If you’re familiar with recent games in the Trials series, then you know that developer RedLynx has serious design chops when it comes to making ultra-challenging stunt racing games. On the surface, MotoHeroz for iOS looks like an attempt at a more casual take on the genre, one where average joes won’t have to go bonkers trying to shave milliseconds off their run times. This is not the case at all. MotoHeroz is hardcore, and it’ll drive you crazy– but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
MotoHeroz looks very welcoming. It has a light, cartoonish vibe that comes from the gorgeously detailed environments, bouncy animations, and stylized vehicle designs. The controls are about as basic as they come: you can move left, right, tilt, and that’s it. And like a kid-friendly platformer, there’s plenty to collect in each level, from coins and power-ups to extremely valuable treasure chests.
It’s a guh-guh-guh-ghost!
However, once you start playing MotoHeroz, you’ll realize it has teeth and it’s not afraid to bite. The game is divided into six worlds, with five levels in each. Unlocking levels requires stars, which you earn by achieving goals in previous levels. Usually the goal is to achieve a finish time so speedy that it seems nearly impossible at first, but some levels mix it up a little. Anyway, by about halfway through, the difficulty reaches fairly severe levels. This is where you might start pounding your head against the wall.
To make the challenge a little more reasonable, they let you upgrade your vehicles. The game comes with six off-road automobiles that can only be used on their respective levels. Each one has three stats you can increase: speed, acceleration, and item boost. Upgrading your ride costs coins, which are earned for doing well in the levels. So the better you play, the better you can make your vehicles, which ideally leads to earning more stars. This is 2012, so you can buy coins or fully spec out your vehicles through in-app purchase. Any time you try to buy an upgrade you can’t afford, the in-app purchase screen pops up, which we found a little aggravating.
And while the controls certainly aren’t bad, they require a lot of nuance. As you play and re-play through each level, you’ll find sticky spots in the terrain that you have to anticipate if you want to have a prayer of finishing in time to get an extra star. You’ll have to replay levels often, because unlocking new levels requires a lot of stars. For a game that offers such a colorful, chaotic experience, it seems strange that they’ve roped off later levels this way.
Don’t let the cutesy graphics fool you: MotoHeroz is not a casual-friendly game. That said, serious gamers will get a lot of replay value out of it, and a lot of that particular kind of satisfaction that comes from beating a level you once thought unbeatable. Thirty fairly short levels might not sound like much content, but you’ll often have to play through them several dozen times before you rack up three stars and nab the treasure chest. There’s a ton to do here, and you’ll love it if you can handle the grind.