The game just feels like a BMX video game on a handheld system ought to feel--like a miniaturized version of its console cousin without any compromises or cutbacks.
Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 3 isn't much different than Acclaim's previous Mirra game on the Game Boy Advance, but that's not necessarily a complaint, since the sequel builds on what was already an extremely solid product. You can pick between five professional riders, or use the brand-new edit mode to create up to three of your own custom characters, and then improve their skills by completing more than 160 goals scattered throughout nine different environments. Best of all, the game just feels like a BMX video game on a handheld system ought to feel--like a miniaturized version of its console cousin without any compromises or cutbacks.
The main factor behind this achievement is the fact that the developers didn't try to reinvent the genre. Acclaim's Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 3 looks and plays like Activision's Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series, only you're performing tricks with a bike instead of a skateboard. Graphically, these two games both use 2D backgrounds, an isometric viewpoint, and polygonal riders to convey the sense of realistic, three-dimensional environments. The point here isn't to bury you in comparisons between the Tony Hawk series and the Dave Mirra series, but rather to emphasize the fact that Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 3 holds its own with what many consider to be the standard-bearer for GBA action sports games. The riders move smoothly and the tricks are beautiful to watch, so if that's the sort of thing you find entertaining, you won't be disappointed.
Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 3 includes everything you've come to expect from this type of game. This new iteration adds flatland tricks and grind modifications to a repertoire that already included standard grinds, flip tricks, grab tricks, wall taps, wall rides, manuals, and the ability to blend them all together into a seamless aerial ballet. As is common in extreme sports games, each of the environments resembles a real-life location that's been not so subtly laced with ramps, rails, bowls, and pipes. Each area has a set of tasks assigned to it that you're supposed to complete, such as snagging spray cans, grabbing the letters to spell "Mirra," or reaching some out-of-the-way spot. For the most part, the only way to achieve these goals is to kick, grind, and wall-tap your way to them through trial and error.
It's also super easy to perform tricks, which is pretty much why people enjoy action sports games in the first place. Near rails and lips, you can push the B button to stall or grind. If you kick up some air, you can hold the R button and perform flips or spins. With a bit more altitude, you can execute bar and frame tricks. As you practice and get your timing down, it's not uncommon to chain together five or six tricks in midair and link them together with a manual in order to do it all again, with the end result being one hell of a score multiplier. The only real drawback to the whole affair is that Full-Fat, the game's developer, opted to retain the two-minute time limit for runs in the proquest mode. This doesn't give you much time to accomplish more than one or two goals per run, and it's rather sadistic considering the skill required to snag some of the items in later areas.