For a handheld system with no physical control mechanisms (analog sticks, digital pads, or buttons), we continue to be amazed at the quality racing games that appear on the iPhone. Users have consistently grumbled about motion controls in racing games on the PS3, for instance, as fine tuning the controls to feel natural is apparently harder than you’d think. And while there have been several noteworthy racing games on the platform to date, 2XL’s latest offroading offering is up there with the very best.
For starters, because it’s what you will notice first, this is a phenomenal looking game. There are 18 tracks in all, spread across three types: Supercross (arena style), Nationals (tracks in the outdoors), and Freestyle (big pits full of hills and tight corners). Each of these has a unique look, and the sprawling wilderness present in the outdoor tracks is a site to behold. Great draw distance, detailed textures, and plenty of flora litter the courses to provide maximum eye candy. All of this, with the option to view from the first or third person and a commendable frame rate to boot. This is definitely a showpiece game.
Doing the Superman.
The fun doesn’t stop with the graphics; 2XL ATV Offroad backs up its exterior beauty with a worthy racing engine. Controls default to using tilt movements (although you can use a visual analog stick should you desire it), and this is what we recommend. Turning is spot on, and you won’t have to shake your iPhone around wildly to get around hairpin turns. If you played 2XL Supercross, you know that the physics are toned down a bit to allow for more exciting airtime, so don’t treat this as a racing sim by any means. We were big fans of the big air, though, and wouldn’t change a thing.
So this is a game that looks great and plays well, and to top it off, has enough modes to keep you coming back for a long time. The arcade mode lets you play at your leisure, which is great for Freestyle tracks that let you rack up points by stringing together insane stunts. The career mode boasts a lot of depth, featuring a league system that allows you to earn achievement trophies, which you can then show off to friends via online leaderboards.
One word: Wheee!
You play against up to eight other racers in the single-player campaign, and a more than adequate online mode stacks you against five opponents. The game boasts hundreds of driver and ATV skin combinations, thanks to 15 models for each, but understand that most of the changes are cosmetic. It will help you differentiate yourself amidst your online buddies, though.
We couldn’t be happier with 2XL ATV Offroad. There is nothing really to fault the game for. 2XL took their Supercross game, dug deep to fill all of the shallow gameplay in that game, and turned out a superb product that should appeal to racing fans of all stripes. With the likelihood of Bluetooth multiplayer coming soon (based on a “not currently supported” line in the product description), this is one that is only poised to get better with time. The price is steep at $7.99, but this game feels like it could be sold on store shelves at a significantly higher price.