Updated: Bike Baron Review

Bike Baron, the hilariously difficult extreme biking game, has received an update that brings with it eight new levels, along with a smattering of tweaks to a small number of the original levels. So should you buy the game?

Definitely, if you can take the heat. The levels are separated by difficulty, so Easy gets three new levels, Medium gets three, and Hard gets two. They didn’t bother adding levels to Extreme, presumably because no one has ever beaten those levels. The new levels have pumpkins in them, some of which explode, and some of which you can break open for achievements. These tracks are as fun as the rest, which is to say, pretty darn fun.

As for the tweaks they made to the existing levels, you probably won’t notice them unless you’ve memorized the originals. If the idea of these tweaks was to rid the game of cheap deaths, the developers have a lot more work to do. The more challenging levels are still filled with parts that are so tough as to seem almost broken, until you luck into the perfect landing angle or jump speed that lets you move on. This isn’t a weighty criticism we have with the game; in fact, it’s part of Bike Baron’s charm.

So even if it’s not a game that will appeal to everyone, we’re still having a blast with Bike Baron, and hope to see more levels and tweaks in updates to come.

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.

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