Bike Baron - Biking at it's Bravest
Forum Thread: http://forums.toucharcade.com/showthread.php?t=110802
I realize it's a little late to write a review for a game that I have been playing since Oct 2011, but then, what the heck, better late than never.
Bike Baron, at it's core is a bike trials game. You have a bike, you shift weights on the bike and accelerate or brake with judgement and try to make it over obstacles. However, some quirky elements are added to this gameplay and we have an absolute masterpiece on our hands.
The levels are split across Easy, Intermediate, Hard and Extreme. Every level of this game has 3 "star objectives" each. They could be finishing a level within a specified time limit, not crashing till finish, collecting all coins or destroying all pumpkins along the way, or pulling of stunts like a a no. of back flips or front flips. Getting three stars will start getting difficult from intermediate levels itself. By the time you hit the last level you are convinced of the utter sadism of the developers.
The courses are made up of fixed solid platforms, planks that get affected by how you push them with your bike, ice platforms that break after you touch them. This gives a lot of variety for level design and it's creatively used across the game.
Elements that interact with your bike include barrels which explode at the slightest touch, bombs which explode only if you hit them too hard, pumpkin bombs that you can utilize to catapult yourself around by positioning yourself over it, sheep that harmlessly stand in your way but can throw you off-balance, and a very dirty, sneaky, confounding moose. Oh yes, there are rocket boosters too which really propel your bike and you can actually fly using these.
Then there are checkpoints to get across the course. Of course for the no-crash objective checkpoints do not help. Nonetheless they do help a lot in completing the courses.
You can play as the Baron, or Domovoi (google that, you'll learn something new I promise). The courses for both are the same, but there are fewer checkpoints for Baron, and the star objectives are harder than while riding with Domovoi. And oh, you get to ride with a cat as Baron. Domovoi is the "easier" option to the game.
The physics of the game are very solid. Every crevice, weight transfer, acceleration affects the bike. It's predictable, but at times difficult to nail down. In the toughest levels, you will feel that the physics are being random, but in my view, the fact that bike gets affected in so many ways by the slightest of variations, makes it move in slightly different ways for "roughly similar" moves that you are attempting in a section of the course. Of course in the toughest courses, this leads to the bike crashing and burning. You need to master the game to understand this part of it.
The game is not supposed to be realistic, and neither are the physics in some ways. It's possible for the bike to get wedged into spikes and still continue running. It looks absurd I admit, but the game does the best it can do with it. It uses them in certain levels as a way to ride. Though this wedging business isn't something I like, I appreciate the creative manner in which it is used. You can also ride the motobike in reverse. How I wish I could do that with my motorbike!! Also, rockets and pumpkin bombs are not real at all, but they are a ton of fun.
Tapping for leaning front or back, and for accelerating or braking. Holding on to brakes, makes the bike go in reverse, albeit a lot slower than full on speed while going forward. THe reverse riding gives rise to the possibility of some very creative level designs.
There's no "slider" to shift the weights, which I think is good cause buttons work way better. No tilt option either. The buttons can be customized in the sense that you can choose go/brake buttons and lean back/forward buttons to be either on right or left. Also the offset of buttons from the bottom can be customised. This is a boon on iPad, since you don't want any buttons right at the bottom.
Overall, the controls are very solid. You don't ever mishit wrong buttons, and the controls are responsive and fast.
If you are looking the get all 3 stars in the game's 80 odd levels, it's going to take some crazy skill and patience. Believe me, the extreme levels of the game is some of the hardest video-gaming you will ever do.
THe good part is that you can easily go through all the levels to get a sense of how they are designed and enjoy these levels for what they are. Especially as Domovoi. I feel a few more checkpoints would have been better even with Baron on extreme levels, but then, the levels wouldnt be extreme anymore.
The game comes packed with a great level editor. You wouldn't believe how many great user-created levels there are. THe devs recently ran a level creation contest, and on the forums of bike baron, you will get a truckload of some great levels. Unfortunately, currently the only way you can get user created levels is to search for codes online and download them by entering the codes in the "download" section of user levels in the game. This is set to change as you will soon be able to discover levels from within the game itself without having to hunt for codes. A rating system for the levels so that we know how good a particular user level is, and a way to organize user levels (I already have over 50 of these) is on my wish-list.
I do not understand why the game is as low as .99 cents. Really, it is worth so much more. You can support the devs by buying a santa costume as IAP. THis doesn't change the physics of the game at all.
I highly recommend this game to anyone at it's pricepoint. For people who like the genre, it's an absolute must have. The visuals and sounds are great, especially on iPads. The dev has supported the game with generous amount of updates. Getting 3-star objectives across all courses will take you over 50 hours easily. There are 50000 user levels to play through as well. What more can you ask for replayability. This is an absolutely fabulous game, made by a passionate team. five stars from me.
Last edited by ImNoSuperMan; 01-24-2012 at 04:58 AM.. Reason: Appinfo