Mad Riders

Mad Riders is all about the ATV’s, if you’ve played MX vs ATV you’ll have an idea about what this is about, if not… well it’s pretty easy to pick up! The game is all about racing and stunts, but it brings you into the melee in quite an gentle way.

The first round of races introduces controls and basic stunts and allows you the time to get to know the ‘how’ of racing effectively. They also give you time to get used to how the terrain moves around you. When I first started lapping around, the severity of the terrain movement initially threw me, but the devs have done a really good job of balancing stability of the player – that’s you in the middle of the screen – and the movement of the terrain around the player. We’ve all seen those on-body camera shots where the background is moving all over the place while the foreground is solid as a rock and the opposite where the chase-cam keeps the scenery steady and the object you’re controlling bounces around like it’s made of rubber. Mad Riders treads the line between the two extremes well and also didn’t make me nauseous!

As you progress through the game you earn the inevitable XP which translates into leveling up and this then into new gear. The new gear includes outfits for your rider, the gorilla and ninja ones are especially good, and new ATV’s for you to thrash around on. The rule of thumb is typically, the newest is the bestest, but Mad Riders also ATVs have characteristics which you should use and balance to suit your style. I found that machines with too much traction didn’t suit me as I like to slide things around. XP is earned through mad, wicked and radical (do people say that any more?) stunts and by winning races. Leveling up also introduces new stunts for you to do including back and front-flips, whips, wheelies and a spectacular spinning one called ‘Air Time’, so as you get better you have more things to do. Doing stunts while racing charges up your boost bar and this allows you to get a burst of super-speed which can be needed to pinch a race position or, in the later events, clear a jump without plunging to oblivion, so it’s worth having a little boost on hand if you can.

There are eight tournaments of five events per tournament. The events are either Race, Ghost, Checkpoint, Arena or Stunt, and when you’ve completed each tournament to the required level an additional Special Stage event opens up. That’s 48 events of ever increasing difficulty to try, fail at, try again, fail again, have tea and think over and try again at. I’ve finished them all at three stars bar one which sits taunting me because I can only manage to get one star. I will get that final achievement though!

When all is done and you’ve completed the last race in the last tournament, you are once again rewarded with a shiny new bit of kit. This time it’s a buggy rather than an ATV and this means you can, if you want to, go back and do them all again in a different style!

The only WTF moment I had was when I tried to access the Platinum Tracks from the XBLA marketplace. These, I was advised, would cost me, ahem, 4294967295 Microsoft Points and that my balance wasn’t high enough. I’m guessing that, at the time of writing, these aren’t available yet so I’ll keep an eye out to see when / if that changes.


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