get-go. I think it’s just important to get that out there before we get into the nitty-gritty of this. So, is this a game that was able to change my mind about the genre?

Get Up To Speed

Not really. The game and I got off on a bit of a bad foot from the start when I was thrown into an open world racing complex without much warning as to what was going on and told to drive myself to the first tutorial nearby to get started. It became very clear to me that this was a game that pretty much entirely lacked a story mode to it. Perhaps this is something that I should have expected would be missing, but I had expected even a basic text screen that said something like: “Welcome to your first day as a pro! Let’s make sure that you have a handle on the basics before jumping into the big leagues.” Even something as small as that would have made me connect with the little person on my bike a little better instead of simply seeing them for the polygons that they are. 

Instead, this is a case where you kind of have to make your own story with what you’re given. So I got down to customizing my little avatar with the basics that were there and decided she was Lucy Thunderstruck, no-nonsense girl who doesn’t take any teasing and hates to lose. A bit much, but it let me actually keep some interest in the game. I also started making up little stories to myself about why it was so important to win each of the events that I was putting her in. One race was to get the money to save Grandma’s house, another was in the memory of a dear friend who died in a flaming crash on this very track! However, to be clear, this was my mind working to fill in the gaps for a story that wasn’t there at all. This is something of a more budget title, for sure, but the complete lack of anything to drive me but acquiring currency to spend on upgrades to drive better to acquire more currency may work as a driving loop in a mobile game but wasn’t something that could keep my attention long term.

Over the Hump

Overall the action here is pretty simple. You only have to press a few buttons in order to handle all your basic needs for driving. The let stick controls your steering, much like other racing games, and your right stick is in charge of the way that your vehicle tilts, allowing you to adjust positioning when in the air in order to get the best landing possible and hopefully not end up breaking your neck. This is one of the most critical factors of your steering because even though you can quickly reset after your fall off your vehicle with the press of a button, every fall is a waste of precious seconds. You also have a button in order to get a little more grip for the sake of taking corners more tightly and going up steep inclines. This is something that can give you a little boost in pretty critical moments, provided that you remember to use it. The only thing about the controls that really threw me off is that your acceleration is controlled by the right trigger, which is a lot different than the way so many of the racing games that I have played before where one of the face buttons would be that. Sure, my thumb doesn’t get a button-shaped indent in it anymore, but it did take some getting used to.

There is variation in the races, but it all boils down to the same basics, which does get a little repetitive after a while. There isn’t any of that random element that cart racing games like Mario Kart or CTR have. That’s not to say that this game needs to add something like that, a game like this isn’t putting that kind of gameplay as the focus. However, it is to say that if you have a preference for something like a kart racer, this might not be the game for you. If you are someone who does have a fondness for more reality-based racers, you might find some fun here, but unless you have a deep interest in building your perfect bike or ATV, there might be little to motivate you to go. It certainly wasn’t enough for me, but then again, I’m not a car or any other kind of vehicle nut.

There’s a lot of customizability to the building of your own vehicles that can be slowly unlocked with time. If you’re into something like that, it’s likely going to be something that really appeals to you. As someone who knows little, I’m not really able to comment on it much, unfortunately, but there does seem to be a lot of bells and whistles. I was personally more excited about getting to put my rider in different outfits, though.

Vroom Vroom

That black dot in the middle of the screen is me after getting flung wildly in the air by the game breaking for a second

What I don’t think will appeal to actual fans of these sort of games is the way that the game actually looks. The game is just pretty ugly overall. The textures aren’t the sharpest and some things to end up looking kind of jagged at times. It’s one of those situations where I understand that this isn’t one of the big-budget AAA titles, but I also feel like some more time could have been spent polishing it. I’d much rather something be more stylized if they’re just going to make attempts at realism look messy. It doesn’t help that the game tends to be kind of blurry overall.

I’d also like the physics to be a little less… everywhere. While most of the time while I was playing, the physics behaved more or less how I would expect them to as not necessarily reality, but a simulation of one. However, there were points where if I was accidentally going outside the map, I would be launched high into the air only to smash heavily into the ground. There were also times where when in a race, I would look ahead and see the other racers leaping higher into the air than the terrain should have allowed. It was absolutely hilarious but did take me out of the moment and out of the game. 

The soundtrack here wasn’t anything special either. It’s one of those ones where I feel like someone’s old iPod playlist was dumped into the game. There’s a lot of heavy rock that just kind of feels either out of place or just not right for the game at all. Once again this is something that isn’t quite outright bad, but it was something that just didn’t work. None of this is helped y how no matter what you are doing, every time a vehicle is moving you’re going to have the same repetitive whine of the engine going over everything until it stops. That alone was grating enough for me to shut off the sound on the game most of the time while playing if only to avoid annoying other people in the room.

Rev Your Engine

While the game runs about the same in both handheld and docked mode, though handheld makes the issues with visuals a little bit worse, like most games. However, no matter where you play you’re going to run into framerate issues. The game stuttered frequently when I was in races with other computer players. If I, someone who cannot usually tell very well if something is dropping just a frame or two here and there, was able to see every drop in this game, then you know it has to be pretty bad.

I shudder to think of what the online mode looks like with the game trying to both maintain a connection and keep running at the same time. Unfortunately, I ever had the luck to get into an online match. Either the game’s online player base is too small to support the online, or I just had very poor luck.

SO… MX or ATV

This isn’t a game I went in expecting to like. I thought it would be one of those games that I don’t like but could see the merit in for those who are interested in these sorts of racers. Instead, I found something that was pretty ugly to look at, had me muting it at all times, and ran poorly. There are little glimmers of quality here and there, but nothing that would convince a non-fan like me to stick with it. It ends up feeling like something that was rushed out with little care put in, which makes me feel sorry for true fans of this series.

Pros

  • Great amounts of customization
  • Decent variety of race styles

Cons

  • Muddy and blurry visuals
  • Constant motor noises that grate on you
  • Poor optimization and framerate issues
  • Gameplay can get bland for those not already interested

Verdict

Mx Vs ATV All Out is a game that feels rushed and uncared for in enough aspects that it fails to make new fans of anyone but those who are already the most diehard.

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