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MotoGP 2007

For: Mobile

Four wheels good, two wheels better!

Product: MotoGP 2007 | Developer: Rockpool | Publisher: THQ Wireless | Format: Mobile | Genre: Racing, Sports | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 436KB | Version: Europe
MotoGP 2007 Mobile, thumbnail 1
Forget F1 games. They're crushingly boring, and always will be until someone includes the sort of intra-team hissy fits that have plunged the McLaren Mercedes team into infighting hell recently.

Alternatively, a Hamilton vs Alonso beat-'em-up might do the trick.

But, yes, F1 games tend to be dull. Motorbiking sims, on the other hand, are ace. Well, the good ones, obviously. It's just something about the dynamics of controlling a two-wheeled vehicle with your mobile keypad, versus a full car. Don't expect us to explain it any more sensibly than that.

THQ Wireless' MotoGP games have traditionally been the best two-wheeled fun you can have on a phone, alongside the bikey bits of Gameloft's recent Asphalt Urban GT games. We're still blissfully unaware of developments on the real-world MotoGP circuit, but on mobile we've loved it through three iterations.

MotoGP 2007
is the fourth, and certainly the best looking of the bunch. On decent handsets, it's gone fully 3D, with solid-looking bikes and attractive scenery. Equally important, developer Rockpool has kept the frame-rate up, ensuring that this scenery flashes past fast enough to give a good sensation of speed.

But it hasn't stopped there. There's even weather to contend with, in the form of cloudy skies and raindrops sticking to your behind-the-rider camera.

It's not technically perfect, though – there is some pop-up, with trackside elements appearing out of nowhere. But then that's arguably counterbalanced by the fact that there are plenty of riders on the track, making for an impressive spectacle at the start of races as the competition stretches into the distance.

You can jump straight in with a Quick Race, setting your rider, track, the number of laps and weather. But for a proper challenge, you need to try the Career mode, which sees you unlocking new riders and tracks as you progress.

Your fledgling rider starts with basic skills in cornering, braking, top-speed and acceleration, which can be improved by earning credits for racing well. Each race consists of practice, qualifying and the actual race session, and there's a standard season to play through against the mobile AI opponents.

The controls are satisfyingly one-thumb, with an auto-accelerate taking care of speeding up, leaving you to concentrate on turning. However, this is where MotoGP 2007's main flaw becomes apparent: it's simply too hard.

We'll qualify that, shall we? It's very easy to veer off the track in this game, and the controls appear to be such that, as you try to swing back the other way, you'll tend to end up zooming off the other side instead.

Our first few races were hugely frustrating, as we slalomed across the track with no hope of catching any rivals. As a result, we can't help wondering if novice gamers would try this a couple of times, and then never come back.

Which would be a shame because the good news is that persistence pays off, and eventually you'll be battling it out with your fellow 11 riders for top spot. By then, MotoGP 2007 will have revealed itself as a rewarding racer with varied tracks and a neat skill-development system.

If the sensitive steering had been slightly tweaked, this would be a stone-cold classic. As it is, it's still the best motorbiking racer available for mobile.
MotoGP 2007
Reviewer photo
Stuart Dredge | 16 August 2007
Rich and rewarding racer hampered slightly by a high difficulty curve
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