Fancy some maniac motorbike madness? Welcome to Motocross Stunt Racer. This game that�s been available for some time, but if you were wondering whether it�s a worthy buy, then read on�
Installation is easy, so you are soon greeted with the options screen, along with some suitably racy music. Here you can choose between Racing mode, Stunts or Free Ride. Everyone knows instructions are for the last resort, so of course I went straight into Racing.
The first thing you�ll want to do is create a player. Give him a name, select what colour bike you prefer, and what colour shirt you think will suit you and you�re away.
The first track is meant to be an easy introduction, as the road is quite wide, no really nasty turns. It still took me a while to get past though, due to the difficulty of the controls, as I�ll explain in a moment. Fortunately it turns out that there is a rather easy way to win this level by means of a cunning short cut.
Racing is fairly self explanatory. Anything from 1 to 7 computer bikers will be competing with you to complete the race first. When you finish the race you will be given a score based on your finishing position and time to complete the race. If you get enough points it will unlock the next level. In some cases you might build up enough points to be able to bypass certain levels completely, but in general you�ll want to complete them in order. Luckily even with 7 opponents the gameplay is still nice and smooth.
Should you want a change from straight out races then there is stunt mode, which sees you fulfilling some more varied goals, such as to visit certain check points on the map in the fastest possible time, or to pull off a really spectacular jump. The last mode, free ride lets you do whatever you want on a map with no goals at all, so you can practise those jumps and tight turns.
The heads up display is nicely done; the majority of the screen is given over to the playing area with a little mini-map visible in the top left corner and your time in the top right. At the bottom your lap number and position are displayed. Graphics are top notch, with proper 3D landscapes and extremely smooth action. This is all accompanied by the expected vroom vroom engine noises, which comes together to make a good immersive playing experience.
This is all accompanied by the expected vroom vroom engine noises, which comes together to make a good immersive playing experience.
All this is well and good, but what about the gameplay I hear you cry? Well, you�ll be pleased to know that the controls are fully configurable, you can adjust the screen to any orientation you choose, and map the movement accelerator and brake to whatever keys suit you. Movement is a simple case of pressing which direction you want to turn the bike to face, and the accelerator of course is to be pressed down permanently. Personally I found that having the directions using the joypad, and the accelerator mapped to the volume up button suited me best. I also mapped the brake to the volume down button as a token gesture, but of course I never use it. Who wants to slow down after all?
Unfortunately despite all this effort the controls still aren�t good enough. This is largely a problem with the SPV�s poor control pad rather than the game, but I can�t overlook the fact that it is still very difficult to accurately point the bike in the direction you want to go, or pull of those sharp turns. On many tracks you can stray a little way from the course without losing a lap, but if you do lose a lap you may as well start the race again, as there is no chance of catching up. This highlights a couple of other problems with the game, one being the computer bikers are very very good, so you�ll be extremely lucky to win a race if you make one slip up. The other problem I should mention is the extreme difficulty of some of the levels. Two levels I have found extremely difficult are Evergreen Gardens (level 10) and Gunny Gulch (level 16), which require you to line your bike up in a very precise manner when approaching a jump. As already stated, this is extremely difficult on the SPV�s gamepad. It would have been nice to see some kind of difficulty level settings (or more precisely an �easy� option!) Still this does give you a real sense of achievement when you do win a level. There is also an unfortunate bug that often causes the game to quit when you finish a level, and then try to load another one. This isn�t a major problem as your progress is saved so you can just load the game up again. Still, it is hard to forgive this given that the game has been out a while, so this problem should have been patched.
There is some redemption however: to restart a level is just a question of two quick key presses, so if you slip up you won�t be waiting ages to get back into the race. This is a �quick action� game, i.e. one you can pick up and play for a few minutes while waiting for a bus or in-between classes. In that respect it works very well. There is a lot of replayability, with 45 levels to work this is not a game that you�ll be completing in 5 minutes. Most importantly I guess, this game is a lot of fun to play, assuming you can put up with the fact that you are not likely to get first place on the first (or maybe even 10th) try.
So to conclude � a beautiful looking and fast playing game, with some unfortunate control problems (even if they are largely due to the phone rather than the game.) If there is ever a patch to fix the quit-upon level change bug then I will probably award it an extra point. This game is still lots of fun, and better than a lot of other games out there. I imagine that when played on more capable hardware than the SPV many of its problems will disappear.
Lots of levels and replayability.
Difficult to control accurately enough
Some levels extremely difficult
Quit upon level change bug
Motocross Stunt Racer scores 6/10
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