Review

Mad Riders

A Well-Constructed Combination of Thrills and Speed
by Matthew Kato on May 31, 2012 at 10:31 AM
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Techland
Release:
Rating: Everyone
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Also on: PC, PlayStation 3

I was a big fan of Techland's previous racer, Nail'd, and Mad Riders owes a lot to that title. This is a good thing, as the simple foundation of fast racing and steep thrills from Nail’d has transferred over to Mad Riders. Granted, not much differentiates the two, but Mad Riders is still a fun experience.

Perhaps the secret to Techland's success is the layout of the courses and how the boost power ups, shortcuts, and jumps are placed within the levels. It's one thing to be blazing fast – which Mad Riders is – but another to pace the courses correctly so that players are tested, surprised, and yet always racing on the edge. Racing at top speeds is a blast, and so is relying on your reflexes to steer over to that divergent path you just catch out of the corner of your eye.

Catching big air is not only fun because of the vistas you'll see and the handful of tricks you can pull off, but also because of the mid-air steering you can perform. Similar to the twists and turns of the on-ground portions of the tracks, what you encounter while in the air is just as important. Techland has cleverly placed many large-scale obstacles to make sure that even when you're flying in the air, you're not free as a bird. I had fun using the mid-air steering and loft controls to navigate rock formations and statues and ensure a safe landing.

Apart from the aforementioned tricks, Mad Riders' gameplay is pared down but not insignificant. Boost tokens litter the tracks, but perhaps more important are the blue tokens that can be used to either open up shortcuts or summon boost tokens in certain designated areas called Recharge zones. It's always nice to have a blue token in your inventory for when you might need it.

Mad Riders' online portion is pretty straightforward, accommodating up to 12 racers, but perhaps its one noteworthy feature is the fact that while you're playing single-player you can press right on the d-pad to join a multiplayer session that's about to kick off on the same track.

Although Mad Riders might not feature anything in the way of innovation in either its core gameplay or race modes, I appreciate how developer Techland has honed its racing craft and made it so I never have to let up on the throttle.

Mad Riders is now available on XBLA, PSN, and Steam for $9.99/800 MP.

7.75
i
Game Informer's Review System
Concept Pick up where Nail'd left off with fast racing, big jumps, and a few surprises
Graphics The game looks pretty good, and the color palette in particular makes the game pop off the screen
Sound The generic rock music and arcade-cabinet announcer is as clichéd as it comes
Playability The in-air steering is really helpful, and the racing feels solid
Entertainment Mad Riders keeps things nice and simple, which streamlines it for speed
Replay Moderate