(3DS eShop)

ATV Wild Ride 3D (3DS eShop)

Game Review

ATV Wild Ride 3D Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Philip J Reed

A game of hills and valleys

Bringing online racing to the 3DS eShop in any form is a pretty ambitious undertaking, but we'll say up front that ATV Wild Ride 3D gets that part exactly right. In our experience the online racing is fast, smooth, and reliable. As far as that goes, we genuinely couldn't ask for anything more, and the simple fact that it has online functionality might be enough for many gamers.

However the game does have its issues, and they unfortunately run rather deeply. This is a shame, because ATV Wild Ride 3D absolutely radiates potential.

First, the good. In addition to the excellent online play, there are varied environments. While there are only a small number of tracks, they each look and feel unique, which lends them a definite sense of character. They are each based in a different region of the world, and come with variants as well. For instance, you might race on a track once, then find it extended the next time you come across it, and reversed the third time. This is a great way of maximizing the mileage of relatively limited assets, and we like that.

As you race through the single player World Tour mode, you'll earn points depending upon where you finish in each race. These points allow you to unlock additional tracks and tours, and there are eight racers and eight vehicles to unlock along the way as well. In addition to the World Tour you can also play a Quick Race, which allows you to choose a track and set the number of racers and laps, among other variables, a Time Trial which sees you trying to set and beat your best times, and Freestyle mode, which awards points for tricks — more on those later — instead of speed.

These offline modes provide quite a lot of playtime, and the online mode adds even more. The visuals are a bit muddy, but they fly by quickly enough that you're not likely to be distracted by textures. The 3D is also well implemented, and doesn't slow the game down to any noticeable degree.

The soundtrack consists of a number of thrashing, aggressive rock tunes, which can sometimes feel out of place in a given environment, but we liked them. We imagine this will be one of the more divisive things about the game, as it's definitely not the kind of music that will please everybody, but we enjoyed it well enough that it wasn't bothersome.

Unfortunately we're by no means finished talking about the game, as there are quite a few issues we feel interfere significantly with our enjoyment of ATV Wild Ride 3D.

For starters, and perhaps the most important issue, there's the clipping. Solid objects, in many cases, aren't solid. Meaning you can drive — or fly — straight through an object that should make you bounce back. It's impossible to predict which objects aren't treated as solid until you're already zipping through them, and if you're relying on a stone or a sign to deflect your trajectory — as they usually do, and are meant to — you can end up on the receiving end of a nasty surprise as you instead drop into oblivion.

The problem ranges from stones and boulders that are actually on the track, and therefore very likely to be hit at some point, to objects that you can fly into off a jump, and in the latter case you can even end up on parts of the track you're not supposed to be able to access. It's sloppy design, and it's quite frustrating.

In other cases, the opposite happens: you collide with a solid object and bounce back, as you should, but the game interprets that — somehow — as you falling off the track, and your screen will fade out while your racer is placed back where he's "supposed" to be. It's very strange, and very annoying, especially when being reset costs you a nice lead in the race, and you never left the track to begin with.

The layout of the tracks is also problematic when you can't see what's coming up ahead. Since you can't always rely on solid objects to keep you from falling to your doom, it's doubly important that you stay centered on the road. However various jumps will launch you into the abyss if you hit them at anything more than a crawl...even though the game encourages you to take jumps as high and far as you can. Racing therefore becomes less of a sport of speed and reaction than it does one of consideration and memorisation, as you can rarely see whether the other side of that ramp holds more track or nothing at all, and if you don't remember, you're just flipping a coin.

Many of the tracks also feature a fair number of hairpin turns, which tend to occur after ramps or other obstacles that have you approaching them at an inconvenient angle. While this isn't a problem in itself, it does again demand perfection rather than reaction, and if the game's AI is anything to go by, even computer-controlled racers who should know everything they're about to face tend to get stuck in these corners regularly, which we think is saying something.

As mentioned, ATV Wild Ride 3D encourages you to jump far and wide, doing tricks all the way. Doing this increases your nitro meter, which allows you to deploy speed boosts by pressing X. You do tricks while in the air by pulling the circle pad in any direction — different directions do different tricks — and pressing L for a short trick, R for a longer trick, and both L and R for a very long trick. If you collide with anything, including the ground, before your trick is finished, you'll be thrown from your vehicle and lose time while the game resets you.

