Racing games on the DS basically come in two varieties these days: Mario Kart DS and everything else. Nintendo's dual-screened handheld system hasn't really established itself as a successful racing platform; instead it's seen a number of mediocre high-speed games that don't really do anything all that interesting. Unfortunately, ATV Quad Frenzy, an off-road racing game from Majesco, doesn't even meet the middling standards of the DS's racing also-rans, and the end result is a game that should be completely avoided.
At its heart, ATV Quad Frenzy is an off-road racing game that has you piloting your ATV in races against three other computer-controlled opponents over a variety of terrain types, including country backroads, swampy bogs, and slick, snowy tracks. You can choose to run single races, hook up with friends in multiplayer races, or enter a season of sorts, where you can earn cash to buy better parts for your ATV. Sounds good in theory, right? Unfortunately, this game's problems are found in its execution.
Nice looking ATVs don't make up for this game's clunky interface and bad physics.
For one thing, the sense of speed is practically nonexistent. It's understandable that an off-road racing game would feel slower than your typical street or sci-fi racer, but racing in ATV Quad Frenzy has such little speed and excitement that it borders on unplayable. Worse yet, the physics are all out of whack--your ATV seems to float in suspended slow motion during each jump you take. Bizarrely, crashes are commonplace, but they often either happen when you least expect it, or don't happen when you might expect them to. Getting bumped by an opponent is one of the easiest ways to topple off your ATV, for example, but hitting the ground midway through a big-air trick will not result in a big crash, as you might expect. After a bit of time with the game you'll come to understand its unrealistic quirks, and there is even a sense of satisfaction you'll have when nailing a powersliding turn. But, for the most part, ATV provides more frustration than fun.
One of the strangest aspects of ATV Quad Frenzy is its trick system. There's only one way to pull off a stunt in ATV, and that's by holding the A and B buttons down together. However, there are 12 tricks you can pull off. To choose which trick you wish to execute with the A and B buttons, you must press the select button to scroll through a numerical list of tricks. Wouldn't it have made more sense to mix in the trigger buttons (or even the X or Y buttons) to give you access to more tricks right away? As it stands, the trick system is clunky and incoherent, so much so that unless you pop open the game manual, you may not even realize that the other tricks are there in the first place.