Based on the titular car-customization MTV show starring the self-proclaimed Mr. Black Bruce Willis himself, Xzibit, Pimp My Ride is a failure, primarily because it can't decide what it wants to be: Is it a driving game? Is it a series of awful driving minigames? Is it a car customization sim? Is it an unholy crossbreeding of all of the above? The answer is yes to that last one. It is this complete lack of dedication to making any one of the things it cobbles together fun that sinks it. It's too bad because X-to-the-Z's influence is stamped all over this game, and it does basically grasp what it is that makes such a silly show fun to watch. It's just not fun to play.
Sadly, working over the hoop rides of a bunch of screechy teenagers doesn't make for quite as compelling of a game as you might hope.
Pimp My Ride takes place in the glorious metropolis known as Pimp City. The residents of Pimp City like to drive pimped-out rides. So, what's an up-and-coming car-customization nerd like you to do when tasked with making the unpimped rides of the town's more hapless citizens into full-on works of pimp-flavored art? Why, drive around doing lame ghost riding and cruising minigames to earn cash so you can drive around in the customer's clunker to get new parts and make it into a gaudy monstrosity, of course. And then you do this exact same sequence of events over and over and over again until the game concludes, or you simply can't stomach the lame gameplay any longer. Or maybe you'll just give up once the game crashes on you for the third or fourth time, which is as good a reason as any to stop.
Again, the primary problem with Pimp My Ride is that the progression of events neither makes any sense nor is any fun. When you're driving around trying to earn money, you're limited to a specific section of Pimp City but can take part in specific events around the map for which there are a few icons. When you go to a ghost-riding event, you take part in an idiot-simple rhythm minigame that isn't all that rhythmic. You just press a displayed sequence of buttons as quickly as you can for each stage of the game, and all the while, your dude dances alongside the car like all those horribly awesome Internet videos you and your buddies have been watching over and over for the past six months. There's also a hot steppin' event, but in actuality, that's just a new name for yet another ghost-riding event. You have to press buttons with a different sense of timing--but that's it. The worst part about the ghost-riding games is that they never change. The game slowly and surely tries to ramp up the difficulty, but it does it so slowly that you'll barely even notice. The game can't even be bothered to change the hip-hop beat that plays behind you--it's the same beat every time.
The other minigame, cruising, is almost not worth mentioning. You drive up to a group of gawking hip-hop kids, holding down a button to put your car into 10mph cruise mode. As you drive by, you press a quick series of buttons to send the kids into some kind of spastic frenzy and earn yourself some cash. That's it. It's even less fun in practice than it sounds on paper.
As you keep driving around, you'll also be wrecking into other cars and various billboards, which earns you cash for some weird reason. Eventually, you'll earn enough cash to meet the budget for your next customer. You then drive to the customer and a cutscene pops up that is similar to the sort of sequence you'd see on the TV show: a squealing 19-year-old girl with a horrid car and a heart of gold. Xzibit makes fun of the car for a while, and you're treated to some truly atrocious voice acting from the kids. Finally, you get the keys, and the pimping can begin. Of course, the pimping isn't all it's cracked up to be because the catch is that there's a rival pimper of rides out there competing with you on every job. When you get a car to work on, your rival gets the same car. So you and the other driver drive around the city under a time limit, trying to get to as many part suppliers as possible. The car with the highest rating at the end wins.