Monster 4x4 World Circuit review

  • Controls vastly improved
  • Upgradeable trucks
  • Multiplayer mini-games
  • Lock-on oil barrels
  • Blah track design
  • Butt-rock soundtrack

Not much has changed since Monster 4x4 World Circuit appeared on last generation consoles. It's still saddled with weak track design, dopey opponents, and flaming oil barrels that inexplicably follow targets around like lost puppies. Still, Ubisoft wisely scrapped the original, horribly unresponsive control system, and replaced it with surprisingly well done motion sensitivity for the Wii release.

Included is a plastic steering wheel that snaps together easily enough and holds your Wii Remote in a snug little pocket without blocking access to buttons. Twist this light chunk of plastic, and your ride's wheels turn in near-sync. If you're more comfortable positioning the Remote parallel to the floor, you'll find that it still works perfectly without changing any settings. The developers even managed to avoid the critical mistake Wii racers like Need for Speed Carbon have made, where turning too far made your wheels go straight again. As a result, upgrading stats on your fleet of trucks is more fun, though it still takes far too long to feel the impact of your choices.

While control is greatly improved, nitrous injection and stunt execution are still badly flawed. When you hit a purple jump, you're supposed to jerk the controller skyward to launch your rig into nonsensical barrel rolls, flat spins, and flips, but about 20% of the time your spastic movements are simply ignored. Each stunt helps fill your nitro meter, which can be expended by pushing the Remote quickly toward the television. Unfortunately, this too is ignored more often than one would like.

On the plus side, the strange draw-in problems that originally plagued this title are nowhere to be seen, and the environments do look and feel a bit cleaner. The goofy multiplayer mini-games are back, with the giant truck equivalent of soccer being the best of the bunch. But once the thin novelty factor wears off you're left with a twenty race world circuit and a decidedly ho-hum multiplayer experience. Oversized vehicles should be loud, powerful, and exciting; here, they can't get the needle past quiet, weak, and dull.

Few people will accuse Monster 4x4 World Circuit of being a good game, but it's been dressed up enough that it at least crawls out of the sub-mediocre sewer. Still, the improvements offered hardly make it worth the doubled asking price over the Xbox version, and we doubt the plastic steering wheel is responsible for an extra twenty bucks. Even if you're a monster truck freak desperate for some lukewarm dirt-churning, make sure you try before you buy.

More Info

Available Platforms: Wii
Genre: Racing
Published by: Ubisoft
Developed by: Ubisoft
ESRB Rating:
Everyone: Violence


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