Touting awesome graphics, very realistic physics and amazing worldwide locations, World Enduro Rally seems to offer a lot of bang for your buck. And for the record, those are all quotations from the official Xbox store page.
But the bang itself ends up being a sad fart and your buck might be better spent elsewhere.
The main menu greets you with a powerful rock tune and things seem to start on a good note. Until you later find out that it’s the only song in the whole game.
World Enduro Rally offers a modest selection of bikes, including a single outcast quad bike, and a limited cast of generic-looking riders. Neither of them have much going on visually. And even though each bike boasts a different set of parameters – like handling, max speed, and weight – I didn’t notice much of a difference in practice.
Likewise, all of the bikes sound awful. Imagine an ear-piercing orchestra of a rusty chainsaw and someone trying to make fart noises with their mouth.
After choosing your Travis Pastrana and an appropriate bike, you tour the world across multiple locations, featuring Australia, U.S.A. and China. Each event splits into three short rounds with minor variations, like day and night cycles and weather conditions. But whether you’re riding during rain or snow doesn’t make a difference, as they all seem purely cosmetic.
Most backdrops look like low-res wallpapers for Windows XP. Graphical design isn’t consistent, either; some stages feature real pictures, while others resort to paintings as backdrops. And it’s often unclear which terrain is part of the background and which is actually traversable.
Visuals aside, every stage feels exactly the same. Certain obstacles, like wooden logs and swinging punch bags, are thrown in here and there. And some stages feature death loops and steep ramps, but they hardly break the monotony of each event.
During each stage you’re provided with the same goal: to reach the finish line as quickly as possible. After traversing numerous obstacles and ramps, and passing the metaphorical chequered flag, your rider smashes into a pile of cardboard boxes with a groan.
Regardless of how well or poor you did, you pass into the next stage.
Controls are simple and the gameplay by itself doesn’t feel too bad; you can accelerate and decelerate, and alter weight distribution towards either the front or back wheel. But at no time are the physics quite what you could call perfect, or even realistic. Sometimes, you’ll jump much higher or lower than expected, or struggle to re-balance the bike without an apparent reason.
While airborne, you may perform some simple tricks like backflips and frontflips, and slightly more complex ones like no-hands and superman. They’re not difficult to pull off and don’t require more than a press of a button. Each successfully executed display of skill shaves off seconds from the total event time, depending on the complexity.
Some ramps provide enough air time for you to even pull off multiple flips in a row. But problems arise when you go too high because the camera doesn’t follow the bike. Your rider often goes off screen and if you’re in the middle of a trick then you won’t have enough time to align your landing.
Sometimes your bike becomes stuck for no obvious reason too, and you might even encounter a fair share of bugs. Due to one such bug during the final stage, my rider remained in the air after a jump and out of bounds. I could perform as many stunts as I wanted, but couldn’t return to the ground without manually respawning.
Whether it’s a good or bad thing might be debatable, but World Enduro Rally is a short game. And very easy at that, as it lacks any notion of a challenge. You’ll be done with all events within an hour, or an hour and a half at most. After that, there’s not much else to do. There are no bikes or tracks to unlock, no additional modes to endure, and no multiplayer options, either. Aside from improving your times and challenging the leaderboard, there’s little reason to replay events.
World Enduro Rally on Xbox One is a pretty bad game, but even a bad game can hold certain merits if it’s designed well. Alas, it isn’t. With bland visuals, awful sound design, poor camera work, often unresponsive controls and numerous bugs, this game doesn’t really offer anything of value.
It doesn’t accomplish any of the key points that it sets out to do.
At £0.79 you’re not wasting much of your hard-earned money, but what about your time? With Trials Rising mere weeks away, you’re better off holding out and spending your almost-a-quid on a cool skin or something.