hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Mad Riders

Review: Mad Riders

2:00 PM on 05.30.2012 // Allistair Pinsof

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.



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 community fisters, 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 * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
It seems fairy farts are a fragrance, a soap, incense, a vaping liquid and a kind of nail polish. I'm clearly in the wrong line of work and need to eat more chili.
Cannibal Steven avatarCannibal Steven
"You gave the Lost Soul a big smile, like you remember she likes to do... For some reason she sort of wants to smile back..." I'm not crying. Not one bit.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Just tried 'The Last Of Us' on PSNow Trial, only to be told... 'Something went wrong. Try again.' Game-appropriate error message or quickie plot-summary?
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
I hate when people say crap like "I admit that [thing] in games is problematic, but I still enjoy it" because it's an underhanded way of contradicting your own views while convincing yourself that you aren't a hypocrite.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Well shit. I knew I was more than likely going to enjoy Star Wars Battlefront (cause you know, giant Star Wars nerd and all) but holy cow, the beta is fucking great! I need the full game like, now.
SpielerDad avatarSpielerDad
Anyone here going to NYC Comic Con? Always wanted to go and lived so close, but alas, it wasn't meant to be.
Mark Plechaty avatarMark Plechaty
Well I haven't seen any levels like this on mario maker so maybe it's unique the I'd is 55BD000000961CBA GIVE IT A GO and let me know what you think
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Hey Stranger ... wadda you buying ? Want some crack ? Here ya go... [youtube][/youtube]
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
My brother caught me this Pokémon in our room yesterday. How should I name it? [img][/img]
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Yay, I got off of work early and may have Friday off! I have a sinking feeling I'm going to work 10 hours on Saturday as a result, though :/ We ran out of stuff to make stuff with so they must ship us stuff so we can ship stuff.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Yo yo I'm Marie and I got dat gangsta flow. High scores ain't no trip, cuz I whip that shit like Sonic quick. I-I mean no! I didn't say anything! Stupidrecordbreakingcombodolt. [img][/img]
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
I'm watching you.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
SkarKrow avatarSkarKrow
Work noooooooooooooooooo D:
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
I had such a awkward time playing Catherine because it shared the same name as my mother....
JayDGee avatarJayDGee
Broforce is coming out of early access on the 15th. I had no Idea it was an early access game.
James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
I have now played all 3 Witcher games. My verdict: Witcher 1 - alright, aged badly, lots of sex. Witcher 2 - good, very short, not much sex at all. Witcher 3 - Excellent in every way.
ikiryou avatarikiryou
I really wish MGO had been implemented with free-roam gameplay PMC (clan) setup instead of the standard matchmaking. Imagine roaming bands of PMC's opposing each other on the battlefield. How sexy would that be?
SkarKrow avatarSkarKrow
Playing Shantae & The Pirates Curse, must say I'm loving it for the most part, barring the odd WHERE AM I D: moment
JayDGee avatarJayDGee
Added a humble code to my steam account when I already had the game. Purely because the soundtrack was attached. Now I see it on 2 friends wishlists. They must never know.
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:
Mad Riders

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


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 -