MotoHeroz, a Trials-style racer developed by RedLynx and published by UbiSoft, is now available from the app store. Featuring spot-on physics, wacky graphics, and sadistic level time requirements to earn even a single star, MotoHeroz is an exercise in patience, persistence, and perfection.
- Colorful and detailed graphical interface, full of fun and treacherous elements
- Upbeat and arcade-like soundtrack
- Responsive controls allowing for precise adjustments of vehicle attitude
- Great level design and hidden treasure chests to boot
- Multiple ghost racers to compete against
- Global leaderboards and GameCenter achievements to earn
- Brutal difficulty curve
- Sadistic level times to beat for stars
There are 30 levels available, spread evenly across 6 environments that each feature a different vehicle. Levels consist of ramps, dips, loops, and a variety of other moving parts designed to trip you up as you make your way toward the goal. Coins are spread throughout the level, with more awarded based on your performance or your ability to find the hidden treasure chest in each level. The coins can be spent on upgrades such as increased top speed, increased acceleration, or greater duration of power-ups, which are additional elements found in some levels. These power-ups include a spring for jumping, a speed booster for a quick burst, a shockwave for blowing obstacles out of your way, a set of sticky wheels for climbing extreme inclines, and a jetpack for short flights.
As with most Trials games, the level design is the star of the show, forcing you to adapt quickly to the various changes in pitch that can completely wipe out your momentum or put you on your roof if you’re not one step ahead. Controlling your speed and attitude are crucial to keeping you moving forward (or backward in some cases) and putting you in position to best the ridiculously short times required to earn stars that unlock the next level. We rarely, if ever, picked up more than one star on our first successful attempt, leading us to believe that you need a fairly well-upgraded vehicle to snag the second or third stars. You’re also likely to find yourself mired in limbo as you try the same level over and over again while just missing the mark needed to advance. This isn’t the type of game that rewards you for giving it your best and letting you move on after fumbling your way to the finish. MotoHeroz don’t mess around. They do, however, give substantial assistance in the form of two ghost racers. The blue racer runs the course in a time that mirrors that needed to earn the next star, while the red racer is a ghost of the actual race run by the person one slot higher than you on the leaderboard. The instant feedback given by these ghosts is invaluable and it enhances the experience by giving the illusion of racing against opponents, as well as showing you how a faster race could be run. Incorporating elements gleaned from these ghosts has been integral in discovering how to better our times.
Graphically, the levels look fantastic, full of lots of colorful elements that work together to create almost of fun house of sorts, funneling you through a general path but giving you multiple options of how to arrive at your destination. Foreground items can sometimes be confused for background items as the graphics create dimensional effects, though it’s not nearly as disorienting as some other games we’ve played. The focus of each level varies, too, with most requiring you to reach an end goal, while some act as long jump competitions or avoidance exercises where you cannot let other racers touch you while you transport the end goal to the end of the level. The racers each have a unique look and the upgrades are specific to each vehicle. The soundtrack is upbeat, arcade-y goodness. Controls are pretty tight and well-implemented, placing left and right arrows that control backward and forward movements on the lower right of the screen. Buttons on the lower left control the angle of your vehicle, and an item button appears above these to activate or deactivate a power-up. The placement and use of this button wasn’t ideal for us, but it was ultimately serviceable.
Replay value is very good, as hitting the 3-star marks is an insanely challenging task that will require plenty of upgrades and levels of racing perfection that seem impossible until you actually achieve them. Also, finding all of the hidden treasure chests is another exciting, hair-pulling task. There are a ton of leaderboards to compete on, as well as a ridiculous number of GameCenter achievements to earn. At $0.99 (or $2.99 for the iPad-specific version), MotoHeroz is a devilish 4.5-Dimple challenge.