MX vs. ATV Untamed

Left on Incinerator's doorstep in a basket, the Wii Untamed tries to measure up to its attractive and successful siblings

Oct 5, 2007

Games don't have feelings, but try telling that to the Wii version of offroader MX vs. ATV: Untamed, which is being treated with the level of respect that would reduce red-headed stepchildren the world over to tears. Showing their love to prettier 360 and PS3 versions, long-time series developer Rainbow palmed off the Wiimote to Incinerator Games (known for the Wii version of... Cars: The Videogame) faster than Carl Lewis would get rid of a booger-covered baton in the 100 meter relay.

So it comes as a pleasant surprise that Incinerator is working on something more than an uglier port of Untamed's bigger, un-adopted siblings; something better behaved. The unique control scheme for the majority of the game lends itself to intuitive, engrossing fun. You hold the Wiimote horizontally, like a pair of handlebars. Turn it right and you go right; crank it back and your front wheel comes up off the dirt.Whether this scheme will work as well for, say, ATVs, is an open question.

The second unique feature to the Wii version of Untamed is the Ski Jump, which has its own unique set of controls. The player holds the Wiimote in one hand and the nunchuck in the other; various combinations of button presses and hand movements lead to a plethora of tricks in the air. How enjoyable this mode ends up being depends largely on the precision of the motion controls: if the movements behind the tricks aren't distinct enough, Ski Jump has the potential to degrade into a button masher with more random flailing than ASL 101. Furthermore, Ski Jump has limited potential: how fun is it to take an offroad buggy, or any vehicle in the game except the motorcycle, down a ski ramp again and again?

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