Developer: Best Free Games inc.
Platform: Android Play Store, Apple Store
Download Size: 38.3mb (Android)
Tested on: Samsung Tab4 (7.5inch tablet)
Huck that bike like you just unlocked it!
I’ve always been a fan of mobile games due to the many years ive spent commuting to and from work as well as wasting time waiting for meetings and other life events including the odd bathroom break. A good mobile game doesn’t have to be a console game packed down and crammed onto your pocket device but it must have one thing more than anything else, that addiction factor!
Bike Mayhem is one of those titles that fills the Google Play Store’s sports game apps. At first glance the app icon doesn’t look overly impressive, however, this belies what this game actually holds. Now we all know as I said that there are many sports games, plenty of biking games and even more balance style games on the market but Bike Mayhem does seem to stand out from a large portion of the crowd.
Fans of mountain biking will instantly take a liking to the look of this game as although there aren’t any brand names and company logos splashed around, the bike frames are somewhat recognisable. You start off as with most games, a bog standard bike, wheelset and clothing options. As you progress through the game you get the opportunity to unlock a whole host more frames, wheels and clothing assortments. Aside from the clothing, the frame and wheelset that you choose does make a difference in performance for different aspects of the game. Landing a big drop in a set of 12 spoke wheels is more likely to send you flying off the handlebars than doing the same on a tougher, more rigid set but with strength comes weight and on some parts you need speed so weight decision might be key. Frame choice comes down to the two major options, full suspension and hardtail. For the uninitiated, a hardtail frame is a bike with front suspension fork but a standard set up to the rear whereas a full suspension bike is just that, shocks front and rear. different riders prefer different set ups depending on what you want to do. hardtail can work better for tricks (depending on rider skill) and full suspension can cope with big drops much better.
The game boils down to two styles of level. One type is the classic race against the clock. the level has a time and you have to beat it. Beat the time and you gain a star. Beat it by enough and don’t fall off your bike at all and you could gain up to 3 stars. The second type is tricks and stunts time. Use the level to rack up as many tricks and combos as you can to get the highest score possible. Again, beat the score the level has set and you gain a star. Beat it by a lot and don’t fall off your rig and you can score up to 3 stars. What do stars do I hear you say, well, stars unlock upgrades as mentioned before. Simple.
Controls are an interesting affair. I’ve never been a fan of using gyros to control balance in games. I don’t want to be wiggling and swinging my phone or tablet all over the place to land a trick or gain that little extra speed especially while im sitting on a bus or train. Luckily Bike Mayhem has the option to change this default control scheme to a lean back/lean forward button scheme in the bottom left corner of the screen along with the suspension compression button which aids in prepping for a jump. The tricks are chosen from a wheel of buttons on the right side of the screen. The buttons don’t say which tricks they perform so its a bit of trial and error to begin with until you find which does what and which tricks take longer to perform and which are easier to land. The bigger the trick, the better the points value. Adding backflips and frontflips adds to the scores as well but it is very easy to over rotate the bike and rider and cause a painful crash to both your poor rider and your score. A clean run will potentially score you more stars than a high scoring but multiple crashed run.
If you don’t want to play the game in the manner intended and you want to get all the good stuff straight away, well you can of course as with so many other games on the mobile stores, use micro transactions to buy any and all of whats on offer. Bike Mayhem also has two options on the store. A free version which has ads splashed around the options screens which are somewhat annoying but common place in games it seems lately. There is of course a paid version which looses the ads. The price is a reasonable £0.55 (less than $1). If you can put up with the adds then fair enough although if you like the game then it doesn’t hurt to show some appreciation to the developers sometimes.
I have to admit that I preferred the trick side of the game to the speed runs but that is just my personal preference. I love the scorechase side of it, trying to land as many tricks as possible and gain that super high score. Add that to trying to gain as many stars as possible and unlock the next upgrade was also actually fun. I was expecting large paywall spikes in difficulty but after playing for a good few hours, I’ve yet to hit a point where that has been the case. The levels do increase in difficulty especially the speed run side where the time gets tight. Add to this a mechanic I haven’t mentioned yet, a stamina meter also makes things tricky. The faster you ride and keep your finger on the pedal button, the quicker the stamina bar empties. When this happens you end up slower than a unicycle rider in a road covered in super glue! I personally could do without the stamina bar as I think the game has enough with the balance and trick side of it but others may like this and it does give you more to a level when you have to think about when to pedal and when to hold off so the bar refills.
If you are looking for a fun game that you can pick up and play for short periods while waiting for a bus or train then this is a great choice. If you are looking for a game that you can sit for 30 mins to an hour, well yes you can if you are working on beating that level score but I can see some people hitting a limit and putting it down after a length of time such as that but really, if you have an hour or so to play a mobile game then maybe you are either spending far too long hiding in the bathroom away from your desk or maybe consider a more dedicated mobile gaming system such as a PlayStation Vita. As a mountain bike rider back in my past I have to admit, this was a fun game that helped me to perform some of the tricks I never managed to pull off without almost putting me in hospital (there were plenty of those trips as well but that’s a different story). Is Bike Mayhem an amazing game, well the short answer is no. Its not graphically stunning, it’s not overly detailed and it certainly doesn’t have an in-depth story but what it does have is what I mentioned at the beginning: that addiction factor. This is a game you will pick up and play and then do so again and again and again.