It seems that racing games have taken a bit of time off since their heyday in the early 2000’s but developer Techland and publisher Ubisoft are looking to bring off-road racing games back in to the limelight.
When you think of racing games you expect speed, customization, choice of vehicles, and some sweet jumps to do stunts off of. Mad Riders gives you the customization, being able to change the colors of almost every part of your ATV. It gives you a limited choice of vehicles. And you also get some sweet jumps with the opportunity to do a limited set of stunts with. But the aspect of speed is where it fails. With a genre like racing games you are fairly limited to what you can do. Mad Riders overcomes this by giving you five different types of races from stunt based races to time trials and even waypoint arena races.
Mad Riders tries to inject some change by adding a point system to almost everything you do, and frankly, it gets a little annoying. If you start to drift for over 2 seconds which happens all the time you get 15 points and a voice shouts out “SIDEWINDER!” sure it’s cool for the first 30 seconds of the race, but when you’re hearing it 20 times a race it gets very annoying. This game is full of things that just bother me from a UI standpoint. Throughout the single player tournament mode there’s an almost constant message on the right side of the screen telling you that multiplayer is available if you hit left on the d-pad. If you do hit left on the d-pad it kicks you out of your game and puts you into a multiplayer lobby. This wouldn’t be a problem if it showed you once in the menus and you never had to see it again, but it continues to pop up on the screen during races and the only way to stop it is to turn it off in the settings. The game also rewards you for doing stunts like backflips, wheelies, jumps and other normal things you do in racing games and this gives you the ability to build up a boost meter. The boost isn’t necessary to winning the race because there isn’t much if any differentiation in speed. I can be going full speed and holding X to engage the boost and still be passed by the AI who are not using boost.
Since this is a racing game, most of your time will be spent in menus and in these menus and between loading screens you are shown some helpful hints and tips which normally isn’t a problem and most of the time can be useful to people who are new to the game. The problem I had with these is that when talking about the controls and referring to the stop button they tell you that left trigger is the “Break” button. If this referred to something about breaking a window then sure, but it’s referring to stopping motion. It should be replaced with “Brake” also, I do understand Techland is a polish developer, but when your game is coming to America, the word “Color” should not be spelled “Colour”.
There really isn’t much that differentiates this racing game from any other racing game besides the vehicles, which are 4 wheelers or ATV’s. The difference in speed is almost nonexistent; there is no reason to play through this game more than once because of the lack of replay ability. The game looks pretty decent and I would say that’s one of the only redeeming qualities of Mad Riders. When you make a racing game there are a few things that have to be just right and it seems that Mad Riders has missed the mark on all of them.