APP NAME: Xtreme Wheels
DEVELOPER(S): Bravo Game Studios
GENRE(S): Racing, Action
RELEASE DATE(S): July 14th, 2011
If the first screenshot of Xtreme Wheels doesn’t grab your attention, then I don’t know what will. Xtreme Wheels has one of the best graphics engine ever to grace an iOS device, and is simply amazing on the powerful iPad 2. Beyond the graphics, any game is about gameplay and Xtreme Wheels is a motorcycle time trail game. You’re given a realistic look as you race in 2D across complex courses. This isn’t just a motocross game with simple ramps to deal with, but rather a game filled with outrageous stunts as you race against the clock.
There are 20 levels which can best be described as obstacle courses as you face gigantic ramps, explosive barrels, cargo containers, wood logs, and more. There are some ramps that let you sky into the air for flips, and others that twist around and create the flip by themselves. You can ride loops in the game, or curl off of one, and flip back on to a platform above you. There are all kinds of crazy combinations, and those are just the ramps.
There are explosive barrels littered throughout the course, and one touch will send you flying off your bike. There are also low hanging containers that you need to slow down to clear, as well as pipes to travel through. There are also logs and jagged piles of materials that you need to take the proper angle on to pass over. The game is all about balancing your rider so you can maintain high speed to get through the course as quick as possible. There are four different control options to adjust the balance of your rider with tilt, digital buttons, and two types of on-screen sliders.
The tilt felt the most natural, but each allows you to line the rider up with each ramp and obstacle. Xtreme Wheels is all about completing each course, but there will be a lot of crashes along the way. The game allows you to appreciate the crashes with a deluxe ragdoll physics engine that allows you to see authentic crashes of your rider. It’s definitely enjoyable to see you rider smack into a container, blast off from an explosion, or be crushed by the bike in a missed flip; all in slow motion. The graphics engine as a whole is amazing and deluxe, but still runs smooth on 4th generation devices and the iPad 2.
The biggest downfall of Xtreme Wheels is that it’s quite challening, and the gameplay can be somewhat tedious. After the first few levels you will be crashing a lot, and you’ll need to have near perfect balance to get through the course. Usually you don’t know what’s coming next, but you’ll crash so often that you’ll become familiar with the track. Then it’s just going through the motions to complete each stretch as you play it over and over.
Each course is unique, but there just doesn’t seem to be much depth to the gameplay. All you do is press and release the gas, and tilt to go through course after course. With such an amazing graphics engine, you expect gameplay to match, but the game just feels like a series of mini-games. The time trial style is just so simplistic despite all the potential complexities from the layouts.
Xtreme Wheels ($3.99, Universal) has an amazing design, but the gameplay quality doesn’t even come close to matching. The game is a treat to watch on your screen, but playing it feels more like a hassle than anything else. Xtreme Wheels is worth considering depending on how much you value the graphics. Overall, the game is just disappointing as it crashes into a wall.