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DS  header logo

Moto Racer DS

For: DS

Leaning in the right direction

Product: Moto Racer DS | Developer: Artefacts Studio | Publisher: Nobilis | Format: DS | Genre: Racing | Players: 1-8 | Networking: wireless (adhoc) | Version: Europe
 
Moto Racer DS DS, thumbnail 1
When it comes to racing games, the rule has often been four wheels good, two wheels bad. For reasons such as the reduced variety of the vehicle classes combined with a lack of interesting control mechanics - no handbrake turns here - apart from signature series such as Moto GP, or specific events - Isle of Man TT - there have been few attempts to crack the motorbike racer.

It's particularly true on the DS. In fact, the only other example we can think of is the rather average Ducati Moto.

For that reason alone therefore it's good to be able to welcome Moto Racer DS. And, despite being ostensibly an arcade racer, it does manage to pull some convincing movements out of its gaming pocket.

The first thing to note however is the initial difficulty curve, if short, is steep. It takes time to get used to the way the bike seems to carry on turning after you've finishing pressing the D-pad, as well as managing the throttle without being thrown off the bike at every turn.

This process of getting accustomed to the controls happens twice, in fact: once each for the two game styles, Moto GP and Supercross. Entirely separate from each other, the first sees you racing performance bikes on tracks, while in the other you're atop a dirt bike, racing predominantly around indoor arenas and launching yourself into the air off ramps.

Each of these two racing types has a set of Championships and Time Trial modes where you're up against other racers, plus an additional Challenge mode.

For Moto GP, you've got the Traffic challenge where you drive around streets packed with everyday traffic. At several points per lap, your speed will be clocked. In order to complete the challenge you'll need to be travelling above a certain minimum speed at each point.

In the Supercross half of the game, you have Freestyle mode. Instead of racing against competitors, you're driving around courses with a time limit and a point objective.

Points are racked-up by executing tricks off the mud ramps that populate each track. Tricks aren't difficult to perform - you just have to press a shoulder key and direction while in the air.

However, even if it is actually fairly simple, Moto Racer DS doesn't do a great job of explaining the basics. There's a help section for the controls, but you're left scrambling about for a while as you find out exactly how to use boost, execute a trick, or indeed what you're exactly meant to be doing in the additional non-racing modes.

Then, once you've got the hang of the basics, you'll find yourself trudging through races that don't pose much challenge. Although a fair amount of content is unlocked at the beginning, Moto Racer DS's structure is heavily reliant on unlocking new modes and championships.

It's not keen on letting you jump right in the deep end, unless you want to get mauled by an incoming VW in the always-tricky traffic mode. Races aren't over in a flash either, most taking a solid five minutes or so of fairly intense two-wheeled screeching about.

But these complaints are, to an extent, side effects of Moto Racer DS's ambition to be a comprehensive, proper racer - untouched by the trademark cute characteristics of most of the DS's library, and thankfully, underneath such early pacing missteps, the game is a lot of fun.

The Moto GP racing in particular is imbued with a great sense of speed, while the more stop-start racing of the Supercross gets the blood pumping as you literally fly through tracks, spending half the time mid-air.

There's a lot of tracks on offer too, and they're split into a handful of environment types, so although you'll start to notice familiar turns the positive side of the unlocking structure means there's not much repetition of tracks until you've spent many hours with the game.

Despite a relatively slow build-up, Moto Racer DS is a racer with a lot to offer - racing styles, modes, bikes, as well as multiplayer which supports four players with one cart or up to eight with eight carts.

Still, its most important requirement remains some sort of interest in racing on two wheels.
 
Moto Racer DS
Reviewer photo
Andrew Williams | 19 March 2009
Moto Racer DS is a good choice if you're after a semi-serious bike racer on the DS. It's got more mileage than your average Suzuki's tank
 
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