Mad Riders ReviewJune 1, 2012
You may know developer Techland as the team behind Dead Island, Call Of Juarez, and most recently, Nail’d.That game was an arcadey off-road racing game similar in a way to Sony’s MotorStorm franchise. Techland has decided to venture into the downloadable game realm, with their newest title Mad Riders. It’s a fun ride, regardless of the fact that it has a lot in common with its older brother.
In Mad Riders, you’ll customize your rider and your ride itself, and then take off on an absolutely blazing-fast run on one of 45 gorgeous courses. The effects used to convey the sense of speed is almost disorienting at first, if only because this is by far the fastest racer I’ve ever played. The sharp graphics, great environmental design and hypersonic speed combine to create a memorable experience.
Your ATV has a boost meter (quite standard in these sort of games), which can be replenished through sliding around corners, pulling of airborne tricks, and running through big red icons that represent fuel. Also like MotorStorm, there’s plenty of shortcuts to gain the advantage over your opponents. There’s a few other ways to gain boost, and Mad Riders manages to balance this aspect pretty well, even giving a bit of boost to those falling way behind to even things out. Placing first in these races and completing challenges contributes to your XP level, which helps unlock new rides, levels, and modes.
The sense of speed is a big draw and one of the most fun aspects of Mad Riders, but it also has its drawbacks. The environments, while beautiful, are simply too confined and can sometimes make the gameplay frustrating. Out of nowhere the game will present you with a 90 degree turn with a split second to maneuver it, and 3 out of 5 times you’ll just smash right into it. Of course, you’ll eventually learn the tracks better, but this aspect is more annoying rather than challenging. The game also has a strange habit of getting your rider stuck on random objects like rocks right before a big jump, leading to your character falling to an ill-deserved death. Mad Riders is at its best when offering more opened-up courses laden with huge jumps, where everything combines to give the player a genuine thrill.
Graphically, as I stated before, Mad Riders is easy on the eyes. The game has a slick, slightly cel-shaded look to it that really pops off the screen. It’s a perfect marriage for the sense of speed, as the bright visuals make the environments a bit easier to read, and thus navigate. Combined with the over-the-top announcer, the game will instantly call back memories of late 90’s arcade games like Daytona USA, and everything combines to give it an extra edge in the personality department. The multiplayer aspect is fun, with up to twelve racers competing in the same modes available in single player.
All told, Mad Riders is a fun diversion with great graphics and gameplay, with just a few nagging issues. If you’re a fan of Sega’s arcade racers from the 90s, Mad Riders is easy to recommend.