Release Date: April 5th 2018
Price as of Article: $19.99 USD, £17,99 UK
There isn’t a story in this game and as such we will skip straight onto Audio and the game will not be scored in this section.
The audio in this game is of a decent standard. Head on over to our video review if you want to have a listen but there are a number of laid-back rocky type tunes which are inoffensive and suit the California setting perfectly. The motorbike sounds, well like a motorbike and jumps when landing sound good. The only thing I wasn’t keen on much was our rider and some of the comments he makes while riding but this was more to do with my personal taste more than anything else. Overall in the audio department the game fairs well.
Visuals and Performance
Make no bones about it this is a pretty looking game. This is set in the sunny and colourful beaches of California and everything fits the style perfectly. From the VW Camper Van in the background as your hub to the beautifully constructed levels. Everything has a soft light colour palette and it all works really well.
There are a few customisations you can make to our rider and bike but its not anything deep by any means and it would have been great had the developers added a little more in this respect. You can also customise your bike but again customisations are very limited. There are around 5 bikes to unlock and they all look great. You can add some stickers and buy some different paint jobs though these are also quite on the limited side.
The beauty of this game though is the performance. I encountered no slowdown at all in either docked mode or in handheld. There is something to be said for a game developed exclusively for the Switch. You can really tell this was built for the Switch specifically with no porting difficulties here.
Like all of these type of games, gameplay may seem simple at first but in fact it’s quite a difficult game to master and will probably take you a good hour to get hang of of it. Don’t get me wrong the physics and the handling of the bike is tight and enjoyable but to pull off weelies, stoppies. front flips and back flips without falling and maintaining control throughout each of the levels can be difficult and it’s this challenge which kept bringing me back to this game. Levels consist of ramps, ledges, obstacles which you have to jump and duck under and traversing buildings all with lots of places to pull off tricks and each stage certainly keeps you on your toes especially later on.
In the single player campaign you will have 55 levels to get through, you will come across most of the same stages again as a lot of them are recycled. There are two main modes, one is time trial and the other is where you will need to pull off as many tricks as possible to land a high score. Pulling off tricks feels fantastic and stringing wheelies together with stoppies and flips rarely gets old especially when getting massive multipliers. The controls are nice and simple too with up direction on the analogue making your rider jump, pushing down has our rider duck to miss out obsticles and the ZL and ZR triggers controls the front and rear breaks independently allowing for some great ways of pulling off tricks. For example using the front break while moving quickly at the end of a ramp will throw you into a front flip. With each stage completed you will be awarded a certain number of stars out of 5. To unlock the next portion of levels you will need a certain amount of stars and these are awarded based on, if a time trial how quickly you complete the stage in and if point scoring on a tricks level, will depend on how many points you managed to amass. You will have points deducted for each crash and of course on time trials crashes will affect your overall time. time trials have the added benefit of a ghost rider so you know how far off you are at each checkpoint which is a nice touch.
Each stage has a number challenges to complete, pull off a high jump for two seconds or carry out 5 front flips in a level, adding replayability as you will want to complete these challenges on each. There are also coins to collect on each which will give you the virtual currency you need to upgrade the engine, breaks and wheels on your bike giving you better stats. You will unlock bikes naturally the further in game you get.
The main thing about the game itself is that it’s fun and addictive but there are a few issues for me. The first is that the format the game is played in becomes rather repetitive and this is because throughout the 55 levels they only alternate between a stunt level and then a time trial, one after another. There is also very little structure, all 55 levels can be cycled through but it would have been great had the levels been broken up into groups of 5 or 10 with each block of levels taking you to a new part of California for example as a career mode with each new section going the player more difficult levels. It would have been good if an extra mode had been added also just to break things up a bit more in the single player campaign.
The other issue I have is with the multiplayer game, the best mode for me is the stunt mode yet you cannot play this mode against a friend. The only two modes available is competition and chase. Competition is whoever finishes the track first and the chase is where one player chases another. Both are fun but I cannot help wishing we had the stunt mode to play which was a real shame for me. While there is online leaderboards and the developers say they online it wasn’t obvious wether these were working at the time of this review however this will be great once live as it adds a great competitive edge especially for players like myself.
It sounds like I have a few complaints with this game but these are nit picks where it could have turned a good experience into a great one, it really isn’t that far off as the core mechanics are here and the game itself is a joy to play.
You are looking a $20 or £17,99 in the UK for a digital copy of the game I am delighted to say can also be buy it in a physical format and can be ordered from Game but it will of course cost you slightly more money. In terms of value, if I had paid this money for the game I would have certainly got my monies worth. I completed it and am now spending more hours perfecting each level with 5 stars and getting through all the challenges so expect a good 5 hours and expect a further 3 or so to get perfects on each level and completing the challenges. Expect to put more in if competing with friends for the best online scores. I would say though that there needed to be a few more modes like a freestyle mode for example.
Very fun gameplay
Solid controls and physics
Lacking a structured campaign
No stunt mode in multiplayer seems an odd choice
Crashed a few times during testing