Tour the world as only a stick figure can, with techno pop and death-defying obstacles.
Who knew controlling a little stick figure on a bike would be this fun? Spicysoft’s Bike Rider DX for the 3DS is a simple enough game: help your racer pedal to the goal post while avoiding every obstacle that comes your way. It’s almost the type of game you’d expect for free as a phone app, but Spicysoft manages to take the game further, combining colorful graphics with two modes and an extended amount of gameplay.
Gameplay is divided between the World Tour and Grand Prix modes. World Tour contains the bulk of the game, including ten locations to race through, plus bonus stages to unlock. Grand Prix is more about endurance; it’s an endless runner where you ride for as long as you can. The game’s controls are the same for both areas: press A to jump and use the circle pad to speed up or slow down. The biker never stops pedaling, with the screen continually scrolling to the left to keep up.
World Tour sets you on a racing journey around the world that becomes increasingly harder as you advance. Obstacles start out simple with boulders and gaps to jump over, but soon add in competing bikers, birds, moving platforms, and more. Power ups that can affect your speed, jump, and bike type can either help or hinder your process and are activated the moment you touch them. A countdown tells you when their effects will wear off, which is extremely useful in a precision-type game like this. Three large coins are also scattered throughout each course which can be used to unlock bonus stages later in the game.
There are five levels in each stage, which add up to a fair amount of racing for this seemingly small game. The locations are nicely themed too, sometimes to a comical extent. Though it can be a little tough at times to judge the difference between an obstacle and a decoration, but this never posed any lasting issues.
Grand Prix offers a hint of competitiveness to the game by providing a leaderboard that lists your top ten distances. The location and layout are randomly generated, keeping the challenge going every time you try to beat your high score. The date and time are also recorded, but unfortunately it lacks any option to add in a name or initials, severely diminishing the ability to compare scores unless you remember which scores are yours. This mode would also benefit from a wireless ability to compare against other players of the game.
The game’s physics feel very intuitive and natural. Obviously a real bicyclist could never jump that high, but when you hit wind or activate certain power ups, you feel the affect in a satisfying way. It’s these details that really add to the game and allow you to mentally plan out levels you’re having difficulty with, and trust me, there are some serious challenges to be found. The bonus stages are no laughing matter, and expect no less than game mastery to get past falling rocks, endless pitfalls, and giant birds from hell, and that’s without nabbing all three coins.
Completionists will find even more gameplay from the Awards list, with over sixty achievements to agonize over. They range from the usual grab-all-the-coins goal to the more frustrating completion of an absolutely perfectly timed sextuplet jump.
The fun aesthetic of Bike Rider DX is complemented by its fun and energetic music. There are variations on the poppy electronic tune depending on where you are in the world, and the music plays continually through the levels until you switch to a new world. It’s a small touch, but one that nicely gets rid of the repetition some games fall prey to. The 3D effects are smoothly implemented as well, with layered backgrounds and nice moments where you cross in front and behind decorations.
Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much going into this game but its easy mechanics and short-but-tough levels are the perfect combination to create an insanely addictive experience. Spicysoft has delivered a polished platformer that just can’t be put down. There were too many moments where I fell to my death only to convince myself that just one more time, one more race would be the one. The smooth controls, infectious soundtrack, and challenging levels make for an extremely enjoyable ride.