ATV Quad Kings is just barely a racing game. I know that many would expect a little more out of a review than just that phrase but there is not much more to Quad Kings to qualify it as a racing game. The game is not visually impressive but I would not expect it to be considering it is a DSiWare title. The music and sounds within the game are adequate but at the same time they are nothing very exciting or special. While the game plays like a racer should, which entails racing around some sort of track or defined route, their is nothing spectacular or particularly interesting about the game itself.
This DSiware title will provide a good chunk of playtime but there is very little incentive to play through all the game has to offer. Unlocking extra ATVs is only useful to advance in the ‘World Tour’ as there is no difference in specs between the various ATVs that are available. Also the ATVs are specific to certain tracks so don’t expect to be able to use previously selected ATVs for tracks unlocked later in the game. They varying tracks are the only true incentive to play through the entire game. All of the tracks are circuit races with multiple laps but the names of the tracks are misleading and suggest otherwise such as the races labeled as sprint races. Players can select their racing numbers and uniform colors from the few preset options available but this feels more like a gimmick than letting the players create their own racer. The color of the ATV can also be changed but every ATV has a different set of colors available and the color has to be selected again prior to every race.
ATV Quad Kings does provide the basic career (World Tour), Arcade, and Time Trial modes. Fortunately, Arcade mode allows players to select which of the purchased ATVs they would like to use, not that it matters and players will also be able to collect extra money which can be used to purchase other ATVs. Time Trials are just what everyone would expect and acts as a way for players to practice their racing skills. These modes are a good way to add some play time and replayability to the title but are not helpful when the core game needs work.
There are three difficulty levels, Easy, Medium, and Hard. The level of difficulty is only determined by how fast your ATV goes or how fast the AI players are going, I have yet to figure out which one it is. During races players can collect boosts to help gain some ground if they’ve fallen behind which is useful in harder difficulty levels but not really needed on Easy. There are also jumps or ramps in all of the tracks but I have yet to find any benefit for having them included as tricks or boosts can not be performed by using them. The AI racers in the game are pretty terrible and act more as hard obstacles when running into them rather than two moving objects colliding. This issue is exacerbated by the controls which feel more like that of an RC car than an actual vehicle. On top of all that the same boring cutscene and opening scene is played before every World Tour race, I am just thankful that these can be skipped to jump right into the race.
Needless to say there are better options available for fans of racing games. While I always have high hopes before playing any racing game, I was not impressed with ATV Quad Kings to say the least. Usually with a game that doesn’t have very many features or are lack luster experiences can be attributed for the fact that they are aiming for a younger audience. In this case it seems like Quad Kings was trying to hit the hardcore market with a racing game that isn’t up to snuff.