MotoHeroz Review (iOS)
Time trials are a staple of the racing genre. You can’t have a successful racing game that doesn’t allow its players to compete against the track and the track alone. There’s something about being the fastest you can possibly be. Combine that aspect of racing with a traditional two-dimensional platformer and you’ve got something that makes for an even more interesting time. MotoHeroz began life as a downloadable game on the WiiWare service and it saw some pretty solid reviews there. Now, the Finnish developer behind the series is bringing the game over to WiiWare, but it’s not just a direct port. It’s a whole new animal.
What You Need to Know
MotoHeroz is a time attack racing game developed by Red Lynx. This is the company behind other popular games like Trials HD on XBLA, MotoHeroz on WiiWare and 1000 Heroz on iOS. In the game you try to set the fastest time possible by smoothly traversing hills and jumps, upgrading your vehicle and generally learning the layout of the tracks. There are 30 tracks in all with 6 different cars that you’ll be using. Online leaderboards and custom communities allow you to keep tabs on how you’re doing against other racers around the world and see how bad you’re beating your best friend.
If you’ve played MotoHeroz or Trials HD on the consoles then you know what you’re getting into. The gameplay is as addicting here as it is in those console games. On WiiWare MotoHeroz brought a lot of charm, color and character to a service that doesn’t have a huge library of stellar titles. Red Lynx has brought MotoHeroz from WiiWare on to the iOS and it still has all of the charm, color and extremely addicting gameplay to go along with it.
This is not a straight port of the WiiWare game, but rather a completely new title that borrows many elements from its predecessor. The level designs are going to be instantly familiar because of the art style, the vehicles and the characters, but it will bring new challenges because you’ve probably never seen these courses before. There are 30 new tracks in all and a couple of new vehicles that you’ve never seen before.
You’re still racing against a ghost opponent and you have to beat them to continue, but the game feels a little more accessible than the WiiWare game. On WiiWare I struggled to finish some levels, even after multiple runs, much less get more than a single star rating. The record paces for that game are incredibly fast. In addition there are other racers on many of the tracks that you have to race against so you’re not only racing against the clock, but trying not to hit other drivers that will slow you down. That’s mostly gone now. You’re racing against a ghost of another racer, but on most tracks you’re alone on the course so it’s just you against the track. There are a few races where you’re doing things like keeping other racers from reaching a goal marker that’s attached to the top of your car. They were my least favorite races on WiiWare and I’m glad they were removed here.
As with any of Red Lynx’ recent releases it’s all about momentum. You’re more than likely not going to get the goal time your first time through a course. There are so many bumps, ramps and obstacles that you have to learn the positions of to keep that from happening. Knowing how your car reacts to all of these bumps is crucial in posting fast times. The fastest car in the world won’t help you if you’re always launching yourself 50 feet in the air and landing on flat ground or the upslope of a hill. It’s this basic, back to school type of approach to racing that keeps you going all the time. You just want to learn the perfect line through a course to post the fastest time possible. Those leaderboards are always calling your name, telling you that you can move up one position with no problem.
Upgrade Your Ride
MotoHeroz on WiiWare had a large number of cars that you could unlock by playing through the game. It was always a thrill to see what new vehicle you could get, but you could never upgrade them in any way. Now, instead of getting dozens of cars to try out you’re limited to a handful of cars. That might seem like a downgrade, but now you’ve got the ability to upgrade your vehicles with faster speeds, better acceleration from a standstill, and better power ups.
You also have to manage these upgrades carefully. All of the money that you earn goes into a pool and you can use that to upgrade any of the vehicles that you’ve unlocked. If you just want to get through the game you can upgrade each vehicle just enough to finish the five levels for that vehicle. If you want to post the fastest times you’re going to have to upgrade each vehicle beyond that point and that requires finding hidden treasure chests, collecting all the coins in a level or earning more stars. The choice is yours as to how to attack the game.
I’m quite fond of the TRON inspired robot car.
I DIDN’T HIT THAT BUTTON!!!
I think I said the same thing in my 1000 Heroz review. The same thing holds true here. There is some much precision that is involved in a game like MotoHeroz that hitting the wrong button can be devastating to your time. A slight change in the angle of a landing can be the difference between keeping your current momentum, actually speeding up slightly, or coming to a dead stop. Tiny little fractions of movement are needed and there were so many times playing through the game that I hit the wrong button spinning the car left instead of right coming out of a jump. This can be compensated for somewhat by moving the buttons around on the screen a little bit. The problem there is that if you spread them too far out it’s hard to go back and forth between them when you’re adjusting in mid air.
None of this is really the game’s fault so much as it is the hardware, but again, it’s still a problem that needs to be addressed and until someone finds a solution it’s a problem that many gamers and developers are going to have to live with.
I know the developers are trying to make the game a bit challenging by including necessary times that you must beat in order to advance, but please don’t lock new tracks behind walls that many people won’t achieve. It’s easier to obtain stars this time around and you use those stars to unlock new sets of tracks, but I just want to see all of the courses. I would have much preferred that you be allowed to continue to the next track as soon as you finish one. Use the stars to unlock new cars, or characters or paint schemes, but let the players see all of the tracks just by playing the game.
It’s easy to figure out that I like what Red Lynx is doing. I think they’ve found a style of game that they’re good at creating and they always bring something fresh to each experience. MotoHeroz on iOS is a different game than the WiiWare version, which is different than Trials HD, but they all share the same basic DNA. Time Trial racing is fun because you’re always competing not only against your friends, but against yourself because you know you can do better. Just give me one more time through the course to shave a tenth of a second here or there.
Review copy of the game purchased in the iTunes App Store.
Played through all 30 of the game’s levels.
Total Play Time: 4-5 hours