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.