Ubisoft Monster 4X4: World Circuit
A surprisingly fun racer that should hold you over until the next Mario Kart arrives.
- Good control system for Wii novices, customisation, fun mini-games
- Annoying box art?
Monster 4x4 isn't a particularly deep title, but you'd have to be a fool to go into thinking that it would be. It's probably best as a weekend rental to blast through with your friends.
Price$ 99.95 (AUD)
It's confession time: after playing Ubisoft's abysmal racer, GT Pro Series, we didn't have high expectations for Monster 4x4. In fact, we were expecting to have an even worse time. Maybe it was the box art. Whereas GT Pro Series features an image of a slick race car against a stark white background, Monster 4x4's box features a cartoonish monster truck with ridiculously oversized wheels.
Yes, we're aware of the old adage that warns against judging the relative merits of a book based solely on its outside cover but putting the two side by side, it's hard not to think that GT Pro Series would offer the better experience. And since we already knew just what kind of experience GT Pro Series offered — it wasn't a good one, that's for sure — you couldn't blame us for expecting to be completely and utterly underwhelmed by Monster 4x4.
Well, colour us wrong. Not only is Monster 4x4 a better game — not a difficult feat considering how awful GT Pro Series was — it's also good enough to stand on its own relative merits. First, Monster offers vastly better control scheme than GT Pro. It doesn't have the level of sophistication to satisfy a racing geek's tastes but it is perfect for the Wii neophyte who is still trying to get a grasp on the Wii Remote's unique capabilities.
The tracks also pack a lot of fun into a relatively small area, with plenty of jumps, power ups and flaming barrels to take out race leaders. The sound is actually one of the bright spots as the roar of 600 cubic foot engines, real enough to for a second think a tractor pull has found its way into your living room.
What's also surprising is the level of customisation that the game allows. You can change your rims, paint jobs, stat points and decals without going overboard into the minutiae of engines and transmissions.
The game also features four mini-games that are a blast to play. We were especially fond of the vehicular football game where players bounce into one another while trying to knock a giant soccer ball into an oversized goal. Battle mode is also a lot of fun shooting other players with flaming oil drums.
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