Dave Mirra BMX Challenge Review for the Nintendo Wii

Dave Mirra BMX Challenge Review for the Nintendo Wii

When Good Bikes Go Bad

One of the most appealing aspects of almost every extreme skateboarding or BMX sports title is the ability to free-roam large, open obstacle courses and string together insane trick combos. It’s a winning gameplay formula fans have come to expect. As a developer, if you’re going to mess with a good thing then you’d better be prepared to make some major improvements. Moving away from trick-intensive, goal oriented play in favor of a high-speed racing setup is a bold course of action. It’s a change that actually worked out fairly well in the case of a certain high profile downhill skateboarding title on the Wii, but in Dave Mirra BMX Challenge the move to a racing-heavy format just feels like a half-baked imitation.

Dave Mirra BMX Challenge screenshot

It’s possible to pull off some pretty cool trick combos in BMX Challenge, but most of the time you’ll be focused on trying to stay ahead of the competition instead. The majority of the action takes place as players competing in a series of fast-paced races against five other computer-controlled opponents. The objective is to finish each race in first place while also nailing as many tricks as possible along the way and keeping your teeth off the curb. The balance between the racing and the trickster aspects of BMX Challenge is highly skewed towards the former. It’s an occasionally fun – yet mostly frustrating – combination which even hardcore fans of the Dave Mirra extreme BMX stunt franchise may find disappointing.

In career mode, you’ll get started with a bare-bones character customization menu. After choosing a general look, such as “nerd,” “biker,” or “punk,” you can pick your helmet and skin color or make minor adjustments to your outfit. There’s also the option of playing as Dave Mirra himself. With only a few choices available to begin with, it won’t take long to come up with your character. Once that’s taken care of you’ll be barreling through alleyways, schoolyards, shipping docks, subterranean railways, museums, and many other unusual locations during your quest to beat out the competition and earn stars to advance onward.

Dave Mirra BMX Challenge screenshot

The game features 12 different un-lockable courses. Every course is pretty linear, although about halfway through a race a second area of the track will open up. There are also plenty of shortcuts to stumble across. While the tracks look good overall, their poor physical design can be crippling at just the wrong moments. Ultra sharp turns, placed precarious close to speed zones and obstacle ridden stretches, make it easy to miss the curve altogether and slam into all manner of unpleasant obstructions. In many locations, it seems obstacles are placed in spots – at the end of grind rails, in the path of major jumps, etc. – where it’s impossible to dodge them. Challenging players is one thing, but being sadistic is another. On the other hand, it’s actually pretty amusing to watch your character crumple into all manner of different uncomfortable positions like a rag doll.

Borrowing a familiar control scheme of other Wii racing titles, BMX Challenge has players holding the Wii remote sideways. Turning is done by tilting the controller left and right. Tricks are executed by a combination of d-pad controls and the 1 and 2 buttons, which also control grinding and pedaling respectively. Though turning very sharply is occasionally problematic, the controls generally flow well with the action on screen. Jumping is an issue, however, as it requires you to sharply thrust the controller skyward. It often becomes difficult to handle airborne tricks, especially if you have a series of jumps in a row.

Dave Mirra BMX Challenge screenshot

The key to keeping up with opponents lies in the game’s wholly unoriginal speed burst system. Your adrenaline meter – which just so happens to be the corporate product logo for Monster Energy brand drinks – fills up as you successfully land tricks, allowing you to engage much-needed bursts of speed. Once you turn the boost on, the game’s visuals get incredibly blurry as you fly by, or often into, opponents and obstacles alike. It’s an interesting effect, but it makes it virtually impossible to discern the difference between a rapidly approaching rock wall and a jump ramp. Aside from speed boosts, certain special moves can only be triggered when you adrenaline meter is full.

Dave Mirra BMX Challenge screenshot

Unfortunately, unlike the majority of other similar extreme sports titles out there, BMX Challenge doesn’t feature any licensed tunes from interesting bands. Instead, we get some pretty standard and repetitive instrumental punk rock, emo, and hard rock audio tracks. Also, the visuals aren’t horrible, but they’re more on par with a Game Cube release rather than the Wii’s capabilities – however meager in comparison to its current generation competitors. The production in-general could have been kicked up a notch.

As a racing title, BMX Challenge isn’t all bad. The problem is Dave Mirra fans are more likely to be drawn to a game with their hero’s name on the cover because they crave some mad BMX trick action, not a mediocre racing experience. The trick component seems tacked-on as a gimmick for the speed boost in races, and there’s little need for it elsewhere aside from getting the minimum number of stars required to unlock the next stage. Even with speed boosts there’s no real incentive to pull off major tricks, since it’s possible to fill your adrenaline meter just as quickly with a few simple grind combos as it is with fancier fare.

Sure, BMX Challenge delivers a dose of what it promises, but it’s challenging in all the wrong ways. Players have seen some good games in the Dave Mirra series. It’s just too bad this is not one of them. Sometimes aping the competition is not a great idea, especially if you don’t manage to bring anything new to the table in the process.


  • BMX Legend Dave Mirra as the featured rider.
  • 12 different environments.
  • Customizable player characters.
  • 13 Bikes to choose from.

    Rating out of 5 Rating Description


    Not bad, but not great. On par with Game Cube visuals.


    Uninspired controls pair functionality with awkwardness.


    Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
    Crappy music detracts from the otherwise mediocre audio.


    Play Value
    An emphasis on high speed races in a previously trick-oriented series prove to be somewhat lacking in originality.


    Overall Rating Fair
    Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

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