Oct 5, 2007
Having starred in some fairly reasonable Tony Hawk-style games and sensibly extricated himself from the risible BMX XXX a few years ago, Dave Mirra seemed to drop off the gaming radar. But while we'd sort of forgotten he was still around, it seems he never actually went away. Late last year he popped up on PSP, to very poor reviews, and now the same game has been converted to Wii.
BMX Challenge is pretty much identical to the Sony portable version. Instead of the free-roaming stunt action that characterised the early Mirra games, it's a racing effort in the style of Tony Hawk's Downhill Challenge, only nowhere near as good.
Holding the remote on its side, you press the 2 button to accelerate and use the D-pad and 1 button to do tricks. Jerking the remote upwards makes the bike jump into the air, allowing you to get some big air even at low speeds.
The main problem with the game is its near total lack of excitement. The courses are bland and poorly designed - even though they're extremely short and it's not uncommon to take a wrong turning or wind up running into a blind hazard. Some obstacles can be knocked over with minimal effect on your speed but others will stop you dead. And the many pedestrians wandering the environments have no collision detection whatsoever.
And as long as you don't end up crashing into more than a couple of walls per lap, it's incredibly hard not to finish in first place. The AI riders often fall off as well, so you've always got a chance to regain the lead.
As for the stunts that Dave Mirra's famous for (he isn't a racer, is he?), the game simply doesn't deliver. You just hold the D-pad or tap the 1 button to perform mechanical, unrewarding spins, grinds and flips. There's no skill involved in landing them, and no reason to bother during a race, especially when riding up one of the half-pipes dotted around the levels means going way off the racing line.