Rock around the clock
No, that’s not a mistake in the title there, the game really is called Rock(s) Rider. Name aside, you may find that a quick glance at the screenshots below reminds you of another game. No?
Anyone who has played Trials HD will find ECA Games’ new title eerily familiar. For Trials fans wanting a portable version of their game, however, it may be just the ride they were looking for.
Rock(s) Rider is an unashamed Trials game which takes the industrial warehouse look and mad physics from Redlynx and builds around it. It’s not the only Trials style game on the App Store, though. Bike Baron, though visually different, has the physics part sewn up and Xtreme Wheels is another Trials clone which has been on the App Store for some time now. So what makes Rock(s) Rider different enough to ensure you part with your cash?
One thing that hits you straight away is the presentation. Aside from the fantastically detailed levels, the pencil-shaded menus are all beautifully presented and there is even a story element to the game with static visuals to give it a rather unique edge. I can’t fault this game graphically and it ticks all the boxes when it comes to copying the look and feel of Trials, from narrow cross beams to huge explosions.
Levels are fairly well laid out, aside from some overly tricky (almost invisible) low beams and 360 degree turns that require more navigation than is possible on the iDevice. It's also true that there’s nothing that hasn’t already been seen before in the level design, though this isn’t necessarily a bad thing when you're comparing this against a game like Trials HD.
There are odd frustrating moments, even early on in the game, where countless replays will be needed to figure out how to pass a tricky section, but it’s the nature of the sub-genre and levels can still be completed with numerous re-tries.
Another important aspect to a Trials style game is the physics. It’s here that Rock(s) Rider falls down slightly. The bike feels somewhat lighter than it should and it’s all too easy to flip it over several times while in the air. If this was the only game in this category on the App Store it wouldn’t matter so much and it’s perfectly serviceable, certainly no show-stopper, but Bike Baron currently holds the crown for physics and ECA’s game can’t get close. It’s possible that future updates will improve this, on writing this review an update went live which did make a slight difference to the feel of the bike.
On top of the usual modes and gameplay there are a few neat touches. Boss battles challenge you to beat each boss (introduced at the beginning of the stage) and head to head races make for an interesting addition, especially for those coming from the latest Trials game, Evolution. Progressing further in the game will unlock more customisations for both bike and rider and a new mode featuring a different mode of transport, trikes, which really do add a new spin on the game.
Rock(s) Rider has it's fair share of faults, mostly in setting levels which feel just the wrong side of unfair and having a camera which is zoomed in a little close. As with every other game in this genre, the physics isn't as good as it is in Redlynx's title by a long shot, the bike is often far too light to seem realistic. But if you're up for some Trials style gameplay on the go and can live with a fairly demanding title that requires plenty of replays then ECA Games may have the answer.
- Sound: 7
- Graphics: 9
- Gameplay: 7
- Longevity: 7
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