|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Data Design Int.||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Destineer||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Dec. 31, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
Companies creating video games to advertise their products is nothing new. Throughout gaming history, there have been many advertisement centric games created and released to the unsuspecting public. One of the most recent examples of this were the trio of titles that Burger King made available for the Xbox 360 for five dollars with the purchase of a meal. Even though the games were not fantastic, they were at least somewhat entertaining, fairly cheap, and came with the food you were already purchasing. Kawasaki Quad Bikes is also somewhat cheap, coming in at a twenty dollar price tag instead of the standard forty or fifty dollars for most new Wii titles. Unfortunately though, this game doesn't come with a meal and it is also relatively unplayable.
Quad Bikes suffers from two main flaws that will completely ruin any kind of enjoyment that could be derived from this budget title. The first, and perhaps worst, flaw this game has come in its camera. While playing, you are only given two options for how to view the game. You will be able to choose from either a third-person or a first-person perspective. The third-person view is almost completely unusable on most of this game's tracks. This perspective has the camera placed extremely low and pulled very closely to your bike, perhaps to give everyone a better view of the fine Kawasaki brand quad bikes that the game just so happens to be advertising. While this view may make for a better commercial, it makes playing the game a nightmare. Because of the terrible placement of the camera, you will be unable to see many of the game's turns, obstacles, and even opponents.
The game's first-person view fairs slightly better, at least allowing you to see what is happening in front of your vehicle. The only major downfall of this perspective occurs when you jump off of a ramp, bunny hop or come into contact with an opponent. Basically, if any of those things transpire, you will be treated to a pretty useless view of either the dirt or sky. Unfortunately, it doesn't really seem to matter which perspective you choose, the end result of either is usually the loss of your lunch (perhaps this is why it doesn't come with food).
Those queasy feelings are only made worse by the games other major flaw: its controls. As with almost every other racing title on the Wii at this point, Quad Bikes has you steering your vehicle by tilting the Wii-mote left and right as though it was a steering wheel. While this may seem like a natural fit, the steering is extremely loose and uncontrollable most of the time. When making turns, the game will often ignore the severity of your tilting, leaving you either over or under steering quite frequently. While you are attempting to regain control, you will also inevitably come into contact with opponents. When this occurs, you might as well just let go of the controller. Almost every time you hit an opponent you will either get spun completely around or end up lying on your side until the game sees fit to let you race again. I had several occasions where my quad bike was lying on its side for a good seven seconds or more before I was allowed to race again. I can't stress enough just how imprecise these steering mechanics are and how much they detract from the gameplay.
While struggling to regain control of your vehicle, which is how most of this game is spent, you will also need to use a bunny hop move quite often. As if the tilting controls weren't bad enough by themselves, the bunny hop maneuver can only be performed by shaking the Wii-mote up and down once its meter has been filled. This further spells doom for anyone trying to somehow maintain control around the game's many twists and turns while jumping over the plethora of obstacles that litter most of the tracks. Kawasaki Quad Bikes ends up just being another title in the growing pile of Wii games that could have honestly played better if the developer had just ignored the Wii-mote's motion-sensing capabilities and used standard analog stick and button based controls. They didn't make this game more intuitive or entertaining, just more frustrating and uncontrollable.