Ragdoll physics can work hilariously well in extreme sports games, where the jumps are huge, the tricks are dangerous, and the spills are bone-splitting. Bike Baron has all that. Misjudge a flip or land short of a ledge, and your character flies off the bike and gets dashed cartoonishly against the angular course. If you’re lucky, you might even land on an exploding barrel– because why not, right?
In this game, you play as the bike baron, a mustachioed daredevil with a leather crash helmet, aviator goggles and, for some reason, a cat riding shotgun. Your job is to control his motorcycle’s speed and tilt as he navigates one devious obstacle course after another. Each course has jumps and flips and jagged terrain to overcome, and if you don’t land wheels-down, you’ll fall off your bike and skid across the ground like a lifeless puppet. Three stars are up for grabs in each level; you get them for things like moving quickly, grabbing all the coins, and crossing the finish line without crashing.
Strap on a rocket.
Checkpoints are liberally scattered throughout each level, but getting from the beginning of a course to the end– particularly in later levels– will test the patience of even the most hardcore gamer. In fact, the difficulty level is the Bike Baron’s biggest problem. Most gamers enjoy the occasional grueling challenge, but this game has sections that require not only pixel-perfect driving, but also a generous helping of luck. And the physics in the game are good, but they’re not flawless, making for an even more frustrating experience in certain areas.
But for the most part, Bike Baron is enjoyable. The riding mechanics are solid and, although it only comes with 40 levels, you can design and share your own levels using the game’s simple level editor. Downloading other people’s levels, on the other hand, is kind of clunky. You have to go to a website to find codes for individual levels, and then download them without knowing anything about them. But the levels download almost immediately, and it’s fun to see what people manage to come up with (even if their tracks are sometimes unbeatable).
Don’t miss the jump.
Bike Baron is a silly and enjoyable game, even if it doesn’t do anything new and its difficulty borders on murderous at times. Still, you’ll get a couple hours of fun out of it, and even when you do fall, at least you get to see the ragdoll baron take a beating.