hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Mad Riders

Review: Mad Riders

2:00 PM on 05.30.2012 // Allistair Pinsof
  @DtoidAllistair

ATVs are the perfect meeting point between motorcycles and cars, making for a fast but light vehicle that should be fun to control in a videogame. Yet, I can’t think of any game that captured the appeal of ATVs without pandering only to gearheads. MX vs ATV was a bit too niche. Nail’d came close, Pure came really close, but Mad Racers does it one better by making the ATVs faster and the tracks crazier.

Building upon the framework laid down in 2010's Nail’d, developer Techland (Dead Island) has created a speedy, insane arcade racer that shouldn’t be passed up by ATV fans or those in need of a new adrenaline-fueled racing game to carry them through the week.

Mad Riders (PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade [Reviewed], PC)
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Techland
Released: May 30, 2012
MSRP: $9.99 / 800 Microsoft Points

Mad Riders reminds me of many of my favorite racing games. Most of all, it reminds me of SSX 3, MotorStorm: Pacific Rift, and Burnout 3, three of my favorite games. Mad Riders isn’t so different from any other racing game at its core: it’s still a race to the finish line. The difference here is in the environments and way the ATVs control. Like Burnout, you’ll rely heavily on your ability to boost to get ahead. You only gather boost fuel from item pick-ups and stunts, so you’ll need to be very strategic in burning up your resources.

Instead of dodging traffic to fill up your boost meter, you’ll be taking constant risks in performing tricks in the air and on the ground to earn boost. For whatever reason, Mad Riders takes its time in unveiling tricks to the player. This makes for a rather dull first tier of stages -- there are eight tiers each featuring five tracks -- but the game quickly ramps up once you have the full repertoire at your disposal. Soon, you'll be overwhelmed by all the trick opportunities. There are bullseyes you can risk landing within, hoops to jump through, and other ways to earn boost during a race.

Pulling off tricks in Mad Riders doesn’t have the grace and visual flair of SSX, but it still gives me that same rush. I love pulling a wheelie off on the ground and using the boost gained to ride past my opponents on an uphill slope. Or, risking a double flip in the air to get some extra boost for the end of a track. You are constantly making these risk/reward decisions that keep you on your toes. The vehicles feel somewhat jerky, not nearly as smooth as I like. There are some nice control touches, though. I loved how you could extend or shorten your jumps in the air by holding down or up on the left analog-stick. It's not very realistic, but it a fun addition that gives the game its own distinct feel.

Another key component to the game are shortcuts and refill areas. Along with boost tokens, the tracks have shortcut tokens you can pick up and store for future use. There are several shortcuts and refill stations (supplying boost tokens) you can trigger in the map, as you draw near them. These can give you a great advantage, but they can also help out competing racers if they weasel their way into the open path. Shortcuts, along with branching paths of tracks, help take away some of the repetition of the game’s straightforward races.

Mad Riders has a wide audience in mind, so I can understand why it plays dumb early on. It doesn't make it okay, however. Along with a shorter list of tricks, the early game also hides behind dumbed down tracks that lack the sharp turns and branching paths of later stages. Eventually, the tracks open up and become increasingly challenging and unpredictable. All of the game’s tracks take place in tropical areas, reminiscent of Pacific Rift. You’ll drive through ancient ruins, beaches, and dense jungles. The narrow paths, high-contrast visual filter, and locations crowded with trees make for a disorienting racing experience. I found myself frequently going off path, not because I couldn’t make a turn but because I didn’t even know I was supposed to.

It doesn’t help that the game has one of the peskiest track reset systems I’ve ever seen in a racing game. If you wander off the main path, even a little bit, the game will suggest you respawn, despite still being in relatively good control of the situation. Then there are all the myriad screw-ups you’ll find yourself in due to the game’s wonky physics and vehicle handling. You’ll eventually grow used to the game’s quirks, but it takes some time for it to sink in. Though the game is accessible, learning the ins-and-outs of it can be a frustrating period.

I love variety in racing games, but Mad Riders is one of the rare times where I wish the game just stuck to standard races. The game offers five different modes: race, stunt race, race the clock, ghost challenge, and arena. Most are inoffensive distractions, but I found myself groaning whenever I had to do an arena race. These tracks take place in a small, enclosed area where you race toward waypoints in a circle. Stunts and speed rarely factor into these matches, which goes against what makes Mad Riders fun. Instead, you focus on perfecting your slide and finding the best shortcut to the next waypoint, which is fine until you get stuck on some object along the way or can’t tell where the next checkpoint is because the waypoint arrow blends in with the rest of the screen.

