A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Motocross Madness is a downloadable racing game that puts a lightly cartoonish spin on a risky sport. Players use somewhat realistic-looking bikes to perform familiar looking stunts. However, the riders themselves -- the player's own Xbox Live Avatar -- generally have a cartoonish appearance, and the courses they race on are fantastical, with incredibly dangerous jumps that would never appear on a real motocross track. However, whenever a rider wipes out traversing these over-the-top obstacles he or she simply tumbles around a bit and then respawns back on his or her bike. Parents should be aware that the game offers open unmoderated chat with strangers online.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
MOTOCROSS MADNESS, a reimagining of a 15-year-old dirt bike racing game, puts players' Xbox Live Avatars on the backs of powerful motorbikes and lets them loose on tracks in three geographically diverse locations: Egypt, Australia, and Iceland. Players can engage in simple eight-rider races, go up against ghost riders that represent the races of both the game's developers and other players, try to rack up points performing tricks, or simply explore a trio of large, open-world environments trying to track down hundreds of collectible items. As players work through the solo career, they earn medals for fame, experience points to level up their rider, and cash with which to buy new bikes and upgrade their old ones. A separate competitive mode allows up to eight human players to race against each other online.
Is it any good?
There's no denying you can have a bit of fun catching giant air here, but Motocross Madness never makes it much past being merely competent. Tricking feels good, but loose bike handling never affords players a proper feel for their rides, resulting in the occasional frustrating crash or missed jump opportunity. Tracks, meanwhile, offer some fun and worthwhile shortcuts, yet fail to fully satisfy thanks to lackluster aesthetics and some downright ugly textures and details.
The action, meanwhile, is scattered across too few races. Excluding the open-world events, avid players should be able to earn gold in most of the solo races in a single night. Online racing, meanwhile, may be of limited value since it's difficult to find anyone to race against online. It may only be a $10 game, but most gamers will likely expect a little more.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about dangers involved in dirt bike racing. Falling off a bike and getting back up again isn't as easy as professional riders sometimes make it look. What sort of precautions and training do you think might be required?
Families can also discuss online safety. What rules do you follow when interacting with strangers online? What would you do if you thought someone was behaving suspiciously?