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Ducati Challenge

For: iPhone   Also on: Android
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Hell for your leathers

Product: Ducati Challenge | Developer: Digital Tales | Publisher: Digital Tales | Format: iPhone | Genre: Racing | Players: 1-4 | Networking: wireless (network), Bluetooth | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Ducati Challenge iPhone, thumbnail 1
Motorcycle simulations have traditionally stood in the shadow of four-wheeled racing titles, although why this should be the case is something of a mystery.

The thrill of having something hot and powerful between your legs surely needs no explanation, and the more refined controls – which require you to not only judge your racing line, but also the position of your rider's body – make for a truly demanding experience.

Thankfully, Ducati Challenge is here to do its bit in redressing the balance. This two-wheeled wonder boasts 6 different tracks (technically 12 if you include the reverse versions) and a whole host of expensive licensed motorcycles to throttle.

Wheelie wonderful

If you're a veteran of iOS racers, it should come as no great shock to learn that Ducati Challenge utilises your device's accelerometer for steering. You can adjust the sensitivity to match your preference, but the default setting is pretty much bang on the money.

Acceleration is controlled by a virtual button in the bottom-right corner of the display, but braking is activated automatically. When you're learning to get to grips with the game, this proves something of a blessing, as it allows you to concentrate on perfecting your racing line.

However, as you become more adept at flinging your metal steed around the selection of twisting circuits, you can choose to disable brake assistance completely.

Horse power

Replicating the feel of riding a powerful motorcycle isn't an easy task, but Ducati Challenge succeeds admirably. The responsiveness of the tilt control is perfect, and you can feel the weight of your rider shifting as you lean into tight corners. In short, everything feels just like it should.

You can even tilt the device to perform wheelies at high speed, or 'stoppies' (front wheelies) if you get your timing right.

A three-tiered championship mode gives the game a decent degree of longevity, while the quick race option allows you to get stuck in when you only have a few minutes to spare. Multiplayer can handle up to four different riders at once, but it's restricted to local wi-fi and Bluetooth race meets.

Aesthetically speaking, Ducati Challenge is just as alluring as the expensive Italian bikes it contains. There are three graphical settings to pick from, with the highest offering realistic blurring of distant objects and less angular visuals.

Motorcycle Mania

The lowest setting is naturally less striking, but it still manages to impress. Surprisingly, even on the highest option the game ran smoothly on our humble 3rd generation iPod touch, although during multiplayer pursuits it was necessary to pick the humbler graphical mode to keep the pace up.

With bikes to unlock, achievements to gain, and even wallpaper to earn (which can then be used to furnish your iPhone's home screen), there's plenty to keep you entertained.

The only bugbear we can identify is the often inconsistent collision system. Sometimes you can bash into rival racers and only suffer a drop in speed, while less violent contact will result in a massive spill, with your rider adopting a rather unrealistic sitting position as he flies through the air.

Such issues aren't enough to scrub any seconds off Ducati Challenge's impressive lap time, however.

If you've any interest in the sport of motorcycle racing, then you'll be in heaven with this. And if you're more accustomed to four-wheeled escapades, then this could be the title to alter your perception forever.
Ducati Challenge
Reviewer photo
Damien McFerran | 8 June 2011
Proof that four wheels aren't necessarily better than two, Ducati Challenge boasts slick visuals, realistic controls, and solid gameplay. Online multiplayer would have taken it to the top step, but it's a solid podium finish regardless
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