In my experience, I have found that downloadable games that aren’t HD remakes, on the PlayStation Network or Xbox Live Arcade have generally been split into 2 categories, either an arcade type game with endless amounts of replay value or a game that akin to a short story in literature. Having experienced a different array of what the downloadable scene has to offer, I have to say Mad Riders is a game people looking for fun should be checking out.
Platform: Xbox LIVE Arcade (Reviewed), PlayStation Network, PC Digital
Players: Single-Player, Multi-Player
Genre: Off-Road Racer
Release: (INT) May 30th 2012
Release Price: 800 Microsoft Points (Xbox Live Arcade), $15.95 AUD (PlayStation Network), $15.95 AUD (PC Digital Download)
Mad Riders is an off road racing game that’s primarily concerned with delivering an entertaining experience to the player as opposed to the realism found in games like Gran Turismo or the Forza series.
The gameplay in Mad Riders is essentially an arcade racer that utilises All-terrain vehicles (ATV) as its form of delivery. The races are fast paced and filled with lots of jump ramps. Generally speaking your ATV is slow, and relying on its speed alone will not get you very far. In order to be the very best you need to be able to continuously make use of either boosting or power sliding techniques. There are two ways in which you can achieve “boost”, the first is to pass through chicanes scattered throughout the map that contains a boost token or you can perform stunts. I found that there was only a limited amount of stunts to perform but the relative simplicity of the stunts means that you can easily pull off multiple stunts in a row with no real difficulty which feels pretty good!
One thing Mad Riders has going for it is that there was a huge selection of race tracks. You will find that while participating in the tournament, you won’t race on the same track twice for a seemingly long time. The tracks are generally well designed and are usually quite detailed. However, the main problem I had with most tracks is that almost every track had a section where it is impossible to see where to go next until it is too late or the respawn system would be just too sensitive. The respawn system in Mad Riders is activated automatically if you are unable to make the jump across a ramp or you breach the imaginary line while doing a jump. If the tracks were any more difficult to see, then the respawn system would become a huge flaw for this game but at present it is nothing but a minor issue that can be overcome with track familiarity.
In Mad Riders there are two basic types of races you can take part in, the arcade mode or the classic race. The arcade mode is an individual race that is rooted in the old school arcade racers where you race to reach the next checkpoint before time expires and if time runs out, game over. Depending on whether you choose to play the game online or offline, the classic race will consist of either 9 or 11 other racers competing for supremacy.
I was unable to experience multiplayer due to there being no games for me to join, however this was not an issue for me as I found the CPU sufficiently challenging and if you’re not paying full attention, quite often you will have to replay tracks several times before being able to progress. The most disappointing aspect of this game and seemingly most racing games on consoles is the lack of local multiplayer. Throughout my play experience with Mad Riders, all I could think of was how similar the game felt to Mario Kart 64. If the game supported local multiplayer, I believe it could really make the game a lot more than what it is.
The basic goal in races is to achieve a top 3 finish, if you are able to finish in the top 3 you will be able to progress further along the tournament and unlock more races and tracks by earning stars. Other than stars, the other “currency” that the player earns after a race is experience.
The experience you earn levels up your racer which in turn earns the racer new paint jobs, outfits and ATV customization. Although there is a degree of custom settings and variety in Mad Riders, it is limited strictly to aesthetics. For a downloadable game, this level of customization is serviceable but it would be a welcome addition if we were able to earn parts to modify the actual performance of the ATV.
The other aspects of Mad Riders are good but not great. Soundtrack wise, there is a generic arcade style soundtrack that isn’t irritating and the ATVs at least sound like ATVs which is all that you can really ask for at this price bracket. In terms of graphics, the game has a lot of vibrant colours and utilises a cartoony type design so while it isn’t the most cutting edge, it certainly doesn’t look bad.
If you’re looking for a game that will provide you with some good old fashioned fun in the form of a racer, look no further than Mad Riders. If you want a dirt racing gaming with a lot of depth, then Mad Riders is probably not for you.
6.5 – Above Average. Fun but it is let down by some questionable design choices. While it has its own identity, it doesn’t go beyond its own limits.
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