Everyone remembers miniclip.com from their school days. Sitting there mischeviously in I.T. class playing one of their multitude of different flash games, then switching back to Excel when the teacher looks at you. Don’t lie. We all know you did.

MX Nitro is a new release from MiniClip, available on PS4, Xbox One and PC. I will say this before we begin, I’m not a huge fan of racing games, nor motocross, that said this game caught me way off guard.

MX Nitro is a fantastic game! Of course it has its hang ups but we’ll get to those in good time. The game features a Trials HD style of gameplay and design, you ride from left to right, jumping obstacles and obstructions while performing stunts from an expansive trick library. You can take part in a number of different event trials such as freestyle, hill climb, sprints and intense boss battles.

Each region consists of a number of different trials and challenges, growing in difficulty and complexity as the world tour continues. They provide good warm ups for the final challenge of the area, but they can be chores in themselves. Each one comes with 2 sub objectives, and they can be some real doozies. Completing both and the challenge quest in one run can prove frustrating and almost impossible. Learning the level terrain is key to completing these, knowing when to go big and when to just ride it out. Personally I focused on the challenge quest first then coming back to earn the bonus cash from the sub-objectives.

The closing challenges often involve competing against another rider, the boss of that zone. These challenges can be as simple as just racing them and beating them to the end or out scoring them in a trick attack event. One thing’s for sure, they are no pushover. Challenging you to think fast and trick hard, they are a real test of reflex and skill. Balancing nitro usage, trick combos and speed to achieve the objectives is exceptionally challenging. The bosses sometimes prove to be just as human as the player, bailing out from a trick or missing a jump, but these opportunities are few and far between.

Controlling your bike in a motocross game is unsurprisingly incredibly important, but very easy. That being said, it’s easy to over/under correct and to give your rider a serious headache. Bike orientation is quite responsive, but trick combos can be a problem. Inputs often seem to lag and fall short, long combos can be especially unresponsive, changing into a different move part way through the combo instead of the desired outcome. Timing to get the right amount of airtime for the trick input is exceptionally hard but it makes it all the more gratifying when you do pull it off, but you might have to attempt it a couple dozen times.

Each region features unique scenery beautifully well designed. Sadly you don’t get much time to appreciate the artwork in the background while tearing through it. The forest locales are especially impressive with some fantastic light-play in the backgrounds. Mountainous regions and marshlands feature some great artwork, however the stages based in Egypt are incredibly well done. the sand effects are brilliant. It’s a silly thing to focus on, but it really says a lot about the effort put into this game.

MX Nitro‘s soundtrack features some great tracks to go along with the great tracks (geddit?). The songs are often a little hard to hear over the sound of the engine revving at times but that’s a good thing. Balancing your bike can be crucial in certain obstacles and stages, so hearing the bike noise is quite helpful. It’s easy to compartmentalised and lose yourself in the background song but it’s very much just that, a background song. Good but forgettable. Enough to get you in the zone but not enough to distract from the challenge at hand.

Mulitplayer races are fun but you have to unlock them first which is the crappy part. In order to compete with your friends online you need to have beaten the corresponding challenge in the career mode. It’s a shame as the multiplayer contest levels run the same events as those that you played in order to unlock them. It wouldn’t be so bad if there were leaderboards to compare scores for the career levels against your friends.

The gameplay is great, the controls aren’t flawless but they do their job. The soundtrack is distinctly forgettable but great in the moment and the visuals are fantastic. Multiplayer is okay, it’s never gonna be a massively social game and that’s a shame but otherwise the game is good. The feel and flow and everything works brilliantly. It’s deceptive at first but you can easily find yourself blasting a couple of hours away.

Sure it’s not a massively deep game, but it’s easy to pick up and play, it gives a good Trials HD vibe without being a million levels long and incredibly frustrating.

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