MUD FIM Motocross World Championship

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MUD: FIM Motocross World Championship Review

If you're an Italian studio with a penchant for racing game simulations that deal with perfect riding lines and the art of flicking a rally car through traction-oblivious hairpins, what's the next logical step? Maybe you could make an impassioned takeover pitch for the Formula One and MotoGP licenses, or perhaps set the bar to seemingly impossible heights by taking Polyphony Digital and Turn 10 Studios on at their own game? If that sounds like too much of a challenge, however, you could always take the safe option - combine the virtues of your two main games into a fun racer that's lacking in ambition.

That's exactly what Milestone has achieved with MUD: FIM Motocross World Championship. Taking the two-wheel focus of the SBK series and meshing it with the off-road thrills of the recent WRC 2, the end result is a motocross racer in which you can drink a can of Monster Energy mid-race to give yourself a speed boost. And while that may sound like something you'd see in a quirky karting game, MUD is somewhere between a pure arcade racer like Speed Kings and a middle-of-the-road job like TT Superbikes.

The flow of a race is much as you'd expect. Hold down the brake and then release it as the gates open and you'll perform a burning start in traditional Mario Kart fashion, then as you learn the optimal riding lines for the individual tracks, it's a case of power-sliding through the corners with one foot placed automatically on the ground. There's no differentiation between front and rear braking and the bikes are more stable than an eight-legged table - to the point where you have to land a jump particularly badly if you want to see an unsaddling.

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MUD FIM Motocross World Championship release date announced

MUD FIM Motocross World Championship release date announced

Out next month on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.

MUD FIM Motocross World Championship launches on 4th May, Black Bean Games has announced.

The motocross racing title releases then on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

MUD FIM Motocross World Championship is developed by Italian studio Milestone, creator of WRC games and games in the SBK series.

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A Racing Milestone: Mud Preview

A Racing Milestone: Mud Preview

A change of direction for the resilient Italian studio.

Racing studios are, sadly, a diminishing breed, and those that still stand are having to adapt to survive. Following the closure of Bizarre Creations and Black Rock Studios last year, existing developers are finding new paths to explore - Codemasters steering its Dirt brand toward the downloadable route, while Slightly Mad turns to the strange new world of user-generated content for its ambitious and intriguing Project Cars.

There's one studio that's weathered the storm well enough, however, and which, despite the struggles elsewhere in the market, still manages to produce up to three boxed racing games per year. And it does that with a thinly stretched team of 90, spread over three floors of a slightly scruffy studio near the centre of Milan, Italy.

It's this team that put out the functional yet entertaining WRC game and its somewhat underwhelming sequel, and that in the SBK series has produced arguably the best bike game on the market; not a particularly impressive feat when its sole competitor, Capcom's MotoGP games, has seemingly slipped into obscurity, but a noble one nevertheless.

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