Pimp My Ride - 360 - Review

Are you a player? Silly question – of course you are. You wouldn't be reading this review if you weren't. What I meant to say was, are you a playah? Most of us aren't. We're struck driving around in our un-pimped cars, with bad stereos and barely a luxury beyond heat and air conditioning (if that!).

Pimp My Ride set out to change that. Based on the concept that lame, rundown vehicles can be turned into the coolest rides in town, Pimp My Ride invades the homes of the poor, hijacks their vehicles, and hands 'em over to Xzibit for as many silly jokes as he can muster. Hardcore rapper – forget that. Why spend all your time rapping when you could make fun of week-old fried chicken? The rodents in the ice cream truck were pretty scary. That gave me more chills than The Ring 2 (but not more chills than the thought of having to sit through The Grudge more than once).

 

Pimp My Ride (the game) wants to do all that and more. A rival garage has been commissioned, giving you something to shoot for – and an adversary to compete with – when pimping the latest junker. Xzibit is back as the show's host, providing more silliness to chuckle and roll eyes over. The vehicles are as crappy as ever (pre-pimp), minus the extreme ick factor of the show. It seems polygons have better hygiene than real people.

Post-pimp the vehicles are top-notch: kick-butt surround sound systems, DVD players, flat screens, sewing machines ('cause some girls gotta stitch their own clothes), music makers, and a plethora of other cool add-ons you'll wish you could add on to your own car.

This pimped-out idea for a video game brings a few questions to mind: what do you do? How do you become a pimper? Do you race? Do you drive? How do you interact with those who wish to have their cars pimped? And is it fun?

Okay – that's more than a few questions. The most important is the last, but its answer is a bit more complicated than yes or no.

 

What's On Tap?

Buttons. Lots of buttons.

Living in Pimp City, players will find themselves speeding through a large area without enough time to complete each task. The tasks, as you'll quickly learn, involve the implementation of buttons as various icons scroll across the screen. You'll see icons like "A," "B," "X," and "Y." It's imperative that you tap the button exactly as it scrolls over the square hit point in the center of the screen. Think music games, without the control of an instrument. You're a dancer, and you need to strut your stuff until every button has been pressed at precisely the right moment.

Do so correctly and you'll win. If you're good at multi-tasking with your eyes, or are a big risk-taker, you can try to stare at the dancer and the button icons simultaneously. This could result in total failure of the mini-game, which you'll have to repeat if you want the cash prize (and you most certainly will). But it's the only way you'll get to see the actions of the player you're supposed to be controlling.

Smooth moves? Hardly. I'm not necessarily the right person to judge – I play video games. I hate the thought of touching a dance floor unless a DDR machine is attached. Nonetheless, I can appreciate when someone pulls off a cool move. This guy, whether he's supposed to be a talented polygon character or not, does not have any cool moves to perform.

Some mini-games have more game than others. The icon-scroller involves the successive tapping of the A button. Your speed will need to be increased as the game picks up its pace. Tap...tap-tap...tap-tap-tap. It's not that difficult, so hang in there. The cash will be yours in no time.

 

Another mini-game type, something I like to call, "Hit me with your best shot," requires you to press one or more of the face buttons before their icons disappear. This is so simple and familiar that you almost can't fail it ... unless you go too fast. The buttons last long enough for you to enter them slowly. But if you enter them too slowly the game will not give you a pimpin' rating. Pimpin' ratings must be obtained to achieve the full amount of the cash prize.

The alternative to mini-games could be looked at as a nod to Lindsay Lohan: crash into every vehicle in sight. Explore the city, look for other drivers, and see how many of them you can run off the road. They'll drop coins as you crash into them, but rarely show an ounce of damage. The coin-dropping brings to mind an older time in gaming – an era where coins and rings were dropped and collected frequently. Developers have since gotten away from this tradition. It's interesting to see it pop up in a driving game. Just think of what might've happened if Pimp My Ride featured a Crazy Taxi 2-style jump. Throw in a few blocks (suspended in air, of course) and you'd have a Mario-wannabe on wheels.

Coins are instantly converted into cash, the much-needed item in this game. The five-disc CD changer you've been eyeing, along with the new paint job, backseat theater and other goodies, can only be obtained with cash. You can get a deal on these items, and that's where more mini-games are introduced.

 

The challenge: spin the left analog stick as quickly as possible. Press buttons as they appear on screen. Time one button tap so that a part lines up with a cylinder. Repeat what I just said, and mix it up with slight differences. That's Pimp My Ride. And this is its collection of mini-games.

Review Scoring Details for Pimp My Ride

Gameplay: 5.0
A pimped-out driving game that isn’t as cool as it looks. You tap buttons as they appear on screen – why? Is there anything about that that screams “Pimp My Ride?”? The driving controls are decent, though nowhere near the quality of most other 360 titles. This is better than the PS2 version, but there isn’t anything next-gen about it.

Graphics: 4.0
The cars and backgrounds are of a higher resolution than the current-gen edition, but that hardly makes the graphics worth praising.

Sound: 4.0
Xzibit provides his usual array of silly commentary, as well as a soundtrack that offers little variety or entertainment value for anyone except those who like Xzibit’s music.

Difficulty: Easy
Pimping rides isn’t as difficult as you’d expect.

Concept: 6.6
Pimp My Ride introduces an interesting element not present in the show: rivals. Instead of tweaking a vehicle the best you can before delivering it to its owner, you’ve got to make a vehicle so cool that, if given a choice, everyone will choose yours.

Overall: 4.9
Drive, crash, mini-game, repeat. Pimp My Ride is a licensed game for die-hard fans.

Below Average

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