Mad Skills Motocross suffers from that terrible, but not uncommon, affliction known as ‘horribly generic name disease.’ And it’s a shame, because while it looks and sounds like little more than a run of the mill off road bike racer, it’s much more than that. It’s one of those rare games that’s oh so easy to pick up and play, but incredibly difficult to master.
At it’s core, Mad Skills is a pretty simple game. Each stage has you racing against just one other opponent, and the courses are all relatively short. Your only real goal is to finish in first, but you’ll also have to deal with the bumpy courses. The interface is clean and uncluttered, with two small buttons in the lower left hand corner that control your gas and brakes. You can also control your rider’s movements in the the air and on the ground via buttons in the lower right corner, which allow you to do flips, pull off wheelies, and keep your rider balanced while jumping. Eventually you’ll also gain the ability to do quick little bunny hops.
It’ll take you about 30 seconds to figure out how to control your rider, but that doesn’t mean that Mad Skills is an easy game. Far from it, in fact. The physics are slow and take some time to get used to, as even the smallest miscalculation can cause a crash. And just one crash can make the difference between winning the race and falling far, far behind. This means that you’re going to need to restart levels on a regular basis, so it’s a good thing that the game features a quick restart button right at the top of the screen. It gets a little frustrating having to replay stages so often, but the combination of short levels, quick load times, the very useful restart button alleviate this quite a bit.
There’s also a solid amount of content in the game. The career mode features five different divisions to play through, each of which is full of around a dozen challenging courses. There’s also a time trial mode where you can attempt to best your high scores. And since it’s an arcade style game at heart, Mad Skills smartly features some great social networking integration that adds a multiplayer feel to the experience. If you get a great time you can brag about it on both Facebook and Twitter.
And it’s yellow by an extended front wheel.
Befitting its unassuming name, Mad Skills also sports some relatively unassuming visuals. The 2D graphics are clean and colorful, but not particularly eye-popping. There’s not much visual variety when it comes to the courses, but the riders animate incredibly smoothly. In fact, one of the most entertaining parts of the game is watching your rider flail about after an awful crash.
Mad Skills is the type of game that’s easy to look past. It looks like virtually every other motocross game out there, with simple visuals and a generic name. But the core gameplay is so solid, and the controls are so simple and intuitive, that this is a game you’ll have quite a bit of fun with. It’s not without its frustrating moments, but they’re easy to look past in a game that’s so entertaining.