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[REVIEW] Bike Rider DX (3DS)

Posted on September 2, 2013 by (@spencerstevens) in 3DS, 3DS eShop, Features, Reviews

BikeRiderDX_Logo


The #1-ranking Japan eShop game Bike Rider DX is now available in the North American eShop. Let’s see just what makes this game hailed as “the one-button platformer” such a big hit.


System: Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: August 1st, 2013 (NA) – August 15th, 2013 (EU)
Developer: Spicysoft
Publisher: Spicysoft


Author: Spencer

As far as gameplay goes, Bike Rider DX is quite simple. You control a stick figure riding a bike on 2D plane while jumping onto platforms and over gaps and obstacles,. The bike rides automatically, so the only real control is pressing the A button to jump. You can also double-jump, as indicated by one of the loading screen tooltips (of which there are only two, due to the simplicity of this game), and even triple-jump if timed correctly, although I found this out completely by accident. Optionally, you can use left and right on the directional pad to adjust your bike’s position on the screen, which is helpful for this game as it is for the most part about timing jumps from platform to platform. You complete each course by reaching the finish pole, and you fail courses by falling into pits or crashing into walls or obstacles.

One-button gameplay might work in a game with more depth, involvement, or variety– like Kirby Air Ride, which had several different gameplay modes, objectives, maps, etc– but in a game where you are simply jumping over holes on 2D maps where the only real variance is the aesthetics, it just comes off as monotonous and repetitive.


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There are two modes to choose from at the start menu: World Tour, in which you complete levels one after another, and Grand Prix, in which you see how far you can get on an endless course. A third option is Awards, which lists the game’s built-in “achievements” system. This could have added a lot more to the gameplay by giving you a sense of accomplishment when achieving certain actions or records. However, the game drops the ball completely by not giving you a notification that you unlocked an award while you are playing. In order to see what awards you have achieved, you have to view them in the Awards section.

The level maps are pretty straightforward. Each course varies in length, and they contain plenty of gaps to jump over and little cracks in the ground, which I suppose are to trip you up. Jumping over the gaps is an easy task, just press A, or A twice if you feel that you can’t make it. One jump will suffice most of the time. The double-jump acts as more of a safety, I did not find any times where it was explicitly necessary. The cracks in the ground serve no purpose other than looks, as you can ride over them without them effecting you whatsoever. Occasionally, you will also come across other bike riders, which you either have to jump over if you catch up to them, or just follow behind them until they inevitably crash and disappear. If you run into them, you fail, but they’re so easily avoidable that it hardly provides a challenge.

Levels are very easy to clear, especially with the use of double and even triple-jumping, making the game quite monotonous. If for whatever reason you should fail, you have to start all the way at the beginning of the level. This might be considered a challenge in a game like Mutant Mudds, but in Bike Rider DX, it’s an inconvenience, because you have to repeat all the monotony you just sat through, rather than trying to complete the level more strategically or in a different way than before.


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There are two kinds of items strewn about in each level: coins and jewels. Coins appear in every level, and there are 3 per level that you have to collect. This provides a sense of collectivism, which is the only redeeming quality within the gameplay that I found. One of the two aforementioned loading screen tooltips detail coins as being collectable items to unlock “???,” providing a sense of mystery (I guess) to players. Jewels are detailed as “transforming your bike,” but all they do is add rocket boosters to your bike to make you move faster, which in a game like this is more of a hindrance than a “power-up,” because the booster takes away the precise control you have over your jumps, and can lead to you going too far and landing in a hole. I had hoped that the jewel would give you a different power-up if you were in a different level or world, but alas, this was not the case. Just boosters every time.

Scenery is clean, cartoony, and colorful. Each level takes place in a different world city, such as Paris and New Delhi, and the scenery reflects such. Depth perception is the extent of the game’s use of the 3D functionality. Some scenery will appear close, backgrounds are far away, and the playable course is right in the middle. The music is nice, and provides a good atmosphere for the game. However, the music doesn’t change by level– it only changes by world– which I found disappointing. It would have been preferable if the levels had slightly varying songs that fit the musical theme of the level, a la Sonic 3, because it would have at least been a break from the monotony of the rest of the game.


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The bottom line…?

Overall, the grand sense I got from Bike Rider DX was one of boredom. The gameplay is monotonous, repetitive, not very challenging, and unrewarding. Even worse is that the only gameplay mode aside from World Tour is the Grand Prix mode, of which the endless course only emphasizes every negative aspect I just mentioned. To return to the beginning of this review, I am not entirely sure how this ranked #1 on the Japan eShop, and I think “the one-button platformer” turned out to be more of a curse than a blessing or reason for acclaim.


Buy this game if…

… you need something mind-numbing enough to kill time, but not engaging enough to get you hooked.
… you love simple Flash games and long for the days when Newgrounds.com was relevant for gaming.

Don’t but this game if…

… you don’t enjoy monotonous, repetitive gameplay.
… you want to save $5.99.
… you want to save space on your SD card.


The Verdict


thumbs down


A “thumbs down” means that, at the end of the day, the game in question failed at what it was trying to accomplish. Even if the concept and style of the game appeal to you, it should likely be avoided.



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