May 31, 2012

The Fast and Furious

Lasting First Impressions of Mad Riders from Techland

Mad Riders BoxartMad Riders, developed by Techland and published by Ubisoft, is an offroad ATV racer made specifically as a value-priced downloadable game.  This title seemed to just appear out of nowhere, but as a fan of racing games, I was ready to give it the proper LFI treatment.

The title starts off fairly typical for a racing game.  Rank first place in order to win three stars and move on to the next race.  Gather enough stars to unlock new vehicles and new tracks.  During the race, performing ‘tricks’ such as drifts and flips while airborne will grant the player with boost that will be sorely required if there is any hope of winning the race.  Mad Riders is very much along the lines of titles such as Excite Truck, Wave Race: Blue Storm, and Hydro Thunder.

Mad Riders is a beautiful game to behold, with quite a great deal of detail in the several tropical environments, with plenty of jungle tree-lines, old abandoned ruins, and high-flying jumps over helicopters and hot air balloons. The speed given the vehicles and races, however, render that beauty absolutely unnoticeable as it blurs past the players at an alarming rate.  The environments are so detailed and full of lush vegetation that it is also difficult at times to know where the track is going, leading to many sudden wall stops.

It seems that speed of vehicles was given precedence over solid controls, as driving these vehicles feels very loose and imprecise.  Vehicles can also be controlled while flying through the air after the many very large jumps on every track, but again, they just seem to ‘slide’ through the track and through the air.  It never truly felt like I had the precise control over the vehicle that I would have liked.


Mad Riders is definitely an arcade racer that doesn’t take itself seriously, boasting a solid line-up of 45 tracks full of some the best off-road races I have played in a long time.  Plenty of big air is waiting to be had in this game with an abundance of spectacular jumps over cliffs and waterfalls.  Unfortunately, the speed and lack of solid controls really detract from the enjoyment of this game.  Mad Riders is not for the faint of heart either; the difficulty of the races right from the beginning will be a deterrent to many players.  Collecting boost and using it wisely will be key to winning any race.  Plenty of upgraded vehicles will be made available as you progress through the tracks, but opponent’s vehicles will be upgraded accordingly as well.

Mad Riders has a very high difficulty rating for a racer which will be a deterrent to many players.  Without the proper strategy and build up of boost, it will be nearly impossible to finish a race in first place.  On one time trial track alone, it took me more than three attempts just to complete the race, and even then I only received 2 of 3 stars.  I was ready to give up on the game at that point because, without completing that race, I had no other races to attempt.


Overall, Mad Riders isn’t bringing anything new to the genre that we haven’t already seen and played before. Insane speeds, lush environments, and high-flying stunts just aren’t enough to offset the loose controls and lack of visibility throughout and the brutal difficulty will leave many players giving up before they’ve even begun.

Online multiplayer may be where this game shines, but at the time of writing this review, it was fairly impossible to find anyone else to play with. Mad Riders is a great concept, it’s just poorly executed. A few tweaks in the over-all vehicle controls and some improvements in track visibility may have saved it, but as it is, it’s just not an enjoyable racer.

Techland, I gave you an hour and I am NOT IMPRESSED.

About the Author

Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.



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