This is fine, but getting extra lift off a jump requires you to hold down on the circle pad until you reach the end of the ramp, then quickly pressing up. From there you also need to slide the circle pad in another direction to do a trick, and all of this makes it extremely difficult to pull off without changing your trajectory coming off the jump. Unless you have rock-rigid motion in your left thumb, you're going to drift off course, and when you do you may find that you're sailing straight for a wall instead of the open course ahead of you. The tricks are a great idea in theory, but pulling them off without steering wrongly is needlessly difficult, and we found ourselves winning more often when we ignored them all together in favour of simply driving straight. You can use the D-pad, but doing so sacrifices your ability to turn more precisely during the rest of the race, so it's a lose-lose.

It's also a bit disappointing that none of the racers have distinct traits — just different names and outfits — and the vehicles repeat stats, but those are not major problems...certainly not in light of the larger problems of clipping and control.


ATV Wild Ride 3D had a lot of potential, but it turned out to be a buggy little curio instead. The online matches are good enough fun, until you fall through a solid object or launch yourself into an unseen pit and remember what made Mario Kart 7 so good.

The game is something of a mixed bag. Its online functionality is solid and very much welcome on the eShop, and the generous number of unlockable racers and vehicles encourages replay for fans of the game. But significant clipping issues, glitchy boundary detection and clumsy implementation of the "trick" mechanic mar the experience significantly. It's a great idea, and the online fun may balance out the issues for some players, but we feel as though this one ran out of gas.

From the web

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User Comments (89)



Gustoff said:

Well that's a bummer...i was already planning on picking up an eShop points card and getting this game on the weekend. Well that's out. Thanks for the quick review Mr. Reed. I would consider getting it though if maybe a patch would come thru in the next couple of days to patch up the glitchy areas of the game. Seems like the low review score was mainly based on that. If they update it to patch the gltches, then i'll get the game.



Gustoff said:

I hope their FPS coming later this year doesn't turn out to be like this one, cause i'm REALLY looking forward to the 3DS's first FPS. Here's to hoping...



Spoony_Tech said:

Yeah the video in the shop screamed N64 and that's not acceptable by today's standards! I did want it to be good as I crave a good racing game but at last ill wait till something better comes along!



Lalivero said:

As much as this is a shame to hear...I just can't give up on it personally.

I most likely will still purchase it to get my own thoughts about it. I have a few friends who are picking it up as well, so that might just be enough to justify the purchase. Even some terrible games can be quite fun when you have friends playing with you.



Barbiegurl777 said:

Right now it'll stay in the e-shop for a bit longer on my wish list. Gonna stick with playing MK7 - 3DS. For the time being.

Happy Gaming! (^_^)



sinsalaca said:

Darn. I was actually looking forward to the game. Guess I can remove it from my wish list after reading this review



Gen0neD said:

Dammit, i was actually willing to forgive all of this game's short comings if it had decent music. Think Wipeout XL. Thrash rock you say? No thanks.



Dpullam said:

It's unfortunate that this game has so many issues. I thought it looked pretty good in the trailers.



Dpishere said:

After seeing the videos on the e-shop I was never too keen on the game in the first place so though this is unfortunate It was pretty much what I expected.



PinkSpider said:

Hopefully renegade kid will read this and fix the problems with an update. Im still pretty tempted to get it as it reminds me of excite truck.

@LunaticPandora. Another fail from renegade??
Umm mutant mudds and the dementium games are not fails mate



RightHemisphereG said:

Thanks for the detailed review the clipping is something I am glad to know about before downloading aswell as the controls although I will just experiment to find the "sweat spot" ~ no problem I have-been doing that since I waz 15. :~`}



Gustoff said:

Any community reviews by peeps that have taken the risk and bought the game despite the 5/10 review?



Lalivero said:

@Gustoff I'm about to start playing once I finish up something, should get a start in ~5 min or so. Have a few friends who are getting it, too.

EDIT: So far I'm loving this and can't wait to play against others!

It's a little bit early to give it my full opinion though, but as of now my only gripe is the handling(although I'm going to try out different bikes and hey, you're offroad after all, sliding is all the fun) and it's not exactly my choice in music, but eh.

I do know that I suck online too at the moment. XD



Lalivero said:

It's really not as bad as the 5/10 here says, imo. I'd give it an 8/10 at least; Having a good time so far. It's definitely worth the price either way, I mean it has online for crying out loud at $8, haha.



Gustoff said:

Thanks for the comment there. I may go for it and get it after all this weekend. I'll keep checking back for more community opinions.



SparkOfSpirit said:

Hmm I've heard positive comments from everyone else who got this. I think NL is the outlier this time.



Gustoff said:

Okay, i've heard a bit of positive news on this one now. I know this isn't the Friend Code forum but here's my FC: 1805-2174-4646. I may be getting this this weekend, if you got it or planning on getting it, add me and post your FC so we can race together...



Windy said:

I will be getting the game tommorrow. I was sold at online play and the online sounds good.



