The first thing that’s going to grab you when you fire this game up are the menus. MUD’s menus look like something straight out of a comic book. It’s a shame that the art style doesn’t stay consistent when it comes to the actual gameplay. The game’s tracks often feature lots of impressive details like giant, inflatable Monster Energy cans and other cool track side scenery, but overall, the graphics are a little bland. I couldn’t help but wish that the game used the comic book style throughout the game. It’s a bizarre design decision. On one hand you have these great menus that come to life with tons of personality, and then you have the in-game graphics, which are basically the opposite. The soundtrack is not going to be to everyone’s taste either. MUD features a fairly small track list, comprised of screechy, emo acts. Most players will likely turn the music off as it gets pretty dreary, fairly quickly.
MUD is split into three game modes – an “Official Mode”, “MUD World Tour” and “Multiplayer”. The Official Mode features all the real riders and teams from the FIM MX1, MX2 and the Monster Energy Motocross of Nations championships. You can jump into a quick race or start a championship with your favorite rider. While motocross fans and enthusiasts will likely enjoy taking to the track with their favorite riders, there is not a lot on offer here for gamers that aren’t familiar with the sport. There are no bios or any other information about any of the riders. Other than a star rating out of five, if you don’t know who these guys are, you’re on your own. The multiplayer allows you to pick your favorite rider and race up to 15 other players online. You’ll have a hard time finding any multiplayer matches and there are no local or split screen multiplayer options.Luckily, that’s where MUD’s World Tour mode comes in.
MUD World Tour is where you are going to be spending most of your time. You start the MUD World Tour by selecting one of four “heroes”. It’s not so much a career mode, as it is an events mode. You earn coins by completing different events and then spend them on upgrading your rider’s talents, buying new motocross gear and unlocking new events. The events can become a bit of a grind after a while, as you need to buy new events in order to make progress. MUD’s World Tour includes standard races, checkpoint races, head to head races, elimination cups and trick battles. There’s also something called the “Monster Energy Trick Battle”. In essence, a freestyle motocross bonus that allows you to ride around a number of small arenas, pulling off tricks and setting high scores. It could have been a nice distraction from the racing, but awkward physics and the fact you only start with a handful of tricks spoil the overall experience. Like everything else in the MUD World Tour, tricks have to be brought and can be very expensive. The bikes lack any sense of weight in this mode making them feel more like a shoe that has been tossed in the air, rather than a 100kg dirt bike. Spending coins on customizing your hero can also be a little counter-productive. Buying new helmets, for example, offers no incentives for the player.The only customization in terms of motorbikes is in the form of different liveries. There are no other visual or performance upgrades available. It would have been nice to pick from different motocross machines and be able to customize them.
No matter what mode you decide to play, there is fun to be had. MUD plays like an arcade game. Simple controls, an emphasized focus on performing scrubs and a boost function in the form of “energy drinks” make up the core gameplay mechanics. The bikes don’t slide around, you don’t have to worry about clutch or changing gears and you don’t even have to manage the rider’s weight. There are no independent front and rear brake buttons. Right trigger button for gas, left for brake. That’s it. The simple controls may disappoint motocross fans as controlling the dirt bikes is incredibly easy and straight forward. For everyone else, the controls make MUD really accessible and easy to pick up and play.
The biggest problem with MUD, is that it doesn’t cater to its audience. The game feels too arcadey for die hard motocross fans, but doesn’t feature enough content to suck new players into the world of motocross racing. Inconsistent physics and presentation also hurt the overall experience. MUD does offer a sweet spot that can be a lot of fun, if you are the sort of person that gets excited by the thrill of racing dirt bikes around.
5 – Okay
+ Official FIM MX1, MX2 and MEMoN licence
+ Pick up and play arcade controls
– Bland visuals
– Awkward physics
– Limited content