In the 90’s and early 2000’s, extreme sports games like Wave Race and 1080 could be found around every corner. Classic and fan-favorite games built around the basic principles of extreme racing and simply having a fun time. The genre has inexplicably wavered in recent years, but 3DS eShop mainstay Renegade Kid delivers an authentic and fun, yet sometimes unpolished, take on the genre with ATV Wild Ride 3D.
It’s important to note that ATV Wild Ride 3D is a remake of a Nintendo DS game – one you’ve likely never played due to distribution issues. That said, you’re getting a full retail game with improved graphics and added features for just $7.99. If nothing else, that’s an undeniable bargain.
Wild Ride, wildly enough, is an extreme ATV racer available today on the North American 3DS eShop. It’s a racer than can appeal to anyone, but that takes patience and a bit of light strategy to master. While it’s easy enough to race through the game’s twenty-four courses, most of which are variations on each other, it takes great timing to perform unique stunts and earn speed boosts. Because Wild Ride punishes the repetition of stunts, it pays to try out new button combinations. Figuring out what stunts to perform, and where to perform them, contribute to a unique strategy component that not many racers can claim.
In the racing department, Wild Ride certainly does give you a lot of bang for your eShop buck. Single player offers Quick Race, Freestyle, and Time Trial- along with World Tour, which comprises the meat of the game and allows you to unlock new racers and ATVs . In addition to standard races, there’s a unique elimination race which demands that you constantly lead the pack. Fans of F-Zero will love elimination races, and these races certainly served as a highlight for me. If the plethora of single player modes doesn’t satisfy you, there’s a full-featured online mode with leaderboards. For an eShop game, that’s quite a feat.
But while racing can be very fun and intuitive, it lacks the polish that we’re used to seeing from Renegade Kid. Often, I would land on the ground only for the game to act as if I had fallen off the course and reset my position – usually resulting in myself being sent to the back of the pack. The physics are sometimes a bit floaty, and the inability to take control while performing a trick often caused me to fall off the course. These flaws, however, do not ruin the experience.
Wild Ride will have you touring 24 tracks located around the world. In reality, it boils down to six different locations. Each location, in addition to a standard course, has an extended course and two reverse courses. While there is a great bit of variety, none of the locations will truly wow you with their visuals. What Wild Ride may lack in graphical finesse, however, is made up for with brilliant use of the 3D effect. I’m a gamer who rarely turns 3D on while playing my 3DS, but the 3D visuals in Wild Ride truly astounded me.
The courses are backed by a soundtrack of punk songs. Despite grating on my ears after hours of listening, the songs sound perfectly fine and fit the genre. Still, I couldn’t help but think that Wild Ride would be better off with a multicultural soundtrack that matched the international courses. It certainly would go a long way in adding a layer of immersion to the World Tour. Small complaints, of course, when one considers that Wild Ride is already giving you a lot for the asking price.
Despite some flaws, ATV Wild Ride 3D is a solid racer. It may not instantly capture our hearts in the way that both Mutant Mudds and Bomb Monkey did, but this is still one wild ride you won’t want to miss.