RenegadeJools said:

It saddens me that Phil scored the game 5/10. I won't bad-mouth Phil or claim that he's wrong. His opinion is his own and who am I to try and change it?

I ask that you, the reader, please check out some of the other reviews out there to get a rounded perspective on the game. Some high-scoring examples:

Nintendojo - 91%
"Akin to a portable 'Pure' carrying the torch that the 'Excite' series set ablaze!"

Nintendo Okie - 80%
"Easily one of the best racing games that you can play on the system!"

Nintendo World Report - 75%
"A great fit for a handheld!"



SparkOfSpirit said:

I actually just got it, Jools. I'm quite enjoying it as it's just that fun type of arcade racer that I like to play.

You guys really should listen to more opinions than just NL's on this one.



Nintex said:

I got this game earlier today and I have to say it's really good. It looks like what an N64 game would look like in HD and reminds me a lot of Excitebike64. The music is great and it is a blast to play. As far as glitches and whatnot, I have yet to encounter any. This game has lived up to my expectations of a top notch eShop game and to top it off it has online play!



RenegadeJools said:

A big thank you to those who were brave enough to try out the game. It makes me happy that you're enjoying it.

The game will be out in Europe Q2 2013.



Neram said:

I was just about to buy this game too, glad I read this first. Perhaps if I'm ever able to try the game with a demo it might change my mind.



PuzzleMaster7 said:

Despite the negative review it got on here, I think that I'll still give it a chance and purchase it, unless of course I win the contest for a free copy.



brandonbwii said:

I never noticed too many glitches in the DS version. I found it to strike some sorta middle ground between SSX awesome to ATV shovelware.

The reason to get this is mainly for the cool nitro system, and now online play. I'll double dip once I get the funds.



brandonbwii said:

Saying one of the best racing games on 3DS is not saying much. I mean aside from Mario Kart what other quality racer does the system have? That Face Racer game that everyone lamblasted?



Zemus-DJ said:

Bought it. The price is good for what it offers and I kinda dig the music from it



KnightRider666 said:

Kinda surprised at the mediocre review score. Glad I didn't splurge before the review.

@renegadejools: Fix the clipping and control issues w/ a patch, and I'll buy it. Otherwise I have to pass.



Moonhillwat said:

I'm interested in this game. First eShop-only title with online play right? That's definitely a plus!

I just really hope that the collision thing mentioned in this review can be patched. Then it's an instabuy for me!

(Maybe Nintendolife had a faulty download and should try wiping it and redownloading?)



CoffeeWithGames said:

@brandonbwii Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is another.

"That Face Racer game that everyone lamblasted?"
Who is everyone? The now defunct Nintendo Power? That's the only review for the game on GameRankings.



Lalivero said:

I really wish some people would go off of more than a simple review. It's really worth it, especially for this price.

I never let one review get me down if I have a decent enough interest in a game because we all have different preferences and I'd rather use my own judgement in that case.



WaluigiBag said:

Buy it! I purchased ATV Wild Ride 3D and it is very fun! The controls are excellent. I really like the courses and tricks. Also, the 3D visuals are very nice. So far, I have played through 4 online races and the connection is silky smooth!

Please give this game consideration if you like old school racing games!



Tethers said:

Many of you should read more than just one review, because this is by far the lowest score I have seen for this game...



RetrogamerFan said:

A couple of the screenshots really remind me of Excitebike 64 (i mean that in a good way), except with 4 wheels not 2. Excitebike 64 is/was great (except the high-res mode being a big fail) so all the added features in this game make it sound like this should be excellent. However some of the glitches Philip talks about sound really bad, and for me would be a deal breaker. Will wait to see if this comes over to Europe and/or gets patched.



Gustoff said:

A racing game that was overlooked in my opinion is Need for Speed The Run on the 3DS. There are plenty of Challenges and the Story mode plus Multiplayer. Plenty of re-playability on the game I would think. But again, not many people online because not many people gave it a chance. I still play it often and is usually the game I have on my 3DS when out and about. I took a chance with NFS: The Run, i think i'll take a chance with ATV Wild Ride.



AG_Awesome said:

I'm more interested in their next FPS. If a racing game is not a kart racer then it needs to play like rush 2049 for me to be interested. Best stunt design vet and im so sad the game has never been duplicated. All well

Renegade should up the res of moon and dementium 2 and re release those as eshop titles (or even fix some of the short comings/issues with 1 and do it too). Can't hurt or cost much and I'd love to use the CPP with them.



Hale-Bopp said:

Anyone who doesn't have this game yet is really missing out. Online racing is really fun and addicting.