Once you have exhausted the game’s campaign and perfected the very difficult elite races, you can breathe new life into the tracks online with other racers. Although the game copies-and-pastes track sections into one another to make-up its large track roster, it’s still 45 original tracks at the end of the day which will keep you guessing upcoming turns instead of memorizing them.

Techland have made a worthy follow-up to Nail’d, despite Mad Riders' quirks and faults. I’m a junkie for a good and fast arcade racer. Mad Riders is one of the first games to fit that bill in some time.



THE VERDICT

7

Mad Riders - Reviewed by Allistair Pinsof
Likable - That's a seven, which is actually a different number than five. It's more than ok. We like this game. I don't want to play it every day forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested in it, and I'll be picking it up again to relive the fun sometime down the line.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Allistair Pinsof,
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidAllistair

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Daniel Lingen avatarDaniel Lingen
#PAX2015
Agent9 avatarAgent9
gonna help my mom move and pack some things. what it means is I'm gonna sit and get yelled at whether I do or do not do something. I can't be the only one with a picky parent that expects nothing less than clairvoyance (-_-)
WryGuy avatarWryGuy
If some weren't aware, Phil/Mike Martin needs some help right now but can't access traditional donation avenues like Paypal on his own. I'm offering to be a middle man. I'm also offering to match 50% moving forward right now. [email protected]
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
At first I thought it would be fun. Then more ideas came, so I kept adding. More! More! But soon it just became stubbornness. Now, as I stare at 10000 words of meandering loon about a subject I'd almost rather be porn, I must question all my life choices.
Fenriff avatarFenriff
Someone on Gamefaqs asking the real questions. How mad would you be if halfway through the Mad Max game he stumbles upon a tribe of kids and the rest of the game is a lighthearted romp?
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
I think, for my first try, I drew a pretty damn good Ryu, if I do say so myself [img]https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/edB8UKLdSZep8ZSOYF8u[/img]
RexterNathan avatarRexterNathan
Really sad that Wes Craven has passed away. He made really fun films.
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
R.I.P. Wes Craven. I'll always remember you for A Nightmare On Elm Street, Scream and Red Eye. I'll try not to remember you for Music of the Heart.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
So apparently Nintendo is taking down Mario Maker Let's Plays as fast as they can. Good job!
Snaveage avatarSnaveage
Phantom Pain is fucking glorious.
IDrawOnTape avatarIDrawOnTape
Anyone remember the cartoon "Freakazoid"? I'm doing artwork for a box for work to hold my supplies, but I cant remember some of the better characters. Freakazoid, Steph, Cosgrove, Candlejack, the Lobe, Caveguy... but who else?
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
Gotta love all those Dtoid community members that magically appear whenever there's a giveaway.
DSBrad avatarDSBrad
Newest Madden may be one of my favorites. Been taking all my time up.
TheDefenestrator avatarTheDefenestrator
TWITCHTOID! I'll be playing some more PS4 Zombi and then some Until Dawn if'n I want to change things up. Link: [url=http://www.twitch.tv/thedefenestrator]Twitch.tv: TheDefenestrator[/url]
Fenriff avatarFenriff
Bless Wasteland 2's custom portraits [img]http://i.imgur.com/JuWaB1W.png?1[/img]
James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
Sorting out a bunch of university stuff and going through a bit of writers block. I'm also holding some of my best stuff back for freelancing purposes (uni ain't cheap!), so sorry if my blogs have been a bit lackluster lately. And will be for 4-ish weeks.
gajknight avatargajknight
Been looking for a car to buy today. I swear, I am so sick of my mums voice. "It's too expensive!" "Don't you think it's a little big..." "INSURANCE!" Goddamn woman, chill your beans.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Hey look! I bought some toys and stuff and junk and what-not. [IMG]http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b321/Felth/Mobile%20Uploads/2015-08/IMAG0656.jpg~original[/IMG]
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Yes, it's essentially a trace job, but this is my first piece of pixel art: [img]http://i.imgur.com/N0zmHiL.png[/img]
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Oh for fuck's sake, why is there no Netflix app for my PSTV?
more quickposts


Contest!


destructoid's previous coverage:
Mad Riders


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!



Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -