We know what you're thinking: great, another straight port of a two year-old PlayStation 2 game for Sony's neglected portable. You're not wrong, exactly, but MTX Mototrax still scores, albeit marginally, by surviving the translation with most of its fun intact.
Play is split between racing, showing off, and exploring. Competing in supercross and motocross against the computer is reasonably challenging and fun, even if the CPU-controlled riders occasionally seem to sport a nitrous tank and harbor an irritating penchant for ramming your rear end. Racing nearby buddies with an Ad Hoc Wi-Fi connection is infinitely more satisfying, though you'll have to plow through the career mode to choose from more than a single level. You can even create your own tracks with an editor that's ridiculously easy to work with.
Above: These are all PlayStation 2 screens. The publisher literally wouldn't send us PSP screens, even though the game looks about the same on both systems.
Working your way up to the X-Games main event is a plodding exercise in ho-hum technical prowess, but the stunt system kicks all manner of ass, featuring a full 115 different tricks, ranging from vanilla Can-Can kicks to insane Scorpion seat grabs. You can pull Supermen and Heelclicks on the arena circuit, sure, but truly insane, stylish air can only be grabbed on free ride courses like the Everglades and Rock Quarry. Posting huge stunt combos and completing objectives earns you MTXP with which to open the gates of other playgrounds. There are only four of these free-roaming areas, but they're on the large side, and littered with objectives, "trick spots" that add to your stunt repertoire, and pick-up races with the locals. Most goals amount to getting a certain amount of air, or landing a ridiculously long wheelie, but they give this reincarnation of MTX Mototrax a pick-up-and-play life that's perfect for life on the road.
There's a predictable array of irritations you'll need to look past: collision detection treats dangling leaves like brick walls, bail animations are hilariously poor, and blurry textures make this dirt-choked world look like it was run through a washing machine. Given the wonky physics, it's little surprise that bike handling never quite manages to find a happy medium between arcade twitch and realistic inertia, but it does manage to feel responsive, and its various quirks become familiar soon enough.
There's enough to like about MTX Mototrax's simple-minded fairgrounds and giddy airborne excitement to overlook its value-priced rough edges. It won't set any records for beauty or brains, but it's still one dirt road you won't regret taking home.