Mad Riders

8.0 Overall Score

High fun factor available to a wide range of skill levels | Reasonable price | Features that support non-stop action

Racer reset function can kick in too quickly | No female racers

Written by on July 15, 2012 in [, , , , , , , , , , , ]

Summer is a great time to take a break from heavy thinking and have a good time.  Techland’s answer to this call is their new XBLA game called Mad Riders.  The fun began early as Mad Riders’  teaser trailer.  The developers chose to meld the high octane graphics from their game Nail’d and nods to the emo soundtrack of the reverse-time trailer from their game Dead Island.  The result is a very comical look behind the scenes of the creative process for designing the perfect trailer.  This focus on fun carries over into the game.  At its core it is their game Nail’d without the dirtbikes.  This game attempts the same adrenaline injected fun punctuated by high energy splash screen graphics.  The player races different ATV’s and buggies around the tracks with most of the focus on fun for racers of all abilities. This game hopes to offer accessibility for all levels of players through simple game mechanics offering options that limit frustration for lesser skilled racers while adding enough room to show off if the racer is more skilled.  Have they succeeded or are they merely trying to recycle a bite-sized version of their previous game?

A warning to all those prone to seizures and/or motion sickness, these crazy in-your face graphics and outrageously twisted tracks may be asking for trouble.  The intro alone had me hearing the voice of that extremely loud announcer proclaiming that “Coming this Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!!!  You’ll pay for the whole seat but you’ll only need the edge!!!”

The graphics for this game are good without being ultra realistic.  This could have been done on purpose since the whole reason for the creation of this game is speed and non-stop action.  They blur the background environment to replicate the racers high speed.  This tunnel effect also allows the game to get away with less processing going into high definition graphics.  The lack in detail does help the game run very smoothly.  No framerate issues will interfere with this thrill ride.  Another nice touch is the mud splashes on the virtual camera lens.

Now on to the game’s mechanics.  The game’s mechanics are also stream-lined to allow for a non-stop thrill ride.  The best example of this is the racer reset.  Even if the player crashes or gets stuck beyond redemption their vehicle gets magically reset back onto the track with an extremely minor time penalty.  This will resolve much of the frustration lesser skilled racers, like me, have with tougher tracks.  One slight frustration I noticed while playing was that sometimes the auto-reset seemed a bit quick to decide I would not make a jump.  The reset mechanism may have a bit of an itchy trigger finger but most often it helps to save me from having to spend far too much precious time trying to wriggle out of a bad spot and allows more time racing like a maniac and attempting dizzying tricks to gain power boosts.  Filling the boost bar is also fairly simple to do.  Something as simple as an extended slide around the corner is considered a trick.  For those that may be a bit button-combo impaired this is good news.  For more skilled players they can do multiple tricks in the air to fill their bar even faster.  These tricks can offer some wild fun to tracks once the player has figured out its basic layout. Racers can also add options to their boosts and racing by jumping through hoops, landing on targets, or picking up power-ups along the way.

Another feature of the game is the many side passage way options available to the racers.  Each track has multiple options available to make your race work with your skills and abilities.  The player must choose which paths to take and which to avoid.  Not all sidetracks will be shortcuts.  Some side tracks offer more ramps and jumps to allow for more aerial trickery.  Whatever play style you prefer is best done if you choose your path wisely.

The controls for the game are simple atypical for most driving games.  This third person racing game uses the left and right triggers for brakes and gas, the left stick to steer and the buttons to help deploy boosts and other options.  The music for the game also helps shape the experience.  A hard driving bass-line pounds out a beat that will get your motor running.

The single player experience takes the form of a tournament.  The player can race the different tracks to earn stars.  These stars can then unlock new racing events, new gear, new ATV’s and new detailing.  The Quick Race mode allows the player to jump into a single race and get a quick fix.

The multiplayer mode allows racers to take on other racers from all over the world over Xbox Live or PSN.  Up to twelve players and a simple matching system allow racers to get on the track in no time.   If the player gets bored with all the tracks offered in the game then reasonably priced DLC tracks may be purchased to add replay-ability to the game.

One feature I wish they would have included in the game would be a female racer.  While it may be possible that one of the racers could be a female under all that racer gear I somehow doubt it with the basic build of the character.  I don’t need a supermodel type but one character that seems a bit slimmer build would make the experience feel just a tad more realist from my perspective.  This is a minor point but I feel it should be made.

In the end I would compare this game to the typical blockbuster summer movie.  The focus is on the fun.  There’s no plot and no deep meaning behind it.  It has crashes excitement and allows a person to just enjoy the craziness.  It won’t solve the world’s problems but for a little cash I can enjoy the crazy without the typical frustrations I find with most racing games.

A copy of Mad Riders was provided to The Married Gamers for review.  


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Author: Melisa Snyder View all posts by

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