The lazy played-it-for-20-minutes review: Tearing round bumpy dirt tracks on a 250cc Kawasaki should be fun, shouldn’t it? So why are we finding this digital depiction so exasperating? Just negotiating a corner successfully is cause for applause. Lean a fraction too far and you topple into the mud. Too little and you’re off into the scenery. Josh Vanderhoof, the lone coder, boasts of “complete motorcycle physics” – whatever he’s done, the result is bikes reluctant to turn and scarily prone to washing out on bends.
When crashes are this common they should be more spectacular. There’s no ragdolling here; riders never even leave their machines. And don’t get us started on the graphics. ‘Functional’ would be a fair description, ‘shite’ would be another. Woefully weak audio adds insult to injury.
The conscientious played-it-for-20-days review: How long before Peep Show? Ten minutes. Lovely, just enough time for a five-lapper at Waterloo Valley. God, we adore this track. That monster jump across the ravine, the triple humps in the middle, that tricky flat corner... what a blast. And to think we almost gave up on MX Sim. Before we plugged in a joystick and learned how to set up the bikes properly, Josh’s revolutionary handling model was driving us up the wall. Now we love it almost unconditionally (the way steering inverts at very low speed to simulate the switch from lean to handlebar steering still annoys).
The 13 personality-packed tracks have become dear friends (and now share a folder with dozens of user-made circuits). The fact that they still thrill owes much to the superb physics and the joyous unpredictability of AI riders. Fellow competitors are refreshingly fallible. Bouncing over a blind crest or squirming round a tight bend, you never quite know what’s going to be waiting for you. Looking for intense racing welded to blue-chip physics? Look no further. This is the best motorbike game since Wheelie.
Apr 24, 2009