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4x4 Extreme Off Road - review

Product: 4x4 Extreme Off Road | Developer: Baltoro Games | Publisher: Glu Mobile | Format: Mobile | Genre: Arcade, Racing, Simulation | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | Version: Europe

It's human nature to be drawn to the pretty things in life, even if on closer inspection they prove not to be the most profound.

Like an ill-advised fling with that bit of fluff you've had your eye on, 4x4 Extreme Off Road promises more with its flashy visuals than it can deliver in gameplay.

Time attack

Like a traditional arcade rally release, 4x4 Extreme Off Road has you racing solo, attempting to post the best time as you sprint from checkpoint to checkpoint.

As is standard, the game auto-accelerates from the off, leaving steering and braking in your hands. Take too many corners at too high a pace and you'll end up bouncing from one side to another.

Tracks are also littered with awkward objects designed to make your ride an overly bumpy one. Again, hit one too many of these and your time will suffer.

This is all very well, but what stands out about 4x4 Extreme Off Road is the quality of the visuals (look out for the road splash hitting the phone's screen as you tear through the mud) and the game's ability to deliver tracks containing a degree of variety usually beyond most Java releases.

Flinging the mud

Bends in 4x4 Extreme Off Road are – as its name suggests – extreme, and in terms of design this is a rally release with no peers.

Problem is, 4x4 Extreme Off Road's excellence in terms of style can't lift a fundamentally underwhelming experience. Visual flair aside, racing around most of the game's tracks is tame, not because the courses themselves are found wanting but rather because 4x4 Extreme Off Road's engine gives little feedback.

The game's nitro boost – which builds steadily throughout – makes very little difference, shaving a few seconds off your time without actually altering your on-track experience.

What's more, while it's especially hard...

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