Turborilla’s new Mad Skills BMX (out now, $0.99) makes some significant promises with the name the developer has chosen to give it, but I don’t think the game exactly lives up to its lofty title. One would think that a game specifically billing itself as having Mad Skills would let the player do more than only perform back flips, front flips, and the occasional wheelie pop. The game does – however – seem to feature a variety of billboards advertising Red Bull, which I guess only gives people wings instead of Mad Skills.This lack of style, coupled with a bevy of rather pedestrian course offerings, makes the game a lot less engaging than many other physics based bicycle/motorcycle games currently available on iOS.
Anyways – getting down to business – Mad Skills BMX features a simple array of touch based controls that work consistently, as well as an optional alternative tilt based control method. Holding down on the left side of the screen will cause your bicyclist to peddle so long as he is on a flat surface, and so it can basically be said that you will essentially have this virtual button held down the entire time. Swiping down on the right side of the screen will cause you to fall faster from jumps, go down slopes even faster than you would with normal peddling, and pop wheelies whenever your rider is on a flat surface. Swiping up – if performed at the top of a hill – will cause your bicyclist to jump up higher than normal to make it easier for him to clear gaps, especially if the landing is higher than the departure point. Swiping left and right will cause your character to lean back and forth on his bicycle – which will make you perform flips if done while airborne – and in theory can be combined with the up and down swipes for advantageous effects, but the tutorial will explain absolutely nothing of these nuances.
That Mad Skills BMX’s tutorial levels explain almost nothing about how the developers intended for you to play their game is probably the most egregious failure of this all around bland offering. Unfortunately, virtually the only things that Mad Skills BMX’s tutorial will ever tell you to perform are down swipes at various locations and once or twice ask you to perform an enhanced leap by swiping up. If you only do the actions that the tutorial directly taught you then you will have a 100% failure rate the moment the real gameplay begins, so there does exist a chance that an overhaul of the game’s tutorial might help players to better appreciate Mad Skills BMX’s otherwise presently inscrutable control nuances.
The courses currently available in Mad Skills BMX aren’t even that terribly exciting either, being little more than an extremely generic series of slopes and hills that are all but indistinguishable from one another (and because of this most players will start to feel boredom set in long before they have finished the game’s tutorial). Mad Skills BMX does seem to promise that more courses will be coming in the future as a series of IAP purchasable extras, but at the moment the extra courses button will do nothing but tell players that more tracks are currently not yet available. What Turborilla does currently offer to sell players is a variety of alternative biker appearances – which otherwise change nothing performance wise – such as a skeleton, a robot, and even the main character from the company’s previous game. At least the one thing Turborilla isn’t offering to sell – especially considering that Mad BMX Skills features an online leader board – is any form of IAP based winning supplement, which does deserve a commendation of sorts.
iFanzine Verdict: Mad Skills BMX is currently a game that lets the user do almost nothing in the way of stunts; features a bevy of very generic looking levels; features a tutorial that tells you to do almost nothing but swipe down at various points, and will suddenly demand you mix together the controls in creative ways – that the developers never once bothered to explain – the second the tutorial ends. Mad Skills BMX – if the tutorial was improved – might become a passable experience, but that still won’t change the fact that there are already a ton more exciting iOS games than this available in the genre. I can – at the very least – promise you that Mad Skills BMX has absolutely no sneaky pay-to-win schemes built into it, which I sadly can’t say for quite a few of the game’s superiors.