I played MX vs ATV: All Out when it originally released on the PlayStation 4 back in 2018, and honestly, I wasn’t really that impressed with the game back then. Besides the fact that it didn’t look or play that great, the racing itself just lacked that pull to keep me coming back for more. Despite this, I still found myself interested in the recent re-release of the racer on the Nintendo Switch – whilst my memory of the game wasn’t particularly exceptional, my fondness of the sport made the idea of being able to play it on the go on my Nintendo Switch intriguing at least.
I’m glad I did too. Whilst MX vs ATV: All Out is by no means a great game and has its fair share of issues, I’ve actually had a bit more fun playing it this time around. Funny what difference two years and a change of console can make, huh?
So listen, I’m going to get the flaws that MX vs ATV: All Out has out of the way first, because they could well be game-changers for players who are on the fence about purchasing. Firstly, the frame rate can be pretty inconsistent and rarely sticks to a steady 30fps. In the game’s defence, it never falls to unplayable levels where you’ll find your vehicle chugging along like it’s stuck in some slow-motion rut, but it’s still noticeable when you find yourself in a particularly busy sequence of a race.
The physics can be a little off too, with some jumps and landings just not hitting with finesse. Whilst I’ll admit that a lot of this could come down to my own lacking skills (believe me, I’m not brilliant at the game), there were also times where I’d find myself crashing or swerving off-course through seemingly no fault of my own. Add to that an inconsistent difficulty where the AI of your rivals can either be absolutely perfect or ridiculously idiotic regardless of the difficulty setting and you’ll quickly find that MX vs ATV: All Out is flawed.
Oh, and it’s a bit ugly too, especially on the Nintendo Switch’s handheld mode. It’s not the worst game I’ve seen on the console, but it definitely ain’t pretty – even if it does have some fancy effects on show here and there.
So those are the issues that I had with the game, with quite a few faults to be found across the entire experience – despite this, I can’t deny that I actually had fun playing through MX vs ATV: All Out. You have a rich selection of vehicles to race with that are spread across three different types that genuinely change up how the game plays (motorbikes, ATVs, and UTVs), with each offering a pretty enjoyable racing experience. Whilst my favourites were the bikes thanks to their nimble frame and speedier approach to pulling off slick turns, there was something satisfying about lumping your way around courses in the UTV and just smashing into any opponents in your way. Win at all costs, right?
The racing mechanics themselves are fairly straightforward too, with accessibility at the forefront in the game. Sure, you’ll have to time your braking carefully around bends and adjusting your position in vehicles can be important thanks to the in-game physics, but it all flows together naturally and feels easy to pull off. There’s something really satisfying about nailing those jumps perfectly when speeding across tracks on your motorbike, especially when jostling with other riders at the same time.
It shows that MX vs ATV: All Out does have its special moments, whilst the fact that there’s plenty of content to get stuck into means you won’t run out of things to do fast. I’m still in the process of purchasing and upgrading vehicles to complete my garage, which adds an enjoyable sense of progress that sees your racing capabilities constantly improving outside of just your driving skills. It’s a good job too because there are an abundance of events to compete it that can get progressively more difficult, though it’s also fun to just speed across the game’s open-world environment and hit any stunts you see in your path.
MX vs ATV: All Out has its fair share of problematic issues, but I still found myself enjoying its core racing experience on the Nintendo Switch. Sure, the physics can be iffy, the frame rate is inconsistent, and the AI is all over the place, but gearing up for a frantic race in the comfort of my bed on the Nintendo Switch’s handheld mode never stopped being satisfying – it has actually kept me coming back for more and more races every night over the last week.
The reviewer in me can acknowledge that MX vs ATV: All Out isn’t a great game, but the gamer in me still has fun playing it. Ultimately, your satisfaction with the title is going to come down to what you want from it: if you’re hoping for a realistic and impressive racer you’re going to be let down, but if you’re looking for something you can have quick fixes of frantic racing fun with, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised…
Developer: Rainbow Studios
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC