Xtreme Wheels, a side-scrolling trial biking game from Bravo Game Studios, was just released on the app store. A visually appealing offering, this physics-based platformer is hampered by a short campaign and some app instability.
Xtreme Wheels Pros:
- Crisp, 3D graphics that create gritty, dirty atmosphere
- Soundtrack has a nice rock vibe
- Multiple control schemes allow for several ways to control riders
- Clever level designs offer fun challenges
- GameCenter integration for global leaderboards
Xtreme Wheels Cons:
- Short campaign with no additional game modes
- No achievements
- Prone to app crashes
Xtreme Wheels boasts a 20-level campaign covering 5 locations: the Warehouse, the Factory, the Sawmill, the Foundry, and the Scrapyard. Each level has target times that must be bested in order to earn gold or silver trophies. The goal is to reach the end of the level as quickly as possible. Levels are composed of heaps of items that might otherwise be mistaken for junk: boards for ramps, metal barrels, ladders, mesh grates, shipping crates, and a number of other pieces. It’s quite easy to take a spill, land on your head, or lose your head completely if you don’t control your speed and positioning. The fun ragdoll physics make crashing an exciting aspect of the game, too. Proper weight distribution is key in order to keep your bike upright. In addition to low overhangs, you must also watch for explosive barrels that will blow you sky high, requiring you to cross gaps and make jumps just to stay alive. Flips, wheelies, and air time are encouraged, while crashes will be penalized or require a restart if you want to compete on the leaderboards. Most levels can be finished in under a minute, with a handful taking a bit longer. None should last more than a couple minutes, though, so the game’s 20 levels, despite their increasing difficulty, won’t take you long to complete. It’s a bit of a disappointment that just as we start getting into the game, there’s nothing left to do but try to whittle our level times down.
Graphically, Xtreme Wheels sports crisp 3D visuals, enhanced by Retina Display support. Lighting lends an air of menace and grit, reinforcing the extreme nature of the game. Despite this purpose, the lighting also has the tendency to obscure exactly what you are looking at, and background visuals blend into the foreground visuals to make it difficult to see exactly where your path lies. There were many instances where we smashed our heads or hit exploding barrels simply because we didn’t see them until it was too late. The soundtrack has a rock vibe and sound effects are decent, with plenty of engine revving, explosions, and crash sounds. There are multiple control schemes to select from, though the differences are mostly in how the rider’s orientation is handled. Each setup contains an engine button and brake button, though the brake’s position can differ from setup to setup. One control scheme has you tilting the device to shift weight, while the others use on-screen buttons for this purpose. The left/right buttons make popping wheelies a breeze, while the sliders also get the job done quite nicely. A button up in the top right corner allows you to continue from your last checkpoint while incurring a time penalty. The pause button in the upper left takes you to a menu where you can do a full restart on the level. Your time and number of faults is displayed at the screen top.
Replay value comes from honing your skills and perfecting each level once you become familiar with it. The trophies offer a nice incentive to keep playing, too. GameCenter integration provides global leaderboards for best track times on each level. There are no achievements or other game modes to entice players beyond the initial campaign. A universal app priced at $3.99, Xtreme Wheels is a bit pricey for the amount of content available at launch, and the crashes back to our homescreen occurred too frequently to dismiss as a fluke. In its current form, Xtreme Wheels is an enjoyable concept that only musters a 3.5-Dimple rating.
Xtreme Wheels Review,