Mad Riders (XBLA)

June 1, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

If you’ve ever wanted to ride an ATV at insane speeds while dressed as a gorilla, Mad Riders is now available and wants to make that wish come true. The game focuses on speed above all else, with breakneck action that also lets you bust out a myriad of tricks and stunts. And since most of the tracks are placed in rugged, mountainous environments, each lap is filled with razor thin turns and hair raising moments. The game doesn’t punish you too much for going overboard either, as quick resets get you back on the track, whether you fly off a cliff or get trashed from a failed stunt. So the emphasis in Mad Riders is on going fast and having fun, which means this is much more arcade driven than a simulation approach. This is especially good news on some of the more hard to read courses, which often result in frequent mishaps. The course design in some cases could have been a problem, but the low penalty restarts encourage exploration and taking risks.

If you want to test your skills alone, you’ll want the tournament mode. As you progress through around forty total races, divided into events, you will face a number of variants. Some are traditional races, others are focused on stunts, time trials occur, and other varities of competition. This keeps the entire run fresh, as even when tracks repeat, the goal changes and that makes the course seem like brand new. Even as you race by yourself, you might find yourself prompted to take place in a multi-player showdown however, which is quite cool. If you want to jump into the action, just press the button and if not, just keep going in your own race. If for some reason you respond to a full race, you simply continue in your own race as well, so great design choices in this aspect. Once you do get into an on-line race, the game runs smoothly and is of course a lot of fun. So whether you’re alone or want to test your skills against the world, Mad Riders has what you need.

I’ve played a ton of race games, but few can match the raw feel of speed like Mad Riders. The tracks just blaze past you even in the base level ATVs, but once you’ve gained access to a top tier ride, things get insane. With the right ride you can boost almost through entire races, which takes an already frantic experience to the next level. And even when you’re barely able to keep a handle on things, you’ll want to pull off stunts, collect boost tokens, and just see what kind of wild mayhem you can create. The speed even holds up in on-line races, which are just as blistering and wild as single player ones. Most of the tracks allow you to get in, have a crazy race, and move on, which really feeds into the leveling system and unlocks. This is one of those games where you’ll promise yourself just one more race, only to realize hours have passed. Even in a crowded genre like race games, Mad Riders is able to stake a claim as one of the most fun titles around.

Video: How does it look?

The game has great visuals, though you won’t be able to soak in the sights often. You burn through the courses at a manic pace, so the detail in the world around you is sometimes lost. But I found the game’s visuals to be intricate and well detailed, with a lot of little touches to add to the atmosphere. This is all basically a blur while you play, but enough of it reads to appreciate the effort put into the designs. The feel of speed is one of the game’s strongest elements and the visuals really bolster that, with just the right level of blur. Your peripheral vision is just a stream of passing blurs, but you are able to keep your bearings and navigate with ease, quite cool indeed.

Audio: How does it sound?

The sound design gets overshadowed by the visuals, but the sounds of Mad Riders are rock solid. The engine roars and impact slams are visceral, which really adds to the adrenaline soaked experience. The music sounds good too, but it is the wind ripping past you and the growls of your engine that stand out. The sound design is deceptively simple, which is often the mark of a truly impressive soundtrack.

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