In the last couple of months, the selection of racing games available on the Nintendo Switch has expanded considerably. At one point your choice of racers was limited to the F-Zero-inspired Fast RMX and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, but Rocket League, Mantis Burn Racing, and Gear.Club Unlimited have helped bolster the selection. If, however, you’re looking for a bike racing game to play on the Switch in docked mode or on the go, then Milestone’s MXGP 3 is currently your only choice. Unfortunately, if you were expecting a faithful port of the original console release then you’re going to be disappointed.
One of MXGP 3’s most innovative features is its dynamic track deformation. As you progress through the race, your tyres dig into the mud creating bumps and grooves that make navigating the track more challenging. For the Nintendo Switch version of MXGP 3, there’s no terrain deformation whatsoever – riding on flat tracks is nowhere near as appealing. Granted, the feature was also removed in the PlayStation Vita version of the original MXGP, but that game was running on much less powerful hardware several years ago.
As you can see in our hands-on gameplay video showing the game running on the system in handheld mode, the visuals in the MXGP 3 Switch port have also been significantly downgraded, with bike, rider and track textures that look bewilderingly blurry. This would perhaps be forgivable if it benefited from performance improvements, but the game unfortunately suffers from frequent frame rate drops.
The bikes still handle well at least, and all the bikes, tracks and customisation options are included along with the career mode, but the lack of online multiplayer is another glaring omission which makes the steep asking price of MXGP 3’s Switch port hard to justify.
Rumours suggest that future MotoGP games will be ported to the Nintendo Switch, and the upcoming release of Monster Energy Supercross – The Official Videogame will also be available on the Switch platform. Milestone says that Monster Energy Supercross is better optimised across all platforms, so let’s hope it fares better on the Switch than MXGP 3. We already know it won’t be a direct port, however, as the Italian developer has confirmed that the advanced track editor won’t feature in the Nintendo Switch version of Monster Energy Supercross which is a shame.