Past Entertainment

For the week of 4/14/09

‘Monster Jam: Urban Assault’ for the Wii mind numbingly simple, but fun
By Ezra Mann (Editor in Spoof)

(These articles have also been published at www.fuelltothefire.com )

Images are copyright of Activision.

I’ll be perfectly honest and admit that when I usually think of monster trucks, stereotypes of rednecks and cheap American beer are some of the first things that come to mind. Let’s face it, like television wrestling, a good bit of the audience for said events usually aren’t busy offering intelligent contributions to society, well at least not while viewing it.
Apart from a brief stint in my childhood I’ve pretty much left both behind, but decided to let my inner trailer-trash out when I was offered a chance to review a game featuring the metal crushing kings of exhaust. At first I was thinking it’d be a quick eye-rolling extravaganza, but the more I tried the more I was hooked into smashing everything I could, including the digital vehicle I was driving. “Monster Jam: Urban Assault” for the Wii is no game of the year candidate, but can become surprisingly addictive before you realize it.
Like one of my acquaintances pointed out when he tried it, it’s basically an RC car platform with nice graphics and behemoths at your command. You can play with as many as 27 trucks (after unlocking them by completing events) in plenty of arenas and either go stunt crazy as well as break down everything in your path by yourself or with three others in split screen multi-player.
The controls for the most part are without any difficulty and driving your truck offers little frustration once you get the hang of it. However, I do have to note that racing can be a bit frustrating especially on the sharp turns so if you want a more fair turnout, stick to the crushing and stunts. One of my favorite events and perhaps one of the silliest is the stunt track where you can launch your truck through the air and score points in what looks like a giant Skee-Ball board (a bit too dangerous for real life, but hilarious in concept).
This particular offering from Activision deserves at least one thumbs up for something that is simple and can be done in short bursts or last as long as you want to get your smash on. The use of the Wii-mote and chucks was done right and should entertain with a product that is appropriate for all ages.
I can recommend it at least for a rental, though level of fandom on this thing is important in determining if you want it for the long term. Just remember to go outside and remind yourself that you will not give into too many other redneck tendencies (unless it’s too late) and all will be fine. For a decent gaming experience I’d say “Monster Jam: Urban Assault” for the Wii deserves three and a half out of five toggles.

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