Gustoff said:

Those that have already played this online, are there any problems hooking up with the max allowed number of players online? I'm afraid it'll be like NFS: The Run where nobody is ever online playing it.



Windy said:

@WaluigiBag Thanks for the Mini Review. I was still buying this game regardless of the Review but your little review helps out greatly! hope to see you online im sure it will be fun



Windy said:

@RenegadeJools Thanks for jumpin in and clearing things up. I was buying anyway. I think the game looks just fine from the videos and cant wait to play the online. I will hit this with my own review on Monday. Just a small whether I like the game or not. If you have bought this game hit this page with your own reviews let everyone know what you think. Also: THANKS FOR THE ONLINE MULTIPLAYER! sorry for shouting but there are alot of Eshop games that are perfect candidates for online that don't get it.



Windy said:

@RenegadeJools @Everyone Jools you have a winner with this game! It's plain old, good old Fashion fun. I downloaded it last night and played it about 3 hours. The offline single player has a bunch o stuff to open up and the Graphics look much better than the videos we were shown previously. I think it looks great. The Music is pumping! Good choice on the music Jools it suits an ATV game perfectly and is rockin. I did not have this clipping Issue pop up once in 3 hours of play all I know is that I was having a great time and smiling the whole way. The Controls would be my only issue and they are just slightly floaty but it is an ATV game power sliding and unpredictable controls are part of the real deal and the controls are pretty much right on. My slow *** is just to slow to react LOL I am going to give the game an 8 rating just because its so darn fun and it has online to continue the fun when you beat the single player and open up everything.

Online play is perfection. It runs extremely smooth. There were people online each time I logged on to play and it has a play with friends option. Now about my play online........I had my butt handed to me LOL This guy Brendon had the Tricks and the Turbos down. I almost caught him at the finish in one race.

Rating 7.5 to 8



Windy said:

Sorry to disagree with you Phil I usually agree with every review you do. I guess this time just a couple different viewpoints. Keep up the great work though I appreciate all your reviews as with all the staff here at Nintendolife. You guys are my one stop shop



Windy said:

@KnightRider666 Sounds like I must get NFS soon for my 3DS Muhahahaha! Also Knightrider I think you would love this ATV game. The online play is perfect and too me it looks like a Playstation 2 ATV game I played years ago

Do you happen to have Formula 1 2012? I bought that one instead and never once seeing a player in the online lobby. the game is pretty cool even though it got bad reviews. But it sure must not have sold well cause the online lobbies never have a person in them. I bought the game day 1 and paid the full price



Windy said:

By the way......I'm starting to Hand people their butts on this game. I won 10 in a row last night. Evil-0 handed me my butt the first night we raced. I would like a rematch ha ha



KnightRider666 said:

@Windy: You mean Formula 1 2011. Yes, I have it; and I don't recall it getting bad reviews. I'd get NFS, very cool. I won't buy the ATV game until the bugs are fixed. You should check out Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed as well. It does have a similar glitch though.



Windy said:

@KnightRider666 The Framerate on the sonic Demo Killed the game for me. It just didn't feel smooth. I really like the ATV more than the sonic demo was. I have Mariokart I might skip the Sonic game. I loved the Sonic Racing on DS but I just don't want another cart game.



Marioman64 said:

you know what's funny about this game? the trailer in the eShop looked cool to me and almost made me want it. the tips and hints video right next to it made me think "oh wow this game has a lot of design problems", such as when you do a really big trick the camera turns 180 and you can no longer see where you are going, and hold down to charge jump power? i'm going to be constantly adjusting my direction, holding down while doing so is just going to throw me off



Foot77 said:

Wow, this is going off my wish list right away, I was only going to get it for the online( the only online on 3ds i've played is heroes of ruin demo), but now, man, Thanks Phil! i read your review of Thorium Wars, definitely going to get that game. cheers all.



AtomicToaster said:

I shall risk it! For online play alone and the n64 sensibilities its worth a shot, plus it's renegade kid and those dudes are awesome!



AtomicToaster said:

And it aint bad! The music adds a ton to the game. You can totally pull off this music in a game look at crazy taxi! I hope my purchase will spawn a 3ds sequel! Nobody online at this time however !



Nintendood said:

Ridge Racer 3D is an awesome racing game NOBODY mentioned! I bought it the day the 3DS was released (because I knew it would have great use of the 3D) and have never regretted it for a second!

I am gonna get this game too, eventually.



Noend said:

I just got it on sale 5.99 and definitely worth that.

Control issues are as described. Clipping hasn't bothered us.

No one online, considering a second copy so we can local play.

One con, game gets too hard for the kids after first couple circuits